Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Reply to Mozillazine

By WaSP Member | November 7th, 2000 | Filed in Opinion

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Yesterday, David Flanagan of O’Reilly published an article claiming that the standards compliance of the upcoming Netscape Navigator 6.0 browser was seriously compromised, and requesting that the company postpone the final browser release until it more robustly supports open standards.

Mozillazine’s Chris Nelson responded with a rant that blasted Mr. Flanagan as an “armchair marketer,” while also taking repeated swipes at The Web Standards Project, apparently on general principles.

The remarks at right were intended for the forum at Mozillazine, but the ‘zine’s SQL server apparently died, and Mozillazine itself now seems to have gone offline. We felt Mr. Nelson’s comments deserved a response in spite of these technical problems.

Word from the WaSP

Standards compliance is the most important of all possible browser attributes. The WaSP endorsed Mozilla (and implicitly endorsed the Netscape browser that would eventually be based on it) because standards compliance was Job #1 for you folks.

The petition by David Flanagan asks Netscape to release a standards-compliant browser, as promised. And as part of that, to incorporate bug fixes which already exist, due to the work of Mozilla engineers.

That’s anti-Mozilla bias? I can’t follow your logic.

I see it Mr. Flanagan’s comments as pro-Mozilla and pro-W3C standards.

While complaining about Flanagan, you take the opportunity to once again gripe about “the raving loonies of the WSP” (sic), whom you plan to “clobber the hell out of” if we “continue to act like pussies.”

If you would rather call us “loonies” and “pussies” than acknowledge what we and hundreds of other developers are actually telling you, then I don’t know what to say to you other than “good luck.”

In July the WaSP said the continued existence of Netscape 4 was an embarrassment and a hindrance to the development of standards-compliant sites. (We can’t develop standards-compliant sites AND support Netscape 4, which is still on the market and used by millions.) We asked that a standards-compliant browser be released as soon as possible, and were slammed by you for making the request.

Now someone else criticizes Netscape’s implementation of your work, and instead of seeing it as support for the work you’ve done, you attempt to demonize the author (“Gaze into Mr. Flanagan’s eyes … guy with an axe to grind … armchair-marketer…”). While you’re at it, you belittle any developer who argues that standards compliance is important (“peanut-gallery micro-management”).

I believe you owe it to yourselves to have Netscape release the best possible product based on your work, and certainly to incorporate bug fixes you’ve already created. If that belief makes me an enemy in your eyes, see an eye doctor. If you think Flanagan is your enemy, see a psychiatrist.

If you don’t want Netscape to bring consumers the best possible fruit of your labors, then why have you labored so long and so hard? If you feel compelled to belittle developers who argue for standards compliance when standards compliance is the very goal you set yourselves, then how are we to communicate?

The question is rhetorical, because it’s obvious that we can’t communicate at all. I’m sorry that you feel the way you do. I don’t think your attitude will serve you well in the marketplace, but there’s nothing I can do about that. I sincerely hope I’m wrong. I hope that Netscape releases a stable and standards-compliant browser based on your work. If saying that makes me a “pussy,” pass the Meow Mix.
— Zeldman, on behalf of The WaSP

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