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From Marc Slemko <>
Subject Re: Dissemination of HTTP-NG info [was: hmmm]
Date Thu, 12 Mar 1998 21:01:48 GMT
FYI, for anyone interested there is another little discussion on the
HTTP-NG development model, etc. on www-talk.  Sigh.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 10:49:59 -0500
From: Henrik Frystyk Nielsen <>
To: Marc Slemko <>, Dan Connolly <>
Subject: Re: Dissemination of HTTP-NG info [was: hmmm]

At 23:23 3/11/98 -0700, Marc Slemko wrote:

Marc Slemko <>, Dan Connolly <>,

>I don't think that the development of HTTP-NG is not being done in a
>reasonable way (note the double negative); I can't think that because I
>have nothing to base such a viewpoint on.  In the absence of more
>information, and knowing who is involved, I can only guess that it is more
>or less reasonable. 

I am very distressed about this. We have had extensive discussions on this
with several people from the the Apache group with cc to
<> on all my respones. However, I can't find them in
the archives from neither January, February, nor March 1998:

so my only conclusion is that as I am not subscribed to the mailing list
then the mails have not gone through to the list.

Would it be possible for me to subscribe the Apache mailing list so that we
can avoid this confusion in the future?

It is very unfortunate and I believe a great waste of everybody's time - we
should have made much more progress in our common understanding by now, so
let me point out the main issues here again:

   - No, you do *not* have to pay 50K to follow the NG project.
   - No, you do *not* have to sign up for 50% of your time to follow either.
     We have a separate mailing list (interest group) for discusssions and
     comments on the rough working drafts that the Working Groups produce.
   - No, we do *not* intend to replace a new generation of HTTP without
     a large scale standadization process within IETF.

but on the other hand

   - Yes, we *do* want to remain focused on the task with small groups
   - Yes, we *do* want serious commitment from people directly participating
     in the design group as the web characterization group (hence the
     50% here).
   - Yes, we *do* need a trusted environment to discuss ideas and solutions

I have suggested that the interest group would be a great place to start by
signing up a few people from the Apache group if just someone would
actually step up to the plate.

The HTTP-NG Project *is* explained in quite a lot of details from the page

I can see in my mail archives that I have explicitly pointed this out on
several occasions, so again it seems that we have lost valuable time.
Again, the highlights are (with much more details in the page above):

- The current HTTP model has serious problems wrt. evolvability - it
doesn't provide a sufficient powerful platform for extending applications.

- It's also clear that the Web will (if not already have) will merge with
some sort of a distributed object system. Until now, the most serious
attempts have been to base it on top of HTTP using POST. While this is a
viable way to go, it is not likely that it will be the best way to ensure
the evolution of the Web.

- The question that we are trying to find an answer to is to see whether it
is possible to make a distributed object system that actually meets the
requirements of the Web and of the Internet at large with a real world,
scalable solution.

- In order to get a better grib of what the requirements are, we have a Web
characterization group that based on existing log data tries to find
patterns and distributions.

- On the design side, we are actually trying to *build* a testbed, making
*rough* implementations, and evolving a potential design based on *rough*
drafts. Our experience from HTTP/1.1 shows that this is the only way to
guarantee that a design works in the long run - we don't want to be in the
same situation again as was the case for HTTP/1.0.

If you have any further questions then you are more than welcome to contact


Henrik Frystyk Nielsen,
World Wide Web Consortium

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 22:56:41 -0600
From: Dan Connolly <>
To: Marc Slemko <>
Cc: Martin Hamilton <>,,,
Subject: Dissemination of HTTP-NG info [was: hmmm]

Marc Slemko wrote:
> On Thu, 12 Mar 1998, Martin Hamilton wrote:
> [...]
> > I think it's both of these things, because the upshot is that hackers
> > (as opposed to marketing/PR departments, middle managers, and big
> > business - or waffly academic - oriented "standards" groups) will be
> > in a position to make an impact on the future development of the WWW.

As if we haven't been all along? I agree that our position
will improve substantially when the code is released
(I plan to do a little hacking myself!) and is currently
worse than it once was, but we have been in a position
to make an impact all along.

[I should provide evidence, but I really want to react
to the point below...]

> > In particular, I'd like to suggest that now might be a good time to
> > start thinking about what a next generation "HTTP replacement"
> > protocol should look like.  I'm not sure whether this list is a good
> > place to have this discussion, but we should find out pretty
> > quickly... :-)
> There are plans for things like HTTP/1.2 (relatively minor) and HTTP-NG
> work is underway that addresses a lot more.  But you can't find out
> anything about HTTP-NG except for the very limited info available at W3C
> unless you are special.  While you may be, I'm not.

It's important to me that the community believes W3C is
running HTTP-NG in a reasonable way. I infer from your
comments that you think we're not. So I'll take the opportunity
to try to convince you.

The HTTP-NG activity is led by Henrik Frystyk Nielsen and
Jim Gettys, who have put a lot of effort into HTTP 1.1, as
I'm sure you know. They (with some other folks from the
W3C team and W3C membership) drafted a project proposal[1] and
recruited participants with the condition that the participants
would commit a significant portion of their time.


Unlike the IETF, where anybody with an email account can
participate in any working group, W3C reserves the option,
when we set up and activity, to require that the participants
commit to a certain level of participation.

In the case of HTTP-NG, participants are required
to attend teleconferences and face-to-face meetings
and participate actively by email. We believe this is
necessary to keep focus in the group and generally,
to make the project a success.

You say that you're not "special" in a way that suggests you're
not allowed to be. Not so. If you have the relevant
protocol design experience and you're prepared to commit to the level
of participation that the charter requires, you can petition
to join the group with "invited expert" status even if you're
not employed by a W3C member organization.

We generally don't advertise that policy widely; we expect
the folks with the relevant qualification and motivation
to inquire on their own initiative.

Even so, don't let me give the impression that only the
folks who can commit all this time get to see anything
interesting. We do intend to get review from the community
at large, once there are some results to present.

I myself am a bit uncomfortable with the length of time the
group has been working without public release of drafts
for review. But it takes time for a diverse group to
learn to work together as a group, etc.

So I'll tell you (even though I shouldn't say anything
until I have the documents to back it up) that the HTTP-NG drafts
are scheduled for public released in time for
discussion at the L.A. IETF meeting[2] and for WWW7[3].


Keep in mind that this first phase of the HTTP-NG has
a very experimental nature to it. Unlike the IETF HTTP
WG and most other IETF working groups, which start
with a farily complete spec and work in mostly
a review mode, this activity started with a clean slate.
It's a design excercise. Once we shift into "review"
mode, the organization will be totally reconsidered.

I hope you agree that this is a reasonable way to run
the project. I'm interested if you have any reaction.

I'll be even more interested in your comments on
the soon-to-be-released drafts.

Dan Connolly, W3C Architecture Domain Lead

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