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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <g...@pobox.com>
Subject Re: Compliance Suites
Date Sun, 30 Nov 2008 16:56:56 GMT

On Nov 30, 2008, at 9:45 AM, Benson Margulies wrote:

> I thought it not unreasonable to frame a discussion about compliance
> suites at a safe distance from either of the two recent threads that
> raised the questions of additional storage media. I am intentionally
> framing this in the space of philosophy rather than technology.
> Upon carefully reading the W3C test suite license, which got me onto
> this list in the first place, I discover the following motivation:
> Step 1: Define a standard.
> Step 2: Create a set of test cases that test compliance with the  
> standard.
> Step 3: Publish them for anyone to use to verify compliance.
> In performing step 3, publishers of good 'open source' intentions
> might find themselves in a dilemma. The test cases stop being test
> cases as soon as someone modifies them (in ways that change their
> semantics) outside of whatever formal process defines the standard. If
> any vendor can modify them to make their product pass, well, then, all
> bets are off.
> W3C tries to address this with a license that restricts modification.
> I suppose that the alternative would be to leave the license open but
> attempt to restrict the ability of anyone to claim 'compliance' after
> a modification.

IMO, that is the correct way - 'spec compliance' is determined by  
passing the test suite as published by the spec creator or the  
community around the spec.    I think the key is what I might clumsily  
describe as "peer pressure" - that the community at large accepts  
software as compliant if it passes the community-recognized suite, and  
it's "something else" if it passes a modified suite.

We've made the same argument for years to the JCP for TCKs - that OSS  
TCKs are just fine, since any derivative work of the TCK is no longer  
the recognized TCK.

> Is the ASF's formal position that it opposes the former solution --
> that a true 'open source' approach to the problem has to solve it some
> other way?

I think it's safe to say our POV is one that supports freely- 
accessible open source test suites.


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