W3C Technical Plenary Meeting
18:46, 27 Feb 2002 UTC | Micah Dubinko

The opening session featured Steve Bratt, the new Chief Operating Officer of the W3C. He explained his view of the W3C after his 60 days there so far, and answered questions about his role and relationship to the rest of W3C management. He commented that the equivalent of a "CEO" for the W3C isn't a single person, but a team, of which the COO plays an integral part.

An hour-long session on the Technical Architecture Group (TAG) captivated the audience of over 200 attendees. Paul Cotton moderated this session, inviting participants to participate in the "extremely active" public TAG mailing list. The TAG home page is the main resource for more information, containing links to the TAG Charter and Issues List.

Paul Cotton further encouraged potential posters to the TAG mailing list to consider the tips for getting the TAG's attention.

In the discussion following this session, several TAG members emphasized that their role is not to hand down decisions from on high, but instead to work with Working Groups to build consensus. Architecture documents from the TAG will follow the standard W3C Recommendation track.

A following session covered the Semantic Web, including demonstrations of Semantic Web technology in current use at the W3C. In one such application, several W3C news topics are now available as RSS feeds, which are extracted from XHTML according to a metadata profile.

The afternoon session started with a Web Services session, with panelists Jonathan Marsh, Jeff Mischkinsky, Philippe Le Hegaret, and moderated by David Fallside. The W3C Web Services Activity started only in January, thus the Working Groups are still getting their footing and grappling with fundamental questions, such as "What is a Web Service?"

In the discussion after the session, one panelist admitted uncertainty in the roles and processes that the WS-I (Web Services Interoperability Organization) and the criteria they plan to use to select specifications and IPR modes.

The last formal session consisted of a combination of discussions on the new Quality Assurance Working Group, the Last Call for W3C specifications, and the W3C Process. Panelists included Lofton Henderson for QA, Steven Pemberton for Last Call, and Paul Grosso on Errata Management.

The program concluded with a lively "Town Hall" discussion with an open microphone. Steven Pemberton lamented the disappearance of any issues to get "worked-up" over, as happened at the plenary meeting from last year, citing the specific example of the role of the namespace as a profile identifier. Others too wished for more dialog on technical content including difficult, unresolved issues.

Lest the day end without mention of patents, shortly before the meeting was adjourned, the discussion of the newly released Patent Policy Working Draft.

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