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15 February 2010, 13:00

HTML5 controversy centres on Adobe - Update

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An argument over whether Adobe are blocking progress of the HTML5 specification has erupted on blogs and mailing lists of HTML5 developers. In a posting last week, Ian Hickson who works on the HTML5 specification at, claimed that "the latest publication of HTML5 is now blocked by Adobe, via an objection that has still not been made public". Adobe's Larry Masinter responded to the allegation in comments on a Mac blog. Masinter says "No part of HTML5 is, or was ever 'blocked' in the W3C HTML working group".

The controversy comes about after Hickson noted a number of objections from Adobe concerning HTML5 and the process taking place at the W3C. At issue is the presence of the Canvas 2D API and RDFa/Microdata formats within the HTML5 specification. Masinter says that he wants to see these sections moved into separate subgroups, and that he brought up the issue as he believed the work would be "out-of-scope" for the W3C HTML5 working group's charter. He also criticised un-named persons saying "I've never seen anything as bad as this one, with people abusing their official positions to grandstand and promote proprietary advantage".

Update - Ian Hickson has withdrawn his claims. In a posting to the W3C mailing list he said "I was under the impression (based on [1] and some posts to secret mailing lists) that Larry had filed a formal objection on the 2D Context part of what people outside this working group call HTML5. However, I see Larry has now posted publicly that this is not the case".


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