[TLUG]: ECMAScript ("Javascript") Version 4 - FALSE ALARM

Brendan Eich brendan at mozilla.org
Mon Oct 29 16:07:07 PDT 2007

On Oct 29, 2007, at 3:05 PM, Ric Johnson wrote:

>> bad, because if I had, you would have heard another side to the
>> story, and a vigorous debate, and then probably we wouldn't be
>> playing this "how long have you been beating your wife?" game. Which
>> I refuse to play.
> Um... I am not accusing you or anyone. This is what was said at the  
> TAE,
> but not by me

Yes, but you're repeating what was said, including some assumed  
premises I want to argue about first.

> I did read it.  However, I do beleive Doug's quote was "half of the of
> the working group did NOT agree, but it is being pushed through
> anyway".  I wrote this down word for word at the time, but may have
> attributed incorrectly.

Wow, I can't tell what Doug said now, since he just today told me  
that he included Opera among the pro-ES4 sub-group, and 3 is greater  
than 2. Perhaps John Resig, who was on the panel, can testify. Not  
that we need to dwell on what Doug said :-/.

Since you are repeating more dubious claims, possibly from Doug, I'll  
repeat that TG1's majority outnumbers its minority, counting  
companies active over the last two years, by four to two. By people  
including invited experts, more like seven or eight to three. But in  
any event, this is an Ecma and potentially ISO issue, and unanimity  
is not required to make progress on a draft standard.

>> of being mentally dim. He called a press conference to deny the
>> allegation, which did not help. I'm not that dumb, so I'm going to
>> reject your question and ask you to justify its premise. If we don't
>> share premises, there's no point arguing conclusions.
> I never said you were dumb- quite the opposite,

That was supposed to be a humorous aside; never mind.

> but I fail to see how
> rejecting the question gets us anywhere.

See below about arguing premises before questioning anyone based on  
conclusions based on the premises.

>>> Can anyone else comment HOW either party would benfit if this did
>>> happen?
>> Can you stop assuming your conclusion (Adobe/Mozilla conspiracy) for
>> a minute and examine its premise (which can be addressed by looking
>> at public materials on exactly who created ES4 as proposed in TG1)?
> I have reviewed quite a few docs, although I may have missed more.  I
> like ES4 and thank you for your hard work.  However, my question still
> stands.

If your question is about motives for companies in favor of ES4 as  
proposed, then I can answer only for Mozilla. If you are asking me to  
prove a negative -- to disprove a hidden agenda, a secret Adobe/ 
Mozilla (Opera/MbedThis/UC Santa Cruz/Northeastern University)  
pecuniary or other supposedly malign interest of some sort served by  
ES4, then you are laboring under a fallacy (can't prove a negative).

>> Frankly, I think you are approaching the claims that I've seen
>> attributed to Doug Crockford at The Ajax Experience a bit
>> credulously. Since I was not there to give the other side, or at
>> least one other side, let's back up from taking Doug's claims as
>> gospel truth and putting other groups on trial based on one person's
>> statements.
> You are correct sir:  I do respect Doug and thus lent weight to the
> argument, but I also respect John Resig, who was at the conference.  
> The
> differing opinions is why we are having these discussions.

My understanding is that John, who has not participated in TG1, did  
not try to rebut anything Doug said, but simply affirm that he was  
enthusiastic about JS2 and that Mozilla was committed to ES4.

Let's step back from personal authority and who said what. Mozilla's  
position, is that standards should address unmet use-cases and actual  
bugs in prior editions of a standard, and work to address them  
without a-priori restrictions on things like competitive positions in  
the market, or even size or "mood" of programming language as  
perceived by some of its fans. Standards should evolve in the open,  
sometimes rapidly, to incorporate sound research results and real- 
world feedback.

And make no mistake: JS developers have real problems using JS1/ES3  
at scale, both because of limitations in current implementations, and  
because of the small design of the language (see Guy Steele's  
"Growing a Language" talk, please!).

This is why Mozilla has invested in ES4.


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