I know that a lot of HN likes to say, "M$ can't do that because everyone knows they're evil" -- I'd like to actually see good technical arguments for why what they're doing isn't prudent.
That's partly because Peter Bright (the story author) overstates Microsoft's case. SDP is a problematic part of the current spec, but most of those problems are just things that it can't do yet, and if you look at the mailing list thread responses to the messages he links to, you can see most of the discussion is about moving SDP expansion discussions back to the IETF working group. This will slow things down, but that's how standards work sometimes.
But, SDP is only a part of the spec. Meanwhile, Microsoft's proposal retains essentially none of the current WebRTC spec. That was the real issue with their proposal, coming relatively late in the game, and why it's misleading to put the disagreement in terms of only SDP. Microsoft's reps have issues with how the connections are bootstrapped, but took the opportunity to rewrite everything else while they were at it. That's certainly their prerogative, and is again how standards are sometimes produced, but the issue is more complicated than "SDP is bad, but the W3C is clinging to it" as Peter tells the tale.
I agree that Microsoft is moving in good faith, however. As a good parallel, see Firefox's incompatible Audio Data API, produced just as the Webkit-born Web Audio API was picking up steam. When specs are early and still being worked on, sometimes the best thing is to produce a working implementation, to show others that your proposal really is as good as you say it is. That isn't necessarily undermining the standards process, nor is it a sign of the process not working. It can be, but at this stage, Microsoft is still engaged, even if they are just repeating why they think their proposal is better.
It will slow things down, but standards work is sometimes really slow, especially when people disagree, and growing pains are inevitable. You can only hope this gets sorted out fast enough that the spec is still relevant by the time it comes out.
Wait, what? Audio Data was implemented in mid 2010 - way, way before Web Audio existed. Links:
Is there something incorrect in either of those, or some prior history to WebAudio I am not aware of?
Mozilla then followed with a "Media Processing" API: http://robert.ocallahan.org/2011/06/media-processing_15.html
It's possible that person you are responding to is thinking of that.
> WebRTC itself is so young that a complete rewrite shouldn't be out of consideration if needed. Nobody wants to carry bad decisions over the years anymore.
That's partly true, but also one of the traps of discussing these things outside of the working groups in which they originate. You get new eyes on proposals, from people not caught up in the baggage of past discussions and maybe not as tired of discussing this topic ad nauseam so aren't as ready to settle for the first thing that comes along, but you also lose all the context of ongoing discussions and proposals.
And, of course, you can always rewrite to try to get the perfect spec, but at some point the rest of the world has settled on the thing that was only meant to be a temporary solution, and it's now so entrenched that it's not going anywhere. The real danger looming over any standards body is the perfect (or as he really said, le mieux -- just "the better") as the enemy of the good enough.
When Microsoft goes and pulls a Microsoft and completely ignores the W3C to implement their own standards, we are heading in the wrong direction. Only recently (IE 9+) did Microsoft start adhering to web standards and its been a relief.
This feels like they are abandoning that, and it's going to give me nightmares.
I'm by no means pro-MS, but they are not abandoning standards, they just proposed one. Google and Mozilla have implemented things their own way for the past half decade before any discussion had started, that doesn't preclude moving to a standard later on.
Because they've done this time and time and time again, and it's never worked out well. Technical enough for you?
You can't create the future if you're afraid of it.
Though I have my share of frustration with the consumer end of Microsoft, I love keeping up with all the research they provide. At least this isn't as drastic as some of their complaints about hardware standards; I think it has a good chance to contribute, and not hinder, what the W3C is doing.