> > > From what I understand with regard to Fortran standards, if you want a
> > > copy of the standard, you have to pay a substantial sum to ISO.
> > that sounds like a reasonable fine for those using Fortran.
> Well, it applies to ALL standards.
as i said, it's terribly rare for sensible people to buy from iso.
what's more, if iso ever does get involved in xml/xsl standardisation
(and it would require a serious access of sanity in the relevant
committees for this to happen) i wouldn't be at all surprised if the
resulting standard appeared on the web.
there's a precedent: vrml, which was once being touted as a serious
part of the web, is iso-standardised and the iso standard is available
from the web.
> > you also have to buy newspapers and books and electricity and food.
> Yes, of course, I have no problem with this in principle (I use VMS not
> linux and don't mind paying for the work someone has done). However, if
> one USEs a standard, in practice one would need a copy, so it's either
> pay money or do it illegally.
this is of course tosh. i used to write standard fortran all the
time, once, long ago. i had a little note (written by someone who
knew) which told me which of the extensions available i should avoid.
i have never read a fortran standard: fortran standards, by and large,
are only of use to people writing fortran compilers.
similarly, many sensible people write entirely reasonable latex on the
basis of the `not so short intro' rather than the supposedly
definitive lamport book.
i have little doubt that similar documents are going to spring up in
the xml world, if they don't already exist...