Web standard setter W3C moves to become non-profit organisation

29 Jun 2022

Image: © monticellllo/Stock.adobe.com

W3C said it needs a new structure to meet faster paced demands and address ‘the urgent problems of the web’.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a community that develops open standards for the growth of the web, is taking steps to become a public-interest non-profit organisation by next year.

W3C said launching as a new legal entity will preserve its core mission to shepherd the web with contributions from W3C members, staff and the international community.

The consortium said the design of the legal entity has taken several years in order to ensure this core mission is protected. W3C expects to achieve this new status in January 2023.

“We designed the W3C legal entity in a way that keeps our core unchanged,” W3C CEO Dr Jeff Jaffe said in a statement.

“Our values-driven work remains anchored in the royalty-free W3C Patent Policy, and the W3C Process Document where we enshrined dedication to security, privacy, internationalisation and web accessibility. W3C and its members will continue to play a fundamental role in making the web work for billions of people.”

Since its founding by web inventor Tim Berners-Lee in 1994, W3C has delivered important recognised web standards such as HTML and CSS.

W3C has also broadened its focus to industry. Last month, Apple, Google and Microsoft shared plans to support a common passwordless sign-in standard created by the FIDO Alliance and W3C.

The consortium also joined the Metaverse Standards Forum, launched last week, which is bringing together tech giants and standards organisations to help develop an open and inclusive metaverse.

However, W3C said there are imperatives to elevate the consortium to a level where it “rises up stronger”.

“We need a structure where we meet at a faster pace the demands of new web capabilities and address the urgent problems of the web,” W3C said in a statement. “The W3C team is small, bounded in size, and the hosted model hinders rapid development and acquisition of skills in new fields.”

The consortium said it has a number of steps to take to become a non-profit organisation, such as the adoption of bylaws, filing for the non-profit status and electing a board of directors.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic