RE: Capitalism and XML
All fun stuff and the rules of genetics and ecosystems applied metaphorically to human behavior and even computer systems have a certain appeal and even revelatory power. Simpler: human behavior operates in human time and the scales of genetic systems don't apply very well to human time. In other words, we die individually before we get results. Because we want results we can touch, hold, see, use, etc., we focus on systems that work in human time. We like to choose our fates and even if the stuff we are made of limits certain choices, being humans, we like to ignore that and push on anyway. When ISO and SGML were slagged, technical and political issues were conflated. SGML was in fact, flawed in some aspects. ISO is a slow moving organization: by design. XML claimed it could be the simple solution, but five years later, the XML framework is quite complex. The W3C claimed it was an organization designed to work in Internet Time, but five years later, it is just as bogged down and in some ways, less predictable. There are no magic solutions, no magical people, and no single group that can make the Internet cohere or architecturally whole. Humans in the loop, my friends, they is us. We need options. In fact, today in human time, we are all working with multiple authorities. ISO, W3C, IETF, OASIS, even ECMA and NIST are all playing a role in shaping the Internet systems. The W3C may own the names that define "The Web" but that's it. There are overlaps in the missions of some of these groups that cause tensions and conflicts, but the alternative is to put all the decisions in one group, and that is a fatally flawed approach. Empirically, would RNG, DSDL and so on be in organizations other than the W3C if we could make that work all the time for everyone equitably? No. So some of the same key people who worked on XML are doing follow-on work in other organizations. That's good. XML-Dev is not just a sailor's bar. It is by acclamation, by individual self-selection through subscription, the XML commons. What is accepted here after the hard and wandering debates typically thrives. What is rejected here by a large consensus, doesn't. What is offered but has divided support has a divided market. We don't have to be very analytical or deep to understand why. The best and brightest in our industry tend to hang out here, not in an elitist forum, but in a junkyard dog debating society. That is communication. It works well. We are a well-informed lot. Information drives intelligent choice. So when we slag off an ISO, revise our history for short term gains, or reject a heritage that is clearly documented and authoritatively still in place, we screw ourselves. Worse, we screw our industry, our heirs, and our chances of achieving some fairly noble goals for systems interoperation and information sustainability. What is at issue in this debate is our learning curve. Do we accept and will we defend the evidence of our own eyes? Can we keep our goals in front of us, understanding that yes, as Matt says, we are representatives of lots of little teams locked in competition, and find the common goals and establish the means to achieve them? I think we can, not by charitable view, but by empirical view. We have a good track record of figuring these things out. We have very strong and talented individuals who take on the responsibility to test and implement ideas from this list and from these organizations. The balancing act mentioned in this thread occurs here as well as in those organizations. Our comraderie is part of the reason we can do that, but our tolerance and our hunger to learn, to use the information provided, and our commitment to explore without reservation, the implications of information and ideas, are even more important. Balance comes of letting go of force and finding and feeling equilibrium. So for me, capitalism, socialism, communism, these are all systems of thought. But in human time and for XML, what we do here matters. We do it each for our own interests whatever they may be and whatever we say they are, but in the end, we are what we make of ourselves, not what we consider ourselves, and XML becomes what we practice, not what we sell. len
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