RE: XUL Standardization: Lessons from the RSS Civil War
I've been reading some of the links from Sam's echo page. 1. People who are terrified of MS should look around more. Other companies can co-opt as easily and will if it's legal. The obsessions with Microsoft are blinding and naive. 2. RSS's big political problem is not Dave, or Sam. It is the lack of a legal controlling authority. RSS, like early HTML and other aspects of the web, was fielded witlessly. It's been enjoyable reading. People tossing the ecosystem metaphors around would do well to learn more about biological ecosystems. They are not efficient, they are not just, and they can collapse without much warning and no recourse. Nature is cruel. That is why these systems are not ecosystems and why earlier writers only use that as a metaphor. Nature offers no guarantees and keeps only strict promises about energy and survival in a local niche given the econtonal exchanges at boundaries. Nature is not ever-improving. It can scuttle like a crab, wastes time on lots of dead ends, and perfectly viable systems can be extinguished in a single lifecycle if they cannot adapt to an environmental change. Human systems use human judgement. ****************************************************** From: Danny Ayers [mailto:danny666@v...] >Depending on the conclusions you draw from the above, Dave has either >demonstrated his openness to progress or bowed to the inevitable : >"Tentative endorsement of Echo" >http://backend.userland.com/2003/06/26#a313 Such things may be or may not be inevitable. It may come down to the legal firepower, at least in the States, one wants to use. The outcomes of the court ruling on the distribution of Java by MS is that while MS cannot be compelled to distribute Sun Java, it being a Sun product, neither can MS replicate it. It seems to come down to one cannot simply co-opt the work of another in the States. Yes there is C# but one would have a tough time making that stick. What is certain is that one cannot co-opt a brand. The case for RSS is muddy, no doubt, and leaving personalities aside, no one will stop echo, even if it is clearly co-opting RSS. The side effects of all of this aren't certain either. At the end of the day, Sam Ruby is an IBM employee and Dave Winer is a UserLand employee. Given that court ruling, companies may find themselves in the position of either discouraging their employees to work on open source projects or specifications that have no clear owners, or in encouraging them to dominate them completely. Given the risks in either strategy, it is safer to discourage it and to pursue proprietary alternatives or only work within the contexts of W3C-like consortia with clear policies and clear ownership. It comes down to wikis are easy, wikis are fast, but wikis are risky. I am reminded of the sage advice one gets in the music business about co-authoring songs: get all the details in writing up front. Otherwise, it will come down to who can afford the most legal services if it's a hit. Don't count on the fount of human kindness at that point. Money changes everything. Been there. Nothing stops a vendor or anyone else for that matter from screwing around with a spec; one can stop them from co-opting it but only if one has some proof of ownership. No one can cry 'standards!!!' in the case of RSS because there ain't one. len
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