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   Consider Total Costs (was: Re: good book on XML)

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  • From: Len Bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>
  • To: "Box, Don" <dbox@develop.com>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 18:39:14 -0600

Box, Don wrote:
> I think you are misunderstanding me. I am NOT dismissing the value of
> electronic publication of all sorts of content, including book-length works.
> However, the fast-turnaround model implied by web-based publishing (and
> wrox) is really magazine-like, not book-like. I look at publishing via the
> web as a bigger threat to Miller-Freeman, Sys-Con, or Fawcette than to AW,
> PH, or O'Reilly.

I agree in that it is similar to magazine scheduling and production, but
you stop there, you've done nothing more than what can be found now if
looks hard even if you are very smart and talented 

  ()    and you miss the opportunity.

Charles is right, but this is like going from stage to screen:  it
when the medium is exploited.  It may use a book metaphor, but it is a 
computer application.  Such a *book* can be both teacher and toolset. 

What you would have if the MSDN were tied to the builder tools
logically?  An IETM.
If the app fails, the system looks at its own error codes and produces a
index for diagnosing it.  It dynamically assembles a maintenance

In short:  put some tools in with the instructions and you have a

Well why not just do it for free?

The costs:  an online book, in fact most web businesses, are like a
To cohere(persist, evolve):

o  It must pay for itself.
o  It must pay it's creators.
o  It must pay for its persistence.
o  It must pay for its distribution.
o  It must pay for its marketing.

Otherwise, it is a hobby.  Volunteers.  Community work.

The true cost of the web has been hidden by volunteers. The design 
issues and ideas submitted to open lists constitute the largest working 
source for free engineering.  Open lists are vital to

o  community building
o  product penetration
o  product evolution

What would be the effect of closing the open technical lists?  Choose 
your own means for that, but consider simply that change.

OASIS, W3C, W3DC, are consortia seeking to control markets by
standrds among themselves and in some cases, international standards
both copyright and patent-driven authorities.  The holders of these have 
authoritative rights to the disposition of these properties.   Open list 
membership is by fiat of the property owner.  

Ok.  It works so far.  What happens if the design costs among 
consortia begin to vary?  A lot.  In other words, membership 
value goes up similarly to successful stock because the technology 
controlled has a market value.  If the volunteers leave, the cost of the 
standards to members increases.  Why would they do that?

Unless open lists (eg, SAX development) choose to be legal 
entities, any product of the list members is ambiguous with respect to 
ownership.  By that, who has the right to modify the record of authority 
(per namespace identifier or Formal Public Identifier (where name is 
authoritative by locus of publication - name As Owner)?  Because 
of the list ownership, the authority that governs the namespace.

Consider:  the consortia control the standards by agreement 
among corporations and individuals to join such.  The rules within the 
consortia vary as regards to the rights of individual members vs 
invited experts and open list members.  The ownership does as well 
because disposition of the property is controlled unequally.

Consider:  the consortia are controlling the 
standards by agreeing to the rules of the implementation.

Consider:  Do consortia own the ideas of the lists they maintain 
if they own the namespace?  They do own the copyrights to the 
documents they publish.  Do they own the ideas expressed?

Volunteerism works.  No doubt about it, but where memberships, 
voting rights and access to the process of standardship are 
sold, are means for consortia to enhance membership value, 
free engineering ensures the wealth of others.

If you want to do a living book, I suggest a com 
by that books name.  Otherwise, sustenance comes dear.  

To the FinancialWonks:  denial of service takes many forms. 
Consider the total costs over time.


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