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   RE: A certain difficulty

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  • From: Mark Birbeck <Mark.Birbeck@iedigital.net>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org, www-rdf-interest@w3.org
  • Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 23:07:19 -0000

Jeff Sussna wrote [in response to Mark Birbeck]:
> I agree that the point of a spec is rigor and completeness, 
> and that it shouldn't be expected to be a tutorial. However,
> I DO NOT agree that the invention being specified shouldn't
> be expected to be accessible.

I really don't see what the point is in making such value judgements. If
an inventor is unable to convey their idea clearly then so be it. If
others can explain it well, then great. It is really irrelevant for how
good the invention is.

> Generally speaking, a complicated design is a bad design.

I'd like to see the mathematical proof for that one! Once again you are
introducing value judgements.

> I believe the frustration with RDF comes primarily from the
> casting of the model into XML syntax(es), not from the writing
> of the spec.

I would suggest that the biggest problem is that it is very difficult to
implement many of the truly radical aspects of RDF/S, and so people find
it hard to picture how it would work. It's also a bit odd because the
applications of RDF are not really 'advertised' in the RDF spec.

> Furthermore, inventions are only useful to the extent to which
> they are used.

A tautology Jeff ;-)

> If an invention is brilliant but incomprehensible, no one will
> use it.

Not so sure, myself. What category would you put Bayes in? I don't
understand it all, but plenty of people are producing some amazing
stuff. Perhaps we're getting philosophical here ...

> I worry sometimes that RDF will fall prey to a similar history as
> Lisp and Smalltalk.

Very different. Anyway, does it matter if RDF goes that way? All I'm
saying is that RDF poses one way in which the 'semantic web' can be
implemented. In a year or two's time it may well be done a different
way, but as long as the semantic web is 'built', who cares which
standard is used to do it? Perhaps I'm too Darwinian in my attitude to
technology for 21st century sensibilities!

Best regards,


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