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   Re: A certain difficulty

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  • From: Len Bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>
  • To: Jeff Sussna <jeff.sussna@quokka.com>
  • Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 18:42:44 -0600

Jeff Sussna wrote:
> ... inventions are only useful to
> the extent to which they are used. If an invention is brilliant but
> incomprehensible, no one will use it. 

Inventions are used to the extent they are needed once you get above 
the new, different, opportunistic threshholds.  If RDF orSomethingLikeIt 
meets a clearly understood requirement, it will get used.  XML is a good
of a technology disregarded until implementors discovered they needed it 
Eg, SGML worked well.  HTML worked great.  HTML quit being adaptible. 
Selling a project to subset SGML was easy after that. Now it is a 
huge success story instead of a CALS cause celebre.

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

There is a pretty good chance that will be the case.  Meanwhile, 
simplified versions of the ideas it attempts to standardize can 
thrive, a la HTML.

If as stated, it is as easy as a URI used as a primary key in 
a relational database, we are already doing that and publishing 
relational schemas.  Works great.  So why, again, do I need RDF? 
What will it do today?  Can I buy a product faster that does it 


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