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   RE: Microsoft's Role in the XML Community (WAS RE: Important: The SAXC+

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  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
  • To: XML Developers List <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 15:27:47 -0500

My personal experience with MS public list behaviors is limited to 
XML and VRML.  On the VRML list a few years back, that 
particular set demonstrated a rueful arrogance.  It cost 
them any support for what was actually a decent design, 
just too late and introduced with too little forethought 
to getting a consensus first.  In X3D, they showed up early 
but either weren't being supported internally, or didn't 
like the heat. Whatever, they weren't much help in getting 
design consensus.  For some reason I cannot fathom, with 
some of the best graphics folks in the world working for 
them, they never have fielded an MS graphics application 
worthy of the name.  Usually, they OEM them.  To me, that 
suggests something about one particular group in one 
particular company, probably in their management.

My experience in XML has been exactly the opposite.  Once 
they decided that XML was important, Paoli was there pitching 
in the beginning, then he sent in the tech troops and they 
have been very responsive, very engaged and likable.  I've nothing 
but respect for those aspects of their public behavior in this 
community.  Again, it says something about one particular 
group in one particular company, probably in their management. 
Remember also, a lot of XML MS employees come from this 
community and the one that preceded it (eg. Paoli, Denny-Brown). 

Given the thread title, I think they fit their roles well in 
XML, and fitness counts.

My point here is that individuals care about individuals 
and that is the most important thing to establish and 
nurture.  That was Yuri Rubinsky's outstanding skill 
and with it, he knitted together a lot of very angst-ridden 
folks, helping to hold us together until we had a hit.
That strategy will get you past most little problems and 
usually starts the process to solving the big ones.  We 
can't fix a corporate culture except by affecting corporate 
behaviors, and that is the big game.  But the little game 
by which we nurture and sustain a community of individuals, 
the respect we show, the humor, the restrained affection, 
that game will in the long term, have the longest lasting effects.

MS employees also want to belong to a greater family.  Jobs 
change; technology changes, but you see the same players if 
you stay in the same game long enough.  Yes, the people count. 
MS employees know that even if their boss doesn't yet.  As to 
who gets to set and profit by standards, those are two different 
problems.  My guess is that less than 50 individuals are responsible 
for most of the XML standards decisions making while a very much 
larger number profit by it.  The journalist you cite has a very 
narrow view of how it all works.

Len Bullard
Intergraph Public Safety

Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h

From: Wendell Piez [mailto:wapiez@mulberrytech.com]

That is, MS or any big entity might not care about any individual --
but maybe they *should*. <snip>

The same journalist who made the "MS invented XML" gaffe in the Washington
Post wrote again (I think a week ago), correctly identifying that the core
issue in the MS anti-trust litigation is, who gets to set (and profit from)
standards for emerging technologies. 

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