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   RE: Joel on XML

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  • From: Joshua Allen <joshuaa@microsoft.com>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 14:27:40 -0700

Funny to hear Microsoft get accused of over-intellectualizing for
once.  Does this mean that it will now be Microsoft desperately
trying to hang on to the purist ivory tower ideals while everyone
else just acts pragmatic and solves problems, regardless of
how offensive the solutions are to the academics in Redmond?
I'm somewhat puzzled about what Joey was saying, though.
Does he mean to say that the whitepaper does a poor job
of explaining .NET to him (reasonable)?  Or is he saying that
he has concluded that .NET has no substance, simply from
reading a single whitepaper?  From where I stand, .NET
seems very clear, coherent, uncompromisingly pragmatic,
and backed up by lots of product and code.  But I never read
that whitepaper, so obviously Joey knows more about it
than me.  Of course, I don't see any evidence that he examined
a variety of sources of information or attempted to look beyond
his own POV, so I am guessing he just intended to say that
he found the .NET whitepaper difficult to grasp.
I'm not too surprised to hear Napster lauded as a revolutionary
invention, though.  I remember back when IBM was the evil
establishment and Microsoft was the scrappy upstart, all of
us would gleefuly point out that IBM "didn't get it" because their
architecture was heirarchical, where Microsoft WFW allowed
peer-to-peer file sharing and instant messaging.  I remember
dire warnings from the establishment at that time that the
idea of computers talking directly to one another was
inefficient and would lead to disastrous results.  Then Trumpet
Winsock was released and central control has never been the
same since.  IRC-DCC and MAPS RBL both had some
elements of Napster.  I remember a very popular music exchange
network centered around ftp.luth.se in the days before NCSA
even wrote the first HTML terminal emulator (does anyone
else remember that?)  I also remember a very popular and
open protocol that people used to exchange files of all sorts.
It was called NNTP and there were a wide variety of clients
available for it.  At any time, you could log in and find
software, pictures, and music.  Anyone could publish their
own files, and control was decentralized.  Of course, in
those days, it was far more expensive to keep your personal
machine logged onto the network constantly, so people would
usually share a mchine hooked up to NNTPster that was up
constantly.  Sure there are differences, mainly that network
bandwidth is cheaper and more reliable today ... but revolutionary?
The NNTP RFC would be very easy to revise to allow point-to-point
file sharing without requiring file copies at all locations.  And since
NNTP is an open RFC, it is less vulnerable to RIAA pressures.
I'm pretty dumb about these things, though, so I am sure others
have even more examples of other Napster-like technolgies
in use.  And no matter what anybody says, the "killer application"
responsible for Napster's success is free music.  With billions
of dollars of lawyer-bait in the bank, would a company like Microsoft
*ever* release a Napster, regardless of how many people internally
had the idea years ago?  By the same token, the growth of NNTP
exploded when it became a porn and warez distribution network.
What corporation in their right mind would want to claim credit for
that, regardless of the other good side-effects it had?
[Disclaimer: All thoughts expressed here are mine, and do not necessarily represent my employer's official position.  The place that I have chosen to work can be considered an expression of my individual beliefs; my individual beliefs should not be considered to be supplied by or sponsored by my employer.]
-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Winer [mailto:dave@userland.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 22, 2000 10:57 AM
To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: Joel on XML

Please read this essay, written by Joel Spolsky:
"If you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. Sometimes smart thinkers just don't know when to stop, and they create these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that are all good and fine, but don't actually mean anything at all."
This is what I was trying to say to anyone who would listen at WWW9. (And on the Syndication mail list, and everywhere XML comes up.)


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