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Re: "Binary XML" proposals
- From: David Brownell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- To: email@example.com
- Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 18:01:22 -0700
> > > > Binary formats are bad because they tend towards being
> > > > proprietary, and that's the last thing that should happen to
> > > > the world's next "intellectual commons".
> > >
> > > True in the document world, perhaps. But not so obviously true
> > > in the protocol world. For example, DNS question and answer
> > > payloads are an example of an open, structured, binary format.
> > I'm fully aware. But you also ought to consider exactly how
> > open and extensible DNS is -- by seeing whether you can
> > get to two hands when you count implementations (BIND,
> > and hardly any other servers), and extensions (rare).
> If you mean particular identifiable implementations, then no,
> not unless I'm allowed to count BINDs 4, 8, and 9 separately.
Nope, and not client-only implementations either! :) DNS is not
an example of a "widely implemented" protocol; "widely deployed"
is rather different. (Arguably, you just picked a bad example ...
where there's really only one significant implementation.)
> Interoperability isn't simply due to a lack of diversity.
Actually, for DNS it's been a major factor. Original specs did
not match the implementation, and for all I know that's still
an issue ... because that implementation was so widely deployed
that it became the real protocol spec.
> > There's also the "out of sight, out of mind" issue. Once things
> > get binary, the number of people who can detect mistakes (much
> > less shenanigans!) declines by orders of magnitude. That means
> > that interop becomes more fragile; which also pushes things
> > towards proprietary behaviors/bugsets.
> I understand your concern, and I share it. But I think you're
> overestimating the extent to which text is a defence.
I just said "orders of magnitude", I didn't say how big the original
pool of "interoperability defenders" would be! Small enough that
a significantly smaller pool is the wrong idea, in my book, and
changing the system to encourage a smaller pool bothers me.