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RE: "Binary XML" proposals
- From: Miles Sabin <MSabin@interx.com>
- To: email@example.com
- Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 08:37:41 +0100
David Brownell wrote,
> > 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! :)
No fair ... rationale please.
> 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.)
But that's simply not true. DNS is maybe slightly less widely
implemented than HTTP clients/servers. But far less less widely
than you're making out. How many HTTP servers can you name? How
In any case, there's a difference between "open, implementable
by anyone" and "open, implemented by lots of people". Even if
there were only one example, DNS would still be in the former
category, and I think that's good enough.
> > 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.
That's not exactly unusual in the protocol space. If anything it
goes to show that there's a counter-tendency to the one you're
worried about. Yes, there's a trend to closed proprietary systems,
but there's also a trend in the opposite direction. And all
vendors, at least some of the time, have an interest in supporting
the counter trend ... eg. when they don't have a clearly dominant
> > 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!
I still disagree. My experience, having (legitimately) reverse
engineered both text and binary proprietary file formats, is that
there's not a huge difference between the two in terms of effort.
The real killer isn't text vs. binary: it's who's in control of
change. If a vendor can make egregious changes from release to
release then you're stuffed, text or binary. This, I think, counts
in favour of a binary standard even by your own criteria: it
would make it harder (nb. harder, not impossible) for anyone to
make unilateral changes.
Miles Sabin InterX
Internet Systems Architect 5/6 Glenthorne Mews
+44 (0)20 8817 4030 London, W6 0LJ, England