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OT: Just a Little Explanaton for Veering (RE: Blueberry/Unicode/ XML)

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Rowe [mailto:sarowe@textwise.com]

>You know, speakers of dead languages, fear of association,
>combinations, all manner of new-fangled re-configuration, lost youth
>reclamations, thankless anti-monopolistic precrimination, knee-jerk
>voids in cogitation, lyrical Grass-Leaved protestation, <?all
>synchrony=together tempus=now with=feeling?> LONG LIVE LEN!

I'll take that as some sort of assurance that 
when those trolls get quoted without context, I get to keep 
my head. :-)

Why say such absurd objectionable things?  

Blueberry is pretty insignificant.  At the end of my 
day I worry more about things like water rights in 
the coming years.  Still, Blueberry exposes more than  
weakness in the current XML design.  All technical 
solutions aside, the evaluation of the requirements 
resonates with trends I see in several places as the 
hegemonies of consortia are accepted: it is an *economic* decision 
partly, but the debates are often *religious*. 

So what is the cost of doing business on the web?  What 
is the currency by which it is paid?  What is worth doing 
even if the cost is large?  I agree with Bill Joy: 
some things aren't worth doing.  

As long as XML is a subset of SGML, and SGML is the
property of ISO, then an escape hatch is kept operational 
for those that need it if and when they need it.  I've 
watched some unthinkable things become thinkable over 
the last few years since the web became a part of our 
everyday lives.  Because we teach our children by 
example, these things worry me.

1.  Taking the intellectual property of an international 
standards group and privatizing it into the property of 
a global consortium of vendors.  That "information wants 
to be free" even when the owners have rights.  

2. That if an unpopular individual or company *embraces and extends* 
it is automatically a villain but if a popular consortium 
does it, that is in bounds.  People are willing to 
apologize publically for having very valuable knowledge 
because it involves using the most widely distributed 
and marketable products in the world and a small vocal 
minority seek to humiliate them.

3.  A statement however bizarre that English is to be preferred. 
This shows up in other emails from other authors and it shows 
up in state courts as part of citizenry requirements, so it 
is not as *alien* as one might think.  It is bigotry of course.

4. That simplicity and short time are to be accepted as preconditions 
for doing work with extraordinarily critical assets because of  
perceptions about the medium and the competitive advantages it 
enables.  Yet if these result in bad designs, no one questions 
the method.

Except for four, none of these things are terribly new nor 
do I lose sleep over them.  But I have come to believe that 
the relationship of government to consortium, of enclosure of 
what were once inalienable assets or rights by private interests 
are of critical interest to our well-being.   Yes, we cannot 
police everyone and I would be the last to say we should.  
Yet, it is the second oldest story of the Hebrew Bible; 
we are our brother's keeper.  Further, we are the keepers 
and teachers of our childrens'legacy.   So when it is 
suggested that we turn the means of preserving information 
over to industries whose accountability is limited and then to 
remove the escape hatch such that texts of great cultural 
value to some group could disappear or become inaccessible, that 
I think is a very very bad idea.

Will that happen?  Not today.  But we set the example and 
we habituate people to it.  That is why a trillion dollars 
disappeared.  They believed, in the face of good sense, in 
the face of experience, they gambled.  And lost.  Blind faith 
in people to do the right thing is a bad habit.  Blind trust 
after bad examples is stupid.  Stupid survives too.

I do trust government more.  They are more exposed.  They 
are made accountable in the majority of instances.  I don't 
want them to write code. They do it badly. I do sincerely want those who 
do it well to be accountable for the public commons they enclose. 
I don't fear world government.  It is impossible to create it  
because those who would be its members would have to hide from 
all comers, disguise themselves, and if they did that, would 
need external interfaces.  Even if the Illuminati existed, 
it would be a pretty boring gig to have and a more boring 
group to hang out with.  Power and fame unflaunted is 
the dullest kind to have.  Better to Rock.  :-)

But accountability must exist and hopefully, voluntarily 
and with great attention to detail and cause.

Otherwise, the only recourse is to regulate by Federal 
and International law incursions of the consortia into 
the commons.   This is not unthinkable.  By nature, 
such actions are not taken unless needed given the cost.

But they are not unthinkable, or undoable.


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