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Re: Father of XML?

[Tim Bray:]

> But XML would not have happened without Jon [Bosak]'s
> tireless, and for a long time thankless, banging on
> doors that didn't want to open and shouting into ears
> that didn't want to listen, and his subsequent firm
> grip on the steering oar through some very swirly and
> dangerous waters.

Hear, hear!

And Charles Goldfarb deserves similar credit, although
the challenges overcome by Charles were somewhat
different from those that Jon overcame.  Certainly both
of these guys are heavy lifters; their accomplishments
are still carrying us, and they may continue to carry
us for a very long time indeed.  These are two very
tough-minded, savvy, and resilient people.  They are
two of the biggest giants on whose shoulders we are all

Aside: Whenever I hear talk about the "Father of X",
       where X is some fashionable idea, I always
       wonder, "So, if he was the father, who was the
       mother?"  Sometimes it turns out that there
       indeed *was* a mother.  Sometimes, on the other
       hand, the whole "father of" metaphor becomes
       ridiculous when considered in this light.  If
       we're going to keep asking "Who was the father
       of X?", then we're really asking who performed
       some sort of insemination.  If we want to know
       who performed the insemination, let's also try
       to understand who was inseminated, and under
       what circumstances.  Was it rape?  Was it love?
       Was it infatuation?  Was it a shotgun wedding?
       Was it a case of artifical insemination?  Also,
       we should ask what were the heroic aspects of
       the mother's contributions.  After all, mothers
       often make more continuous and more heroic
       sacrifices for their children than fathers do,
       beginning with significant pain and suffering,
       and continuing with years of constant
       effort-intensive caregiving, distraction, and

       We should also ask what the baby's DNA can tell
       us about its forebears.  A careful examination
       of XML's DNA reveals a whole lot of genes that
       collectively can only have originated from
       Charles.  The baby, however, looks a whole lot
       like Jon, Jon was the primary caregiver at the
       beginning, and, at least in the earliest days,
       the fiercest defender of the child's life.  I
       think it's safe to conclude that it's no
       coincidence that the baby looks like Jon.

       Sorry if I've offended anyone with my
       gender-bending extrapolation of this silly
       "father of" metaphor.  The begetting of
       brainchildren does not require any specific
       gender to play any specific role.  It only
       requires that the roles be played, and it's
       generally pretty hard on all of the roleplayers.

       The bottom line is that everybody who loves the
       baby owes much to both of these guys.


Steven R. Newcomb, Consultant

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fax:   +1 972 359 0270

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