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   RE: Capitalism and XML (was RELAX NG Marketing)

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I thought good business practices, not economic systems were at issue. Maybe we are not 
talking about capitalism but the way that teams play team games.   Fine.   Go get that whisky 
and tell Stepan Tomolya he should take a valium for the interim.  Let's play your game your way.

Most of us know that HTML is an application of SGML.  Most of us know the source of the DTD that was the 
prototype for HTML.  XHTML is an XML application.   XML users use XHTML, yes?

Two quotes from some online rants:

"... we can continue to save a little now and suffer a lot later."

So the point is to suffer now?   Who has to suffer, the company of the author of the rant or their customers?

"The Big Idea is that HTML beat SGML to a pulp in the market because it is so damned simple. "

It did?  Let's see.  I see an application of SGML making it possible for the SGML WG and SGML ERB to get 
the SGML community support needed to design an excellent subset, XML.

I see well-understood practices from over a decade of SGML practice being incorporated in a next generation markup system.  
I see some serious players adopting that subset and using it.  It seems to be a good market.
XML is a good move.  Refactoring is good engineering.  Pulp?  Where?

Is the rant author misstating or misinformed?  Untrustworthy or simply incompetent?  
He says it helps him to sell a product.   What kind of product needs that kind of help?

Maybe we need a product like that so we can do business on the Internet using XML.  Time to 
evaluate products, and by the way, since there are stiff qualification clauses in the contracts, 
about who we can do business with, we evaluate vendors too.  We watched a very 
serious stock bubble bomb go off, so we are doubly careful about Internet technology 
vendors and we research them thoroughly.  Off to their brochures, which just happen 
to be on the Internet.  There, it starts with 

<!DOCTYPE html public "-//W3C//DTD HTML 3.2 Final//EN">

Hmm.  A DTD for HTML 3.2?  That's SGML.  Didn't those rants talk about how bad DTD's are?   Isn't this an 
XML company?  There are a lot of contradictions here, but nevermind, let's read the brochure.

  "the relationship between business services and web services?
  An xxx Business Service is a web service that uses an XML schema 
  to model a business process..."

So web schemas are pretty important to that product line.  But we are told here that XML Schemas are bad by some 
prominent members of the XML community?   So we have to decide who to believe given that some sources 
misrepresent technologies to sell their products.

It seems in the past that the quoted vendor misrepresented facts.  Are they doing that now just to sell the product?
Is there something wrong with that product that they don't want to mention so they misdirect us by involving us in 
a fight with ISO, the W3C or the SGML vendors whom they have said got it wrong to begin with?

HTML is an application of SGML.  XLink uses ideas from HyTime.  XSL uses ideas from DSSSL.   This company we are 
looking at only has credentials based on partnering with companies headed by people who worked on all of the above, 
but the company itself wasn't even conceived at that time.  And they use DTDs?  And they use SGML?????

Are they experienced?  Can we rely on their decisions?  Do they know what they are talking about?

Perhaps we better go to a company that actually understands web services, perhaps one that has Business as its middle name and 
initial.  Maybe these piker companies that advertise themselves by ranting and denigrating the very technologies on which their 
products are based are too immature for the serious players.  After all, this is capitalism and not a charity for small fry.

It's a good story.  Maybe even true.  And it's a lot like this story:

"Don't buy it. The "savaging" of ISO and SGML was what resulted in XML in the
first place, and though stakeholders in SGML might not like it, the reality
is that this represents huge progress."

This game is easy to play.  

But wrong.  

A business doesn't have to denigrate a competitor to win.  An experienced marketing group knows that 
is precisely the wrong thing to do because it destroys the reputation of their own company.  It starts The Game, and The Game ruins 
everyone who plays it.  That game isn't capitalism; it's terrorism.  It destroys the system it promotes.

We can win by proving our product has value.  We can answer an RFP paragraph by paragraph, honestly and in detail if needed.  We can 
demonstrate the product, pass benchmarks, and make contract commitments to improve areas where lacking.  We can earn their business and their 
trust.  That's how our team wins and our customer wins.

We don't have to lie, cheat, forge, or hide.  We do have to deal.
 We win by working hard and being scrupulous.  It's old fashioned, but it is a delicious victory because it is clean game.  
Some teams learn to compete cleanly.  Other's bribe judges.  Sometimes they win by bribery:  sometimes they are humiliated publicly.   Why risk it 
for a chunk of gold?   Why not win by being worthy?
That Big Idea is a Bad Idea because even if it makes someone short term money, if it destroys or misrepresents the work 
and reputations of those on whom the Big Idea's success is based, it degrades the persons or companies that 
do business with the promoter of the Big Idea.   In children's terms, it's Scrooge. 

The Big Idea is a Big Lie.  Promoting a lie is not a worthy act.  Wasn't it Stalin that promoted the idea that a Big Lie is the way to dominate? 
So maybe this Big Idea isn't capitalism at all.  Maybe it is just one more instance of petty egomania foisted on the defenseless. 

Maybe it's just sick.

Many prefer to do business with ethical, class acts.  Some aren't allowed by policy to do it any other way.  Some do this simply because 
they have good manners, a reliable source of predictable behavior, and others simply wish not to get up with fleas.


From: Matthew Gertner [mailto:matthew.gertner@schemantix.com]


What I find misguided is the idea that we are all in one big team working
towards a common goal. I think that the last century or so, especially, has
shown that progress is a lot faster when you have a lot of smaller teams
competing with each other. This is the main distinction between communism
and capitalism. Granted, capitalism is a dirty, ugly thing that implies that
human beings are selfish entities that aim first and foremost to maximize
their own success.


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