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   RE: [xml-dev] Capitalism and XML

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All fun stuff and the rules of genetics and ecosystems applied 
metaphorically to human behavior and even computer systems have 
a certain appeal and even revelatory power.

Simpler:  human behavior operates in human time and the scales 
of genetic systems don't apply very well to human time.  In 
other words, we die individually before we get results.  Because 
we want results we can touch, hold, see, use, etc., we focus on 
systems that work in human time.  We like to choose our fates 
and even if the stuff we are made of limits certain choices, 
being humans, we like to ignore that and push on anyway.

When ISO and SGML were slagged, technical and political issues 
were conflated.  SGML was in fact, flawed in some aspects.  ISO 
is a slow moving organization:  by design.   XML claimed it could 
be the simple solution, but five years later, the XML framework is 
quite complex.  The W3C claimed it was an organization designed 
to work in Internet Time, but five years later, it is just as 
bogged down and in some ways, less predictable.  There are no 
magic solutions, no magical people, and no single group that 
can make the Internet cohere or architecturally whole.  Humans 
in the loop, my friends, they is us.

We need options.   In fact, today in human time, we are all 
working with multiple authorities.  ISO, W3C, IETF, OASIS, 
even ECMA and NIST are all playing a role in shaping the 
Internet systems.  The W3C may own the names that define 
"The Web" but that's it.  There are overlaps in the missions 
of some of these groups that cause tensions and conflicts, 
but the alternative is to put all the decisions in one group, 
and that is a fatally flawed approach.   Empirically, would 
RNG, DSDL and so on be in organizations other than the W3C 
if we could make that work all the time for everyone equitably? 
No.  So some of the same key people who worked on XML are doing 
follow-on work in other organizations.  That's good.

XML-Dev is not just a sailor's bar.  It is by acclamation, 
by individual self-selection through subscription, the 
XML commons.  What is accepted here after the hard and 
wandering debates typically thrives.  What is rejected 
here by a large consensus, doesn't.   What is offered but 
has divided support has a divided market.  We don't have 
to be very analytical or deep to understand why.  The 
best and brightest in our industry tend to hang out here, 
not in an elitist forum, but in a junkyard dog debating 
society.   That is communication.  It works well.  We 
are a well-informed lot. Information drives intelligent choice.

So when we slag off an ISO, revise our history for short 
term gains, or reject a heritage that is clearly documented
and authoritatively still in place, we screw ourselves. 
Worse, we screw our industry, our heirs, and our chances 
of achieving some fairly noble goals for systems interoperation 
and information sustainability.

What is at issue in this debate is our learning curve.  Do 
we accept and will we defend the evidence of our own eyes? 
Can we keep our goals in front of us, understanding that 
yes, as Matt says, we are representatives of lots of little 
teams locked in competition, and find the common goals and 
establish the means to achieve them?

I think we can, not by charitable view, but by empirical 
view.  We have a good track record of figuring these things 
out.  We have very strong and talented individuals who take 
on the responsibility to test and implement ideas from this 
list and from these organizations.   The balancing act mentioned 
in this thread occurs here as well as in those organizations. 
Our comraderie is part of the reason we can do that, but our 
tolerance and our hunger to learn, to use the information 
provided, and our commitment to explore without reservation, 
the implications of information and ideas, are even more 
important.  Balance comes of letting go of force and finding 
and feeling equilibrium.

So for me, capitalism, socialism, communism, these are all 
systems of thought.   But in human time and for XML, what 
we do here matters.  We do it each for our own interests 
whatever they may be and whatever we say they are, but in 
the end, we are what we make of ourselves, not what we 
consider ourselves, and XML becomes what we practice, not 
what we sell.



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