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I agree. I offer that commentary to those who
harbor illusions of frictionless commerce, or
that one degree of separation is as easy as a
pickup in a singles bar. Lasting relationships
are made of tough commitments... made upfront
and tested on delivery and before acceptance.
I don't want to predict the future; I want
to constrain it.
There are some benefits. With Internet
services, the lack of humans in the loop may
make some forms of insider shenanigans a little
less likely because the game is exposed. I can't
speak for other business entities out there, but
if we fail to deliver on time and in accordance
with the signed documents, a thing called
"liquidated damages" goes into effect. It may
be that some of the sellers and buyers are going
to have to get sharper about these issues and
learn to operate this way.
And yes, XML-Dev is exactly the place to air
out issues if the technology fails to live up
to the promises made in writing. Very valuable
even when painful. If people accept promises
not made in writing or take the brochures/UDDI at
face value, then nature eliminates the unfit.
If it comes down to the spirit of the law or
the letter of the law, the judge is a lot more
likely to rule fairly where there are signatures,
and as far as I know, ghost writing is hard to xerox.
From: Simon St.Laurent [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
For better or worse, I think the environment you're describing is only a
small part of the technology universe. To some extent it's that only
organizations of a certain size can invest the time in such contracts,
but even such contract-based organizations often have technology arrive
through backdoors or upgrades.
Industrial users are wise to protect themselves this way - ripping
plumbing out of a factory (to extend the metaphor) is much more
difficult than ripping plumbing out of a house or office, though neither
Unfortunately, my experience (and worse, my behavior on prior projects)
suggests that such careful procurement is hardly the rule. Even people
who are away of the risks of "caveat vendor" often find themselves bound
in unexpected ways, and telling the future is difficult.
There's no Underwriters Laboratory here. It seems to me that xml-dev
offers at least discussion, if not formal testing, with a bit more care
taken than a lot of other sources of information. To me, that's hugely