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   Re: [xml-dev] Character Entities: An XML Core WG View

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At 6:09 PM -0500 11/1/02, John Cowan wrote:

>At the moment, breaking backward compatibility is not an option.  The
>roars and howls from this very mailing list, and the xml-blueberry-comments
>archive, were beyond belief for a far more modest change than this.
>You wanna stick your neck out, please do.

The howls were large because the changes provided essentially no 
benefit to the vast majority of users, and yet imposed massive costs 
on all users. A new version of XML in which the benefits outweighed 
the costs would encounter less resistance and gain more support.

>People implement new things, in general, because they provide added function.
>Some people won't move to new things no matter how much added function they
>provide, because their investment in the status quo is too large.  W3C only
>reflects this viewpoint, it doesn't create it.

I don't believe that. When people choose not to move to new things, 
it is because the additional benefits they would accrue don't justify 
the costs incurred by the move. Occasionally, they don't move because 
even though the benefits would outweigh the costs, they can't afford 
the costs with their current capital. (Please understand all terms 
like costs and capital broadly, not just financial, of course.)

Most of the time when people don't move, it's not because they're 
irrational. It's simply because they rationally don't believe the 
benefits justify the costs. You can get them to move by sufficiently 
decreasing the cost of the move or increasing the benefit, or both.

| Elliotte Rusty Harold | elharo@metalab.unc.edu | Writer/Programmer |
|          XML in a  Nutshell, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly, 2002)          |
|              http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xian2/              |
|  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN%3D0596002920/cafeaulaitA/  |
|  Read Cafe au Lait for Java News:  http://www.cafeaulait.org/      |
|  Read Cafe con Leche for XML News: http://www.cafeconleche.org/    |


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