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   RE: [xml-dev] dtds, schemas, xhtml, and multimedia technologies

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>In my experience virtually every big interesting business app these
days ends up having 
cross-vendor and cross-architecture components;

This is one of the reasons I decided I liked .NET.  It seems to me that
Microsoft is not only integrating all of their current development and
business products under the .NET framework banner, but also it looks to
me like they really are opening things up to outside add-ons (like
add-ons to Visual Studio.NET itself, the ability to make your own .NET
controls, and the ability to write in languages like Cobol and have it
compile to .NET), and I think they also got the CLR (common language
runtime) or the .NET Framework standardized and are working on C#
approval as a standard.  Plus they seem to be moving toward implementing
the W3C standards.  (I wish they would fully implement all of them,
(XHTML, Xlink, XSL-FO)).  It is wonderful that they deprecated their XDR
in favor of the XML standard.  They don't seem to be acting as much like
in the older Netscape versus Microsoft browser days when I felt like
they pushed their browser standards without respect.

>fear that using .NET will mean Microsoft lock-in and
   they will end up stuck with enterprise software licensing costs
   that work like the XP licensing terms.

You are right.  This really scares me.  I forget what the battle was
over about 6 months ago, but it was a major standard and one of the big
companies decided they wanted to now get royalties.  Was it something to
do with web services?  And before that it was .GIF royalties, I believe,
and then .JPG royalties.  It's not fair that things become standards and
THEN companies decide to charge royalties.  Anyway, I'm worried about
Microsoft turning around and telling everyone they want their 2 cents
for every transaction under .NET or something like that.  And a year or
two ago I remember looking at the SQL Server licensing as it related to
web servers and remember seeing a change in the licensing that made it
much more costly.  Things like that worry me.  I wrote Microsoft back
then and asked them to please clearly state that they won't ask for
royalties.  Or at least give us clear guidelines of what to expect from
them in the way of future licensing fees.  But it probably isn't good
business practice on their part to limit their future like that so I
doubt if they or any other company will do that.  

I think Microsoft's greatest benefit to mankind is that because they are
so large and able to spend so much money on R&D, some of the things they
push are well thought out and standards have arisen where before there
were only smaller turf battles.  I don't know anything about the
standards boards so I can't say how much role Microsoft had on them
personally.  But from an outsiders point of view, it looked to me like
the only way we finally got standards accepted is that it took a giant
like Microsoft to force them down our throat by using them in their
products. Every day that I do web design I give thanks for the standards
that have arisen.  Regardless of where they came from, I am just glad
they are here.  And I am equally thankful that Microsoft finally appears
to be working strongly with the standards boards. They worried me when
they came out with XDR. 

On the other hand, it's scary that Microsoft has so much power. The
standards boards must clearly state that there can't be royalties on
standards.  They should be owned by the public, not by the few companies
that had the most impact on developing the standards.  Have they done
this?  xml-dev participants would know.  Do the standards boards get
involved with a country's laws to make this type of thing a law - No
charging royalties for standards - not just a "recommendation"? (pun
intended, not trying to put down recommendations)

The only thing I can say is look at IBM and Apple.  They used to be
kings in their own microcomputer areas, but then when they wouldn't move
from their proprietary position they started losing market share as
companies jumped in.  Luckily we are in a free market, supply and demand
society, world based economy.  If that remains the case and Microsoft
decides to get greedy then we will go through rough times but someone
will jump in.  Look at the cost of EDI implementation and how companies
have moved away from it now, or Korean and Japanese imports when our
labor costs got high.  I hope that we can maintain our freedom to
choose, and then I think things will be ok.  

Pam Ammond
Empowering You!

website: http://www.empoweringyou.com 
Please check out the "Wow! Look At Windows XP" book I wrote at


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