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   No Standard Before Its Time (WAS RE: [xml-dev] Parsing Performance)

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Re standards:  note that good content standards 
can struggle in a market not ready because the 
platforms can not do the job properly.  VRML is 
a pretty good example of an open standard (ISO) 
that while holding a sizable following, has 
not prospered economically because the major 
market for online 3D (games) has such stringent 
performance requirements, a general language 
fails to perform adequately.  The solution is 
proprietary languages and implementations built 
over 'closer to the metal' standards such as 
OpenGL and its like.

With the advent of the P3s and P4s, high 
performance graphics cards and cheap memory, 
the performance of the worlds built five 
years ago in VRML is acceptable today.  But 
the gaming community has moved on to even 
higher fidelity requirements.  Even with 
an X3D (an XML version of VRML), it will be 
tough for the language to emerge because 
it not only has to hatch, it will have to 
crawl on its fins across six acres of muck 
on its way to the ocean.

The other problem is the size of the early 
adopting community and how fast they scale. 
Real-time 3D requires talent, talent requires 
tools, and tools require developers and developers 
require money. Getting the suction hose started 
today is a lot tougher than it was five years ago.

Economics aside, the platforms and the languages 
have to converge in an easy to apply form. Standards 
should not be created before their time and they 
should be created by the industry that needs them 
for the public that wants them.  It is a problem 
when well-intentioned amateurs get into that game.


From: Bill de hOra [mailto:bill@dehora.net]

Martin Soukup wrote:

> The biggest problem with large open standards is that they must serve a
> wide community of users and through that an even wider range of
> customers. I guess the issue here is that one should have the option of
> doing things either way. Wouldn't that serve the most people?

Possibly not. The thing with open standards is that they act as a 
public good (if you like, they have macro-economic value) as well as 
serving to increase the size of market by drawing in more buyers. 
Not everyone gets served equally by them (there will be 
detrimental,  micro-economic consequences for individuals). If there 
is a bias in standards, it's usually towards consumers of the 
products the standards target, not the sellers - arguably by the 
time a sector needs standardizing, the sellers have made sufficient 
margin as opaque markets tend to favour sellers. Fwiw, Eric 
Newcomer's article which Len linked to is a resonable portrayal of 
what goes when standards come to town, though I agree that the 
choices are not so clear cut - differnt areas and verticals will 
move at different rates.


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