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   Re: [xml-dev] What is the data here?

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On Sat, 2003-04-19 at 09:51, AndrewWatt2000@aol.com wrote:

> If I read other of your comments correctly you seem to be agreeing that this 
> data-dataContainer combination is currently "jointly owned". Or is "jointly 
> controlled" less provocative? You also seem to be saying that you 
> passionately want to change that situation.

I find "jointly controlled" less provocative because it is true. I
vehemently denounce the phrase "jointly owned" because it is untrue, but
sounds exactly like the kind of thing that eg the RIAA is trying to
impose on the musicians by ratcheting up from 'de facto' to 'by
contract' to 'Mr. Congressman all our contracts say this, so just write
it into the law." (And yes, spectating the EU from across the Atlantic I
think that a simple substitution of MP for Congressman is all the
internationalization required.)

The part I'm passionate about is preventing the word/meme "ownership"
from getting attached. I think it would be better for the control
situation to end, but that's a practical consideration, not something
with the moral and social implications I see in "ownership".

> Ignoring the specifics of Office 11, I would suggest that the fact that 
> thousands of businesses have invested in proprietary software is strong 
> evidence that there have been perceived/real business benefits. An interface 
> can provide added value which, perhaps, is orthogonal to the data it 
> produces. Not sure if that is true but they are separate concepts, at a 
> minimum.

Garbage. What's under discussion is that they've invested in software
that uses proprietary formats. (very different than proprietary
software, even if you continually conflate the two) Further, they have
done so because it's better than sticking with typewriters and
white-out. Because there has been no meaningful open format alternative,
there has been no choice of closed format over open, merely a choice of
closed format over paper.

> Serious question. How do you measure better?
> Let me give you one possible example - sticking to the XForms/InfoPath 
> dichotomy which underlay parts of this thread.
> Last night I pointed one developer on another list to XForms. She indicated 
> that she gave up after an hour or two because there is just *too much* in 
> XForms for her to grasp. That's not a criticism of either her or XForms, just 
> a statement of the situation. InfoPath may provide an easier route for many 
> in to the dynamic XML-based forms space. [MS presumably think so, judging by 
> how they seem to be marketing it.] InfoPath is a more expensive hurdle and is 
> proprietary but is "graspable" by a whole class of people who will be totally 
> lost when they meet XForms. 
> Something that is "graspable", even if it is proprietary, is of more value to 
> that class of users/developers than something that they are overwhelmed by.

Aha. Now that you've given a real example, I can actually respond. OK, I
think you're still conflating "proprietary software" [That's code.] with
proprietary data formats. [that's the .doc files]. You've just given a
reason why someone would prefer to use a proprietary program. I can now
say "ok, cool, worth it." And than turn around and say that the user
would have every one of the benefits you're claiming AND the additional
one of complete control over their data, if the file formats used were
openly and clearly specified, as they would be if they used XML and a
published schema.

Note that I accept that there might even be enough benefits of using a
particular program to offset the disadvantage of the locked up data.
That is like saying that there is enough advantage to product B to
justify paying twice as much as product A. The higher price, and the
locked format both remain disadvantages.

Let me throw it back to you. How can a user be better off with a program
that encrypts its undocumented files, versus one does exactly the same
thing but uses unencrypted files with a documented format. (And no, not
security. I'm saying the user doesn't have the key.)



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