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   RE: [xml-dev] Arbortext bought

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When the Microsoft hegemony on the desktop is 
cited by open source zealots, that single system 
dominance is called an inhibitor to innovation. 
When the lack of open source hegemony on the 
desktop is cited by open source zealots, that 
lack of dominance is called an inhibitor to 
innovation.  Neither of these have squat to 
do with Arbortext being bought.  That is a 
sign of subsumption by ubiquity.  Suits don't 
hunt where game is scarce or skinny.

XML won; so, Arbortext is sold.  Aggregation 
by subsumption is normal business evolution. 
From the time Jean Paoli made his speech to 
the SGML conference in Vancouver forward, smart 
people knew this was coming.  Once any technology, 
art form or other innovation goes mainstream, it 
is only a matter of time before major and large 
interests dominate its commerce.  Ask any rock 
musician about that one.  If Linux ruled the world, 
a small handful of large companies would rule Linux and 
any small innovator with real value would be absorbed.

Copyrights and patents are not hegemonies.  They 
are property rights for a period.  These property 
rights are being abused in some cases, and weaknesses 
in the systems for registering the rights or granting 
the patents are being abused in others.  

This is not a case for open source or against.
It is a case of systemic failures to regulate IP 
ownership.  We have to fix that, and once again, 
the battle between large vested interests and the 
public good is on.  Open source advocates have an 
interest in that battle, but so do small to medium 
size companies selling proprietary systems.  The IP 
Wars are a cancer on society itself.  Don't try to 
spin that war only to singular interests because that 
trivializes the true dangers.  

Everyone is getting hurt.  IP licensing is becoming a 
tax levied by corporations through governments.  Think 
of the model of colonial India when taxes were levied 
through the Raj for the profits of the colonizers.

Competition is good for innovation.  Rigged contests 
are not good for anyone except those that rig the contest. 
That doesn't make the contest a failure.  It does attest 
to the failures of the officials.   It is as the British 
liked to say, "not cricket" and if you think that is 
trivializing, watch a Hindi movie called "Lagaan" when 
you have 3.5 hours to kill.  Movies about cricket are 
almost as slow as the game itself.  The fix for this 
will also be slow, but hopefully not as slow as cricket.


From: sterling [mailto:sstouden@thelinks.com]

Your "no little matter" message describes how copyrights and patents 
inhibit true innovation.  If everyone were using an open source 
operating system, evey development innovation would become a part of that 
single operating system. 

The world would be uniform in its basic approach to e-information, 
compatibilty between systems and users would be enhanced, users would have 
many more applications to choose from, software would be more widely 
distributed, and developers would not have to select a segment of the 
market for their innovations and developments.

Your email reveals in vivid terms technoloy quenching by operation of 
rule of law.  The rule of law (copyright and patents) terminates 
technology which either competes with or diverts from mainstream corporate 

Thanks for your message.

On Thu, 7 Jul 2005, Liam Quin wrote:

> On Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 05:51:35PM -0400, Frank Richards wrote:
> [...]
> > By itself it doesn't sound like a big deal. But it says a lot about the 
> > SGML/xml-doc world. A niche market company nobody ever heard of is 
> > buying Arbortext to fill a gap in a kludged up product line that might 
> > let them play Corel to AutoCAD's Microsoft. What makes it sting even 
> > more is that XMetal was picked up by a web advertising company because 
> > it was cheaper to buy XMetal than migrate to OpenOffice.
> Before that, SoftQuad Author/Editor was bought by Interleaf,
> and as far as I can tell never saw the light of day again.
> And Synex AB (the developers behind SoftQuad Panorama) was bought
> by InSo (who had bought EBT, and who were then bought by Enigma).
> But industry these days is a fish-eat-fish world.
> > We are not where it's at folks.
> Or, we're in demand :-)
> At any rate, best wishes to all the folks at Arbortext -- let's
> hope it works out well for them!
> Liam

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