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RE: [xml-dev] "Open XML" et al... Blech... Re: [xml-dev] Micros oft buys the Swedish vote on OOXML?

As Michael Kay said, it started in Germany.   I don't think it a bad idea to
have open formats.  I think it a bad idea when open source and open formats
become a legal weapon or even just a means to brand a company then use that
branding in the face of competition or legal obstacles to competition.  One
wishes the software industry would recognize of its own volition the
complete absurdity of software patents and simply stop asking for them.
That's a pipe dream, yes, but with the advent of legal reforms favoring
'first to file', I believe what has happened to HumanML will happen to many
open list evolved technologies.   So I ask you, Rick, what happens when the
open conversations have to stop because of all of the VCs and technical
vampires who hang out on these lists contributing nothing but waiting for
the opportunity to be 'first to file'?

It's really going to suck.

On the other hand, it seems some time ago I wrote a note forward to myself
and published it.  I found it among my HumanML notes.   So you won't think
I'm too cynical, I copied it below.

Good people do the right things.  The rest, well, they aren't magical
anyway. :-)



On The Power of Myth

Perhaps we should better understand magic.  Attention is magic. 

Where a technology, an initiative, or even a simple email brings attention
to a topic, enables that topic to be shared, understood, and become part of
the competency of some individual or group, that is magic.

Efforts such as HumanML are easy targets for cynicism and critique. They
defy the neo-Gothic, the easy pejorative, the all too common laziness of
so-called serious intellectual thought.  Where some step up to the challenge
of making a difference, they enable hope.   To clarify the question, to
enable the individual or the group to share a belief, an emotion, or even a
simple thrill, this enables humanity. 

We do not create humanity; we humanize.

This magic is not reserved to the political process, or the elite who become
a core community then shut themselves off from the commons, who consider
every moment of their elite attention so precious that they soon experience
only the messages from their self-selected peers, that magic is available to
any person that trades attention for learning about others.

Technology is not magic.  The effort to create the technology is magic.
The artifacts of the HumanML initiative are not magical spells, but the
attitudes and emotions of the individuals who will dedicate attention to
creating the languages are magic.  It is the magic of hope, the willingness
to believe and persevere in the the face of the cynical, the pejorative and
the emotionally impoverished or frightened that transforms the lot for some
large or limited number of individuals.

In the end, all magic is attention and all attention is the power of the
individual.  Whether an effort fails to achieve its goals or is the starting
point for other efforts that achieve these goals, the chain of human
initiative is linked by the sustaining belief that the goals are worthy of
the attention freely given.  That belief, that willingness, and that
acceptance of the cost of effort, these are the magical powers of
individuals whose hope that their effort can bring that hope to others, that
the chain of human achievement does create a better world, that simple hope,
that willingness, that acceptance of the power of marvelous faith is magic.

XML is magic because we made it.  What we make of it, where that brings
hope, is a greater magic and we are magicians.


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