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

Hi Len

I think you misunderstood. I'm not concerned with the legals around 
patents etc. That's working it's way - slowly - to a sensible position: 
software patents are mostly nonsense.

I'm concerned with the ordinary legal process that has to cope with eg 
an organisation that has been ignoring employee safety and all the 
documentation that may or may not prove culpability is in ODF or OOXML 
(or worse old word formats). People may die, go to gaol, etc and it is 
critical that prosecution and defense can confidently state that a 
document supports or doesn't support a case.

The archivists and historians will have similar problems. I don't know 
what you do in the USA, but here in Australia government cabinet papers 
are released to the public after 30 years, usually with very little or 
no censorship - if it's an electronic document instead of paper...

So MS may or may not get richer. I don't really care. But as a community 
I think it is critical that these standards are done properly.


Len Bullard wrote:
> 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. :-)
> Len
> *****************************************
> 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.
> len

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