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Re: [xml-dev] Does the XML syntax have an underlying data model?


You've asked an interesting question, with an interesting example. Obviously, what I say in this message is my opinion and mine alone. I have no idea whatsoever whether anybody at Oracle (or anywhere else) agrees.

First, the meaning of "publicly" needs clarification. OSI was developed "publicly", in the sense that it was done in an open, voluntary standards activity in which every nation on earth was eligible to participate and to send delegates. On the other hand, it was developed in an organization about which most people are unaware, that has a reputation for being somewhat cryptic and obscure, and in which it would have been impossible for thousands (never mind millions!) of people to participate directly.

I find value in the 7-layer OSI model, although it was not "successful" in the same manner that, say, ASCII was. Its usefulness lies in it providing a common model that can be used in comparing and contrasting other network models, and in making it somewhat easier to develop translations between other network models than it would otherwise be. I would characterize this "success" as more academic than practical, but others might feel the opposite way. (Full disclosure: I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation during the OSI standardization years, so I had a vested interest in the battles. It was the fierce fight between DEC and IBM that caused OSI to stall, giving the IETF an opportunity to put forward a "good enough" network design that was ultimately wholly successful.)

I am a career standardizer, and my sympathies are definitely tilted towards "more standardization is better". That belief is based on the recognition that, if people and organizations weren't constantly having to invent new languages/protocols/encodings/etc., they could spend their energy competing on more important factors such as reliability, efficiency, performance, supportability, aesthetics, etc.

Thanks for the discusison!

On 4/17/2016 6:31 AM, Steve Newcomb wrote:
Rick Jelliffe:

> XML was not a planting exercise, but a pruning exercise.

Michael Key:

> XML (like so many technologies) was successful because it was done quickly, and that taking longer to do it better would probably have ensured an early death.

Private interests may find it politically useful to characterize demodularization as "pruning", but in engineering terms, it's still demodularization, and it's not necessarily in the public interest.

A more basic question is: Would it be good if information interchange standards were designed publicly, for world economic performance? Or not? Is the question academic? Or is it simply practical? It depends one's perspective. (One's perspective being subject to change!)

For example, consider a topic that is perhaps less fraught than XML Namespaces, at least within the XML community. Was the 7-layer OSI model in the public interest, or not? Would we be better off today if private interests had adopted it, or had been required to adopt it? If, for whatever reasons, private interests had adopted OSI, would we now enjoy more options in world communications, and a larger arena more suitable both for innovation *and* regulation?

More generally (and with thanks to Eric Raymond), does the bazaar really serve its own interests by neglecting its cathedral? Personally, I think not.

Steve Newcomb


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Jim Melton --- Editor of ISO/IEC 9075-* (SQL)     Phone: +1.801.942.0144
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=  Facts are facts.   But any opinions expressed are the opinions      =
=  only of myself and may or may not reflect the opinions of anybody   =
=  else with whom I may or may not have discussed the issues at hand.  =

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