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Re: [ontolog-forum] Free viewer for PowerPoint 2007

To: rick@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 17:13:49 -0400
Message-id: <471BC10D.3020803@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Rick,    (01)

There is nothing wrong, in principle, with a proprietary format
becoming an open standard -- provided that it's good and free
of implementation-dependent peculiarities.    (02)

 > What makes PDF standardization different ?    (03)

PDF is based on Postscript, which was developed by Adobe.  But
Postscript is a fairly clean language that is not dependent
on features of Adobe's implementation.  Many implementers,
including OpenOffice and commercial companies other than Adobe,
support Postscript.    (04)

One of the stupidest mistakes of all time was IBM's adoption of
EBCDIC instead of ASCII -- despite the fact that many people in
IBM, notably Bob Bemer, had spent years working with the standards
committees in developing the ASCII standard (and others).    (05)

The reason why IBM chose to make EBCDIC the primary encoding for
System/360 instead of ASCII was incredible:  the Endicott engineers,
who were responsible for the punched card reader, insisted it would
take more circuitry to map a punched card to ASCII than to EBCDIC.    (06)

That is, in fact, a true statement.  If you look at the bit patterns
in EBCDIC and the hole patterns in a punched card, you can see a
much simpler mapping between them than the mapping to ASCII.    (07)

But System/360, 370, 390..., have a one-instruction TR (translate)
instruction, which could translate any encoding produced by a card
reader (or other I/O device) into any encoding used by the OS.
That translation would take a trivial amount of time compared to
the time required to read (or punch) a card.    (08)

The XML encoding proposed by Microsoft is even more encumbered
with legacy garbage than EBCDIC with the punched card formats.
There is no excuse for enshrining it in any kind of standard.    (09)

John    (010)

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