I really hope that you can get some of these historical insights onto
They are useful beyond the daily discussion and should not be lost. (01)
John F. Sowa wrote:
> I'm sorry for going overboard in the metaphors, but I get
> frustrated by people who ignore good technology that proved
> its worth in favor of half-vast schemes that nobody would
> have adopted without the hype that was dumped on them.
> PH> Nobody, even the people who wrote their specs, claim that
> > RDF and OWL are the ultimate solution or to all problems.
> That is certainly true. The two people who gave us RDF were
> Guha and Tim Bray. Guha was the former associate director of
> Cyc, and he became disillusioned with its complexity. I don't
> blame him for that.
> But I do blame Guha for being far too shortsighted. He felt that
> most programmers were too stupid to learn logic, and he wanted
> to give them a baby language that they could deal with. What he
> ignored was the fact that the WHERE-clause of SQL supports full
> FOL, and every major commercial web site was built around RDBs.
> I don't have to blame Tim Bray, because he apologized for his
> mistakes in designing RDF. His major criticism of RDF was
> "It's the syntax, stupid!":
> PH> RDF syntax is in fact (that is, definitively according to the
> > specs) defined abstractly, as a graph.
> I certainly like graphs. But see the mistakes by Guha and Bray.
> PH> [RDF and OWL] represent a viable approach to the problem they
> > were designed for, which was to be machine2machine communication
> > notations for the semantic web...
> They're viable in the same sense that a duckbilled platypus is viable.
> But the world had developed far better technologies many years ago,
> implemented them in relational databases, integrated them with the WWW,
> and taught them to programmers around the world.
> There was no excuse to go back to triples when everybody was happy
> with N-tuples. There was no excuse to ignore FOL when all the
> databases of the world supported WHERE clauses that could express
> full FOL.
> I certainly admit that SQL is not the world's best notation for FOL,
> but typed Datalog is an excellent notation that can be mapped to
> both an SQL-like notation for RDBs and an English-like notation
> for people who are familiar with those forms.
> I'm not recommending that we throw away the work that was done in
> RDF and OWL. But it's time to recognize that they are not the best
> foundation for the future, they should be treated as legacy systems,
> and we should promote a better foundation that is integrated with RDBs.
> As I said in my previous note, we can do that by moving from N3 and
> RDF to N-N, moving from OWL, SPARQL, and RuleML to typed Datalog,
> and introducing controlled NLs for readability by human beings who
> are not programmers.
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