On 10/26/10 12:38 PM, John F. Sowa wrote:
> There's an interesting new language and system designed for secure,
> distributed computing. The language, called Jif (Java + Information
> Flow), extends Java with "policies", and the system is called Fabric
> because "Fabric is more useful and more tightly connected than webs."
> See below for references to Fabric, Jif, and related articles.
> But the main point I want to make in this note is the contrast
> between the methods for developing Fabric and the Semantic Web:
> 1. The SemWeb began with an inspiring, but rather vague
> by Tim B-L about adding semantics to the URIs of the WWW.
> At that level of detail, nobody could object.
> 2. The W3C, which met for the first time at the 1994 conference
> where Tim gave that speech, took charge of the design and
> development of the SemWeb.
> 3. Like any design by committee (cf. Fred Brooks' book), the
> SemWeb was pulled in different directions by experts with
> competing visions of the goals, technology, and methodology.
> 4. As a result, the only consensus on architectural document was
> the familiar layer cake, which emphasized syntax over semantics.
> 5. The
most widely used technology that came out of the SemWeb
> was the lowest common denominator with the barest minimum of
> semantics: RDF.
> 6. The components above the RDF level have not been integrated
> with each other or with the mainstream of IT software, and
> very few IT developers have found any reason to use them.
> I don't know whether Jif and Fabric are going to be more successful,
> but their approach is the best way to develop a major new design:
> a small group doing focused research with prototype implementations
> to check how and whether the ideas work in practice.
> Doing advanced R& D in a small group (or "skunk works") has always
> been far more successful than design by committee. As a
> example that succeeded beyond the designers' wildest dreams, see
> the Oak project at Sun, which became Java:
> As Yogi B. said, "Prediction is very hard, especially about the future."
> But I don't believe that any of the current components of the SemWeb
> are going to survive without a total overhaul or complete replacement.
> Instead, we can expect some small group working in skunk-works mode
> to produce a truly Semantic Fabric.
I agree with the general "skunk works" theme 100%, but Java isn't a
great example today IMHO. Lots of bloat in Java land (codebase and
Linked Data (hypermedia based structured data) and the Linked Open Data
community are "skunk works" examples that emerged from the larger and
somewhat maligned Semantic Web project :-)
> John Sowa
> Following is a brief article about Fabric from Dr. Dobb's Journal:
> Following is a 16-page paper:
> And following is the web page for Jif, which also contains URLs
> for 40 related publications:
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