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Re: [ontolog-forum] Early Browser History and the Origin of Semantic Too

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 08 Apr 2012 22:54:33 -0400
Message-id: <4F824F69.6020808@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 4/8/2012 9:21 PM, John Bottoms wrote:
> I have tried to get this put into wikipedia but it was removed on a few
> occasions. The rational was that it could not have occurred because it
> is not on the web.    (01)

What is the URL of that page?    (02)

In any case, the predecessor to SGML was GML, which IBM used for all
its internal and external publications since the 1970s.  I first tuned
into it in the early 1970s, when Charlie Goldfarb introduced it to me.
There's a very brief (and incomplete) note about GML on Wikipedia:    (03)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Generalized_Markup_Language    (04)

For a brief time, I was also a consultant to the IBM group that
developed an excellent indexing system for documents that used GML
and plain text during the IBM antitrust suit (from 1969 to 1982).
They had gathered a huge number of documents that might be relevant
to that law suit.    (05)

This project was started in 1969 when the US government first brought
the lawsuit against IBM, partly because of complains from Control Data.    (06)

I got involved, since I had written a couple of reports that compared
the architecture of the CDC 6600 & 7600 to the IBM computers.  They
typed in a couple of key words and my reports popped up.    (07)

Goldfarb had an LLB from Harvard Law School, and I think that he
was also consulted for that project.  But none of that software
was made into a product.  Nobody could convince management that
there was a business case for it.    (08)

In 1983, I used GML to produce camera-ready copy for my Conceptual
Structures book.  Addison-Wesley wanted me to use exactly the same
style and fonts that they used for Chris Date's book on databases.
GML was so flexible, that I got nearly everything matched exactly.
The only thing I didn't match was one special font for certain kinds
of examples.  But that was irrelevant.    (09)

In the late 1980s, IBM Hursley worked with Oxford University Press
to format the New OED with GML.  The OED had a huge number of
special fonts and conventions, and Hursley was about to use GML
to mimic them exactly.    (010)

For text that was copied from the original OED, they got GML to
produce exactly the same line breaks and hyphenation.  They
needed to get it exactly right in order to aid the proof readers
who had to make sure that the new copy was identical to the old.    (011)

The GML-based software in the 1980s was far more flexible than
MS Word is today.  Just look at the OED and imagine how you
might use MS Word to match that exactly.    (012)

On his own initiative, one man, Don Williams, got GML to run on
the IBM PC in the mid 1980s.  A lot of people in IBM had GML-based
projects that they wanted to make into projects, but they were all
canceled.  Some of them left IBM -- including Goldfarb.    (013)

John    (014)

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