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[ontolog-forum] How de facto standards are created

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2013 09:32:04 -0400
Message-id: <51BF0FD4.3090309@xxxxxxxxxxx>
One of the problems of the Semantic Web and of ontology projects
in general is that the official standards have an extremely slow
adoption rate.  By comparison,    (01)

  1. As soon as Tim B-L and his small group of implementers developed
     the WWW as a means of sharing research papers, physicists at
     every university and R & D center in the world adopted it.
     Academics in other fields of science and engineering followed.    (02)

  2. When the Mozilla project at the U. of Illinois implemented a browser
     that integrated pictures with text, it became an instant hit. Early
     adopters told their friends, and everybody who was connected to the
     Internet downloaded it.  Commercial companies saw the adoption
     rate and followed quickly.    (03)

  3. The incompatibilities of JavaScript among vendors meant that
     developers could not design complex code that would run on multiple
     browsers -- even on different versions from the same vendor.  Then
     ECMAScript harmonized the many versions, and the vendors adopted it.
     But very few developers chose to use the more complex features.    (04)

  4. Then Google developed a dynamic way of using JavaScript in Gmail
     and Google Maps, and Jesse James Garrett gave it the catchy name
     AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) in 2005:
     Then the adoption rate by developers grew exponentially.    (05)

Points #1 and #2 show that de facto standards result from "killer apps"
that are rapidly adopted and imitated.  The W3C was created four years
*after* Tim B-L released his original software.  Point #3 shows that
official organizations have an important role to play.  But point #4
confirms the fact that a "killer app" is necessary to get attention.    (06)

Last week, an article discussed the role that Apple is playing in
getting attention for or against proposed standards:    (07)

    http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/12/nfc/    (08)

Some excerpts:    (09)

> Near Field Communications’ evangelists have been trying to get smartphone
> owners to share stuff by bumping and grinding their phones for years. And
> progress has been painful, to put it mildly.    (010)

That result is typical for a "proactive" standard that is not based on
an earlier de facto standard.    (011)

> The latest setback for the NFC-pushers’ cause comes courtesy of Apple.
> During Monday’s WWDC keynote, Tim Cook & Co. were cracking jokes at the
> tech’s expense as they previewed a feature coming in iOS 7 that does
> the job of NFC without any of the awkwardness of NFC...
> Instead, it’s adding AirDrop to iOS 7, which uses peer-to-peer Wi-Fi
> to allow content to be shared to nearby iOS 7 devices without having
> to physically tap anything together...
> “No need to wander around the room bumping your phone.”    (012)

Summary:    (013)

> Apple often talks about how the things it chooses *not* to do are as
> defining as the things it does. Well Apple doesn’t do NFC. And that
> speaks volumes. Don’t forget, NFC is not new. It’s been kicking around
> in phones since forever. And Apple still reckons it sucks.    (014)

Historical note:  After leaving Cyc, Guha went to Apple, where he
designed the first version of what became RDF.  But Apple did not
adopt it for any products.  Then Guha went to Netscape, where he
worked with Tim Bray to develop the XML-based version, which the
W3C adopted.    (015)

During the 2000s, Nokia poured millions of euros into R & D for RDF,
OWL, and other technology based on Semantic Web standards.  But Apple
ignored the SW.  So did Google, Microsoft, etc.    (016)

John    (017)

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