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Re: [ontolog-forum] How de facto standards are created

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John Bottoms <john@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2013 10:32:09 -0400
Message-id: <51BF1DE9.2030700@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
JohnS,    (01)

Well, maybe...just as a reminder, I still consider Silversmith the first 
web (lowercase "w") browser. The term "web" existed before WWW. Tim went 
looking to the Erwise group among others to get browser code that used 
the AAP tag set just as I had done with Silversmith. He evidently was 
aware that his would not be the first as he purports his to be the first 
"graphical browser". (And Marc purports his to be the "first global 
browser".  Sorry for the bit of history but it is important in 
understanding the standards and market drivers.
(see below...)    (02)

On 6/17/2013 9:32 AM, John F Sowa wrote:
> 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,
>    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.
In fact Tim was not able to sell product so he had to give it away until 
there was market acceptance. I credit him with that understanding. Only 
one copy of Silversmith was given away and it was to the chair of the 
Electronic Manuscript project that developed the AAP tag set. 
Silversmith was extensible through the use of DTD, which is what the ISO 
standard called for. We also worked with existing TCP/IP Telnet standard 
and did not need a new Internet protocol.    (03)

Silversmith also met all the DoD CALS standards for technical manuals, 
but we found that even if we had a working application, other companies 
were better connected and willing to stretch the truth about their 
ability to develop a new application. We then understood that it would 
take more than a creative design to win market segments.
>    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.
Agreed, free, new software will usually be tried out.
>    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.
>    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:
>       http://www.adaptivepath.com/ideas/ajax-new-approach-web-applications
>       Then the adoption rate by developers grew exponentially.
> 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.
"Killer apps" is a confusing term. It is easy to apply it 
retrospectively. But what about those other 20 or 40 killer apps that 
were developed at the same time. And, how do we identify and develop the 
next killer app? It is easy to identify the killer apps after they have 
major gross revenues. Even in the early stages of a killer app, they are 
considered "interesting gadgets" unless you have major money to create a 
buzz and can live up to it as Apple does.    (04)

The basic problem is that everyone wants to get to the top of the 
mountain, but everyone wants to hike down hill to get there. Marketeers 
have to stretch the truth to make the message more palatable. Even then 
they may fall short and get called out on a specific use case or pricing 
miscalculation.    (05)

I had thought for a long time that Silversmith was not "pretty enough" 
because we developed before Microsoft introduced page composition 
software for the PC. It may in fact be the case that 1) education about 
the ISO standard, 2) support tools (as opposed to existing approaches 
for extensibility) and 3) marketing resources in short supply were the 
major contributors.    (06)

-John Bottoms
  FirstStar Systems
  Concord, MA USA
> Last week, an article discussed the role that Apple is playing in
> getting attention for or against proposed standards:
>      http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/12/nfc/
> Some excerpts:
>> 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.
> That result is typical for a "proactive" standard that is not based on
> an earlier de facto standard.
>> 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.”
> Summary:
>> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> John
>       (07)

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