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Re: [ontolog-forum] Data, Silos, Interoperability, and Agility

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 01:11:38 -0400
Message-id: <5237E48A.5090303@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Kingsley and Hans,    (01)

> The issue of 'legacy' ultimately boils down to how folks seek
> to work with data...    (02)

Today, I was browsing through an old copy of the _New Yorker_
in a dentist's waiting room, and I saw the following quotation:    (03)

    "Software that works is precious.  Users don't idly discard it."
    Tracy Kidder, _The Soul of a New Machine_, 1981.    (04)

That's the definition of legacy software:  too valuable to discard.
To become a legacy is a sign of success.  It's a badge of honor.    (05)

> As you know, the Semantic Web vision marketing kinda took place
> back to front i.e., too much emphasis was placed on the endgame
> at the expense of critical requisite infrastructure such as Linked
> Data  (aka. webby or web-like structured data).    (06)

That's part of problem.  I would add the following points:    (07)

  1. They ignored the above definition of legacy software.  Nobody is
     going to discard tried and true software that supports mission-
     critical applications in favor of some newfangled stuff that is
     totally incompatible with it.    (08)

  2. They claimed the results of the five-year *research* project were
     a *product* that was worthy of standardization.  Tim B-L's DAML
     proposal of Feb 2000 was far more ambitious than what the project
     produced by Dec 2005.  They should have treated the DAML results
     as an experimental first step rather than a finished product.    (09)

  3. The WWW was immediately successful because it provided a simple
     interface that *ignored* the internal structure of the clients
     and the servers.  That is the easiest way to support diversity
     and heterogeneity.  Legacy systems designed for "green screens"
     in the 1970s are running through browsers today.    (010)

> The elimination of boundaries just doesn't scale as a general solution to
> interoperability. Rather we need to focus on how to facilitate crossing
> boundaries, whether they be silos, domains, enterprises, or ontologies.    (011)

Yes.  The simplest and most general way to support interoperability
among heterogeneous systems is by message passing.  Each system (agent)
can have a totally different internal structure.  How agents process
messages internally is irrelevant to other agents.    (012)

That was the theme of an article I published in 2002:    (013)

    Architectures for intelligent systems    (014)

This method works very nicely.  See our article in 2009:    (015)

    Two paradigms are better than one,
    And multiple paradigms are even better.    (016)

John    (017)

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