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Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful

Subject: Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
From: Guy_Murphy@xxxxxxxxxx
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 10:50:53 +0100

Hi Simon.

I was of the school that information wants to be free... but I gave up
phone freaking, and hacking a long time ago.

Since then my view has become somewhat battered, and I personaly can't see
the point when we might reach the state of free information. Being a
pragmatist I would rather have something rather than nothing... now I
subscribe to the war cry "Information wants to be cheap!"... it may not
have quite the same ring to it I'll admit, but I do beleive this new
pragmatic declaration to be achievable.

The quality of information of the Web is extremely poor. I say this having
worked in a company with over 500 massive databases covering everingthing
from medical to pahaceutecal databases, all containing *categorised* data,
organised to allow full access, datamining etc. etc.... and there are
several other companies out there sitting on mind boggling big stock piles
of data also.

I would personally like to see the data that is being kept off the Web (the
mojority of this planets data) make its way onto the Web. This simply is
not going to happen if said companies instantly loose control of it... It
point blank will not happen.

So if you wish to persue a Web where the vast majority of quality data is
walled off within extranets, only accessible to those who pay big for it,
fine. I prefer the vision of a more open Web.

The reason why companies can charge over $1000 for viewing of a single
document, and $100s for sections thereof, is because they are selling to a
reletive handful of large corporates. Scale that up to millions on the Web,
and the price drops to a few cents, or in many cases disappears as the
companies obtain revenues via other streams such as advertising.

Basically what I'm saying is "You can't have your data and eat it"

This doesn't mean that you will not be able to get the sematically rich
versions of the aforementioned data, simply that if you want the data in
that way *you will have to pay for it*.

Now, most people don't care, because they aren't planning significant reuse
of this data, they just want to see it. At the moment, everybody is paying
for it. I prefer the idea of people being able to consume the data for
free, and paying for reuse of the data.

Consider for a moment reuse of data... I think it quite reasonable to
support companies control over their data, and charging for its reuse. If
this is not supported, it simply wont happen. The large data pools will not
be gathered, and more importantly they wont be structured.

As for semantically rich search engines.... not many on the Web... there
are already lots of semanticaly rich search engines off the Web. I would
like to see these search engines on the Web, and I don't beleive that
simply wishing them there will bring that about.

Business cases have to be supported. There is the prevailing view at the
moment in many circles that such satements are somehow unclean... The Open
Source movement is on the rise, and maybe one day it will be a robust
enough model to make support of business cases non-essential, but that day
has not yet come, and until it does business cases are essential if you
want the big boys to play.


xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on 04/22/99 09:48:29 PM

To:   xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
cc:    (bcc: Guy Murphy/UK/MAID)
Subject:  Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful

If, on the other hand, you're of the "information wants to be free" school,
or some related category, the funeral for the excitement that was the Web
will be held at some point shortly after XSL is finalized and FO-based
software is widely available.
So much for semantically-enriched search engines...

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