Thursday, November 03, 2005

Take It To The People

If you are keeping up with the Massachusetts decision to require OpenDoc, you possibly know that a bill has been filed to require any such technical standard to be approved by a four member panel appointed by the Commonwealth Senate to contravene this decision. The politics of special interests over the interests of the people of the Commonwealth are clear.

The decision to adopt OpenDoc was based on thorough research into open formats by people who are experts in this field: The State IT staff.

I am extremely impressed that IT professionals are stepping up to the challenge. The profound possibilities and dangers of the World Wide Web aren't fully understood, and because they evolve with the technology, we will never have such assured understanding. IT professionals get this. Others only see business potential and as a result, the Web continues to be fielded witlessly by some, greedily by others, wisely by a few.

The best minds I know in the business all agree that regardless of what transpires in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the future for large interoperable and cross-referenced systems is open formats just as the past has been for HTML, SVG, X3D and the SGML application languages that preceded XML. Markup professionals for the most part understand why: cost control and preserving the rights of individual expression. This is not a trivial issue nor one that can be neglected by the States and even the Federal government.

To the Patriots in Massachusetts: take it to the people. Make sure the Senators who are sponsoring the bill in question are fully engaged by the press, both in the Commonwealth and world wide. Be there to answer and be there to explain to the people what they are losing when such bills become law.

And point to the Senators.

Power corrupts. The only cure is consequences. Take it to the people. One lesson learned on the Internet is that crowds are not always right, but they are often wise.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Rewritten for parsability. Thanks Norm.


Issues of legal expression surround the relationship of vested authority to a namespace. Ownership rights obtain to the authority over changes to the definition of the namespace and the semantics by which it is enabled.

XML moves the data but XML is a syntax for formats. The legal rights of expectation obtain to compliance to the XML 1.0 and 1.1 specifications but not semantics. Format rights are negotiable, but experience says closing these limits their growth if closing them means

1. Syntax changes of labeled values and structures can only be made by the owner

2. Extensions by relationship to semantic definitions cannot be made by the user of the format.

The ecosystem favors open formats. Open formats that evolve in collaboration with the environment faithfully track the requirements of the environment. That closed formats exist in the ecosystem is undeniable and is also the right of the owner, but that systems which support public work do not support open formats, the closed format acts to remove rights of ownership from the public. Authorities who close formats obtain not just the rights of the syntax, but of the expression because they own all rights to the implementation that enables it, that is, the semantics.

The decision in Massachusetts to impose open formats asserts the right of the owners of expression, the content, in the case, the people of the Commonwealth. The decision is an assertion of State sovereignty over the means and manner of fulfilling the obligation of the State under law to best fulfill the sacred contract between those who have such authority and those whom they serve, in whose authority rights through governance obtain, to provide the most ownership, therefore, the most freedom to the people.

Massachusetts is to be saluted for once again, showing the leadership born in the Boston streets, demonstrating by example that most essential American trait, Yankee ingenuity and just a touch of revolution. They drink sassafrass and dump the King's tea in the river rather than pay a Stamp Tax.

We call them Patriots.


It is our country, and in my corner and yours, a value shared as Americans is our patriotism. Patriots know when the people are the most free, they are the happiest, the most fruitful, and the most tolerant. Thereby, they obtain the most love, for the duty of patriotism is not love of country, but of making a country safe for love of country.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Outing the White House Spinmeisters

Watching the Tim Russert round table on NBC this morning, one would conclude that the only wrong done was failing to keep good notes of conversations.

Raise your hands: how many of you know that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent?

All of you. Enuff said.

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