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From COFFMAN Steven <>
Subject RE: Is Cocoon going to be harmful for XML?
Date Wed, 10 May 2000 18:02:55 GMT
I'm not so sure about the web being immune to abuse.

Northern Light is a search engine that requires a subscription to use it
("Categorizing the web into blue custom search folders").

XML has the potential to insure that every search will yield exactly what
you want. If Cocoon websites expose the XML source to only "trusted"
companies like Northern Light, and all of them adopt pay-for-search or
subscription policies, you're halfway to Stefano's nightmare.

The rest of it was entirely plausible, but used words which I avoid like
"scalability saturation". Anyway, skip to the solution which is widely
accessible RDF-crawling search engines. Hopefully IBM alphaworks will save
us with another cool project from far left field. We could talk to the
Google folks. They seem like innovative people.
-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Washeim []
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2000 1:23 PM
Subject: Re: Is Cocoon going to be harmful for XML?

on 10/5/00 4:46 pm, Stefano Mazzocchi at wrote:


> It might not happen soon, but I don't want to feel guilty in ten years
> from now if the web created isles of knowledge and left individuals out
> because of we not providing them the tools to survive the technical
> challenge.

Firstly, thanks very much for showing the concern in the first place.

A very quick retort.

Currently and in the forseeable future (eg. the next 50 years) unless you
maintain that a monopoly on content could include, say, the free books of
the Gutenberg project, I don't see what you mean by 'islands of knowledge'.
In fact, I count on their being 'islands of knowledge'.

I don't care about, I don't care about the vast majority of
commercial content providers. Neither should you :)

I care about the discrete efforts of distributed communities (scientists,
authors, fanatics) to share information. The means whereby they do so will
always be disparate. In fact, even primitive. The etexts from the gutenberg
project are, after all, in ascii.

As you've pointed out, protocol level control or the intervention of a world
government is unlikely. So, what do we have to fear from yet another medium
and I stress medium?

We have much more to fear of the relatively small amount of competition in,
say, the streaming media domain. There you have, basically, Apple and Real
Networks being the only game in town. Of course, there is some hope there in
so far as Apple is trying to maintain the facade that Quicktime (file
format, that is) is 'open'. A standard (MPEG4) even. But we know that that's
a ploy.

Finally, I still think the greatest hazard facing us is the relative apathy
and ignorance of 'joe consumer'. As long as people are loathe to take
responsibility for, say, constituting reasonable government (less than 40 %
of americans vote!) I find it hard to believe that we have anyone to blame
but, well, each and every one of us :)

On the other hand, if we continue to try to introduce what are, effectively,
revolutions in the forms of commerce that obtain in the world, I think
cocoon will be a boon not once, but twice. Namely, better engineering AND on
democratic and open principles. Kind of like the enlightenment promise of
knowledge itself...

Anyway, thanks for caring enough to question the effects of your
engineering. For my part, I think you're doing the community a great service
and wish I could do more to repay you...

Mark (Poetaster) Washeim

'On the linen wrappings of certain mummified remains
found near the Etrurian coast are invaluable writings
that await translation.

Quem colorem habet sapientia?'

Evan S. Connell


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