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From Mark Washeim <>
Subject Re: Is Cocoon going to be harmful for XML?
Date Wed, 10 May 2000 18:21:40 GMT
on 10/5/00 8:02 pm, COFFMAN Steven at wrote:

> I'm not so sure about the web being immune to abuse.

Of course, not. That wasn't my point. My point was that the origins of abuse
are not necessarily corporate (ie. citizens of democracies are responsible
for bad government, not government itself). Also, I don't know of any of the
content providers I count on who would enter into 'pay per view' type of
arrangements for their content. Those who would are of very little interest
to me. Now, those who want to watch Mike Tyson fight will ALWAYS find they
have to go through 'chanels'.

> 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.

Where I see this search / information problem really coming to the for is in
the domain of 'news'. However, there, it's not a technology problem at all.
It's simply a problem that very few (eg. the wire services, Rupert Murdoch
:) ) control the original content. Whether or not it's freely accessed is
actually of little concern. It's still 'manipulated'. Well, ok, if you agree
with Chomsky, et. al., as I do.

In the main, my point was that it's not so much a problem of the medium or
the technology. Rather, it's a problem of who intends what information to be
used to what ends. That problem will remain in any regimen. No technological
solution can address this. Only a social / 'legal' / cultural 'solution' can
address this. And then, I suggested that open source is part of the
social/cultural solution now bearing that fruit....


> 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.
> -Steve
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Washeim []
> Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2000 1:23 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Is Cocoon going to be harmful for XML?
> on 10/5/00 4:46 pm, Stefano Mazzocchi at wrote:
> <SNIP>
>> 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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