[sc34wg3] Re: Backwards Compatability WAS: Public Interest and ISO WAS: [topicmapmail] <mergeMap> questions

Kal Ahmed sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Thu, 18 Oct 2001 18:21:53 +0100

At 10:09 18/10/2001 -0700, Sam Hunting wrote:
>[kal ahmed]
> > 2)... it is not fair to downplay the role of
> > implementations in the success of topic maps or to somehow suggest
> > that implementations are not "in the public interest". Indeed, in my
> > own research for my paper for XML 2001 a large proportion of the
> > people I talked to felt that the lack of commercial tools was a major
> > hurdle in getting topic maps adopted and accepted.
>My position on this is (I hope) a little more nuanced. Obviously,
>having implementations is in the public interest (assuming the absence
>of various unlikely scenarios that would make something indeed worse
>than nothing). Having topic maps that interoperate across
>implementations is ITPI. Fixing broken aspects of the spec(s) or the
>paradigm(s) is ITPI. Having a spec percieved as stable is IPTI. Making
>sure the expressed requirements of users are attended to is ITPI.
>Having public domain or free tools is IPTI. Having profitable ITPI
>toolmakers is IPTI. Having IPTI consultants and authors is important.
>And so on and so on. All of these seem to me to unexceptional examples
>of things that are In The Public Interest.
>(I guess the operational definition of "public interest" in all my
>examples is that they make the topic map "pie" larger. None of them
>imply a zero sum game.)

This begs the follwoing question: What do you consider the proposal for 
multiple association scopes to be ? Is it "fixing broken aspects of the 
spec(s) or paradigms" ? Because I'm not convinced (yet) that it is.

>The difficulty comes in actual cases, where all the interests are in
>play --I don't see any alternative to balancing issues case by case.
>Nor do I see any alternative to some public interest test for helping
>to strike the balance. I mean, if ALL that we do in these threads is
>wear signs that say "My naked self interest shall prevail", why waste
>the time? We can't have a conversation with no give and take.

And did I suggest that we couldn't / shouldn't ? All I'm saying is that 
attempting to finesse the discussion by claiming that a particular point of 
view is ITPI, is not a way forwards.

>I like what Patrick says on backward compatibility very much. He
>    Existing implementations should inform the process of formulating a
>    public standard, not define its limits. Prior font standards (and
>    implementations) at least defined failing strategies for the
>    Unicode/10646 standard.
>Can you agree with this?


Sorry to shout, but I feel like we are making like we are still in 
development mode. Yeah, sure, if we want to start work on XTM 2.0 then 
working with 1.0  as a fail-over could be a valid starting point, but we 
are not. We have XTM 1.0 - some of us like it, few of us like all of it. So 
what. Lets get on with defining models that work with XTM 1.0 that enable 
us to develop TMCL 1.0 and TMQL 1.0. Lets not revisit basic model issues. I 
have already pointed out that XTM 1.0 *does* make a statement about how 
many scopes a role in an association may take. And implementors have 
dutifully coded implementations that support that number of scopes. Moving 
the goal posts now can, in my opinion, only hurt topic maps.