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

Murray Altheim sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Mon, 22 Oct 2001 03:31:56 -0700

Sam Hunting wrote:
> > * Sam Hunting
> > |
> > | OK. I can agree that issues with XTM shouldn't be raised for
> > | frivolous reasons.
> >
> > There's a world of difference between issues and changes. Anyone
> > should feel free to raise issues at any time. It's the adoption of
> > changes that is controversial.
> 1. My reading of Murray's posting -- that is, the posting to which the
> material you excerpt responds -- is that he (unlike, apparently, you)
> was concerned with raising issues.


Now it seems like you're misrepresenting me. I have not in any way 
tried to squelch discussion or the raising of issues. I hope we don't
need to revisit issues of who gets to preside over the public interest,

I thought I'd been quite clear on this, which is to essentially agree
with Lars Marius' concerns, that is, to reiterate, that those who now 
have the power to make changes to the XTM or ISO specifications weigh 
*very* carefully the difference between making an essential change (that
is not merely a philosophical difference of opinion, when personal feelings
are peeled away to expose the real technical rationale) and what is an 
actual *requirement* for the topic map model to work, and then what such 
changes might entail in terms of damage to the nascent vendor and user 
community, ie., how much this will cost in terms of changes to software,
documentation, and most importantly, confidence in the stability of the
specification. I'm mostly concerned with changes to the XTM specification
since that is the spec that by far (AFAIK) the largest number of vendors 
and others 
(myself included) are basing their work upon.

> [lars]
> > We have a specification (XTM 1.0),
> > that specification is very clear on what should be done in the
> > particular case under discussion, some people propose that a new
> > specification should contradict it.
> 1. The "we" we are concerned with on this list is ISO. I take it that
> you plan to propose to have ISO adopt the text of XTM 1.0 as is?

You might check where this message has been crossposted. I don't know
that it even originated with SC34 (as I'm not on that list and have
been following the discussion).

I suppose to counter your question, Sam, would you propose that changes
be made to the XTM specification? Which changes? For what reason?
> 2. At least one reader disagrees with you (not me ;-) so if you go by
> the expressed view of users, the text can't be *very* clear, eh?

Come now, Sam. What are you arguing about? What are you defending? And
why? Regardless of whether Annex F is informative or not (a kinda cheap
shot, IMO), the text of the XTM 1.0 Specification is quite clear in this
regard, and you as well as anyone know what both the spec says and the
intent of the authors/editors were, you being one of them. The text and 
the DTD of the current XTM Specification and the December draft we toiled
together on are the same here, so I can't imagine where your (or anyone
else's) confusion might arise. Both the XTM DTD (line 164) and ISO 13250
DTD (lines 294-300 of my copy, pardon any errors in transcription) have
only one scope on an association. You'd have to put on some pretty blurry
glasses to see this differently.
I think it important to be clear about the requirements going into 
ISO's discussions, since this will have serious consequences for the 
rest of us. Like Lars Marius, I advocate that ISO publish a set of 
requirements as to what changes they believe they have the right and 
duty to make, which parts of the XTM specification are under 
consideration for change and which parts are considered solid. This
should be made available publicly, i.e., the "fair warning" mentioned

And to repeat, I have never advocated *not having* discussions, and 
I'm surprised that you would suggest this of me. You of all people 
should know how much I welcome discussion. Of course, late nights
in Montreal are preferred...


Murray Altheim                         <mailto:murray.altheim&#x40;sun.com>
XML Technology Center, Java and XML Software
Sun Microsystems, Inc., MS MPK17-102, 1601 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025

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