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Re: (SeWeb) KAON - KArlsruhe ONtology and Semantic Web Infrastructure

From: John F. Sowa <sowa@bestweb.net>
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2002 15:28:39 -0400
Message-ID: <3DA9C967.2060402@bestweb.net>
To: Atanas Kiryakov <Atanas.Kiryakov@sirma.bg>
Cc: Alexander Maedche <Maedche@fzi.de>, www-rdf-logic@w3.org, www-rdf-interest@w3.org, www-webont-wg@w3.org, seweb-list@cs.vu.nl, kaw@swi.psy.uva.nl

Dear Naso,

People have complained about on-going discussions to these
mailing lists, but to avoid misunderstanding, I have to
clarify my point:

 > I guess you have number of complaints about each one of the distinct
 > brands of cars or instant messengers. And probably it could be the
 > case that if their manufacturers would have joined forces to develop
 > a single excellent car ...

First, I wasn't complaining.  I was asking a question because in some
cases, there are good reasons for collaborating, and in other cases,
there are good reasons for competing.

For instant messaging, there is no good reason for having different
formats, and many good reasons for using a common format (just as
everyone on the Internet has agreed to use TCP/IP).  For designing
cars, however, there are many good reasons for having competing
designs to explore all the possible variations.

 > Seriously, letting all the community to develop a single tool with
 > no alternative is quite a strange idea!

We aren't talking about a single tool, but about fragmented efforts to
design about a dozen different tools that are intended to accomplish
similar goals.  Furthermore, each tool has only a small number of
people working on it, and very few people are building on the work
that other people have contributed to the community.

I was asking a very serious question:  Have the people who decided
to work on their own looked at the previous efforts before starting?
Or are they just "reinventing the wheel" without being aware of or
by deliberating ignoring what was previously available?

 > So, if you ask for interoperability standards and interfaces, I
 > will provide as much support as I can. But "the one and only best
 > tool for everybody to use" ... my country was under communism
 > for half century and I am getting nightmares from such centralized
 > ideas.

I agree with you that forced coercion to a centralized authority is
bad (and that is why I am very suspicious of efforts to enforce a
single standard for ontology).  What I am recommending is something
like the approach taken in science:

  1. Every scientist is free to pursue his or her own intuitions
     about the best direction for further research.

  2. But the most significant scientific developments are made
     by researchers who make informed decisions about which ideas
     to modify and which ideas to build on.

My original question was simply asking whether the new system
was based on informed decisions or on a lack of information
about the other approaches.

John Sowa
Received on Sunday, 13 October 2002 15:32:45 GMT

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