W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-webont-wg@w3.org > February 2003

Re: possible changes to abstract syntax and direct semantics to support annotations and fix problem with imports

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 10:12:33 -0600
Message-Id: <p05111b34ba6ecb6150ee@[]>
To: www-webont-wg@w3.org
Cc: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>

I do not feel that special annotation properties are either necessary 
or desirable. The only case for them seems to be Peter's being 
worried that allowing annotations to be regular assertions might in 
some unspecified way cause problems of some unspecified nature. I do 
not believe that there are any such problems.

I suggest that

(1) until some actual problems have at least been identified and 
described, and it has been shown that they cannot be handled by the 
existing approach based on RDF assertions or by XML annotations, that 
this line of development not be pursued by the WG at this time 
(particularly in view of the time pressure the WG is under);

Failing that, then I would strongly insist on the following two points:

(2) that the published documentation state clearly that there is no 
actual known reason for the presence of this machinery in the spec 
(or, if someone feels there is such a reason, that the reason be 
spelled out clearly and objectively, if possible with a short example)
(3) that this extra machinery of annotation properties NOT be 
included as part of the specification of OWL Full, ie that it be an 
additional syntactic and semantic complication restricted to the 
OWL-DL spec.  In this way, OWL Full can retain its relatively simple 
role as a straightforward semantic extension of RDF.

Perhaps I should come clean, by the way. I have long since seen the 
development of OWL as moving vigorously into a black hole. The 
syntactic complexities, arbitrary and awkward restrictions and 
semantic intricacies of description logics have made the OWL-DL spec 
unworkable. The only part of the spec that I wish to protect is the 
relatively simple and unfettered OWL-Full syntax, which is a 
'natural' extension of RDF and the common logic class of languages; 
and the aspect of it that I most want to protect is its conceptual 
and syntactic simplicity. Adding an unnecessary, unmotivated and 
hard-to-explain feature to perform a function which is already 
performed by a simple, well-understood device is exactly the kind of 
creeping-featurism which, in my view, we need to protect OWL-Full 


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Received on Tuesday, 11 February 2003 13:52:02 UTC

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