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Re: Have you seen this story?

From: Aldo Bucchi <aldo.bucchi@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2009 13:01:11 -0400
Message-ID: <7a4ebe1d0904091001m27fd6845xd591999017cd5f34@mail.gmail.com>
To: Tom Heath <tom.heath@talis.com>
Cc: Daniel Schwabe <dschwabe@inf.puc-rio.br>, public-lod@w3.org
Hi guys,

I didn't find that post even challenging ( and as some of you might
know I really like to argue ), because it makes a fundamental mistake
and all drips from there:

Do the manufacturers of, say, a new form of carbon nanotubes, use it
as material for their own tools?

Well, the answer is: not necessarily (and most probably, not at all).
At least not in its raw form. It needs processing, it might be more
expensive and the tools probably won't make the job better than the
old ones.
But the material is still better than alluminium, but tools are
complex and require other skills that these developers need not
necessarily have. It needs to take its place on the low level of a
complex industry and value will eventually flourish.

This is not different than Linked Data in this context.
So, why can someone come to such blunt observation by relating creator
dogfooding to the ultimate value of the technology?

One could argue that this is closely related to the semantic "curse".

The answer appears when you try to answer this simple question:
* How is this material better?

Which inevitably leads you, at least, to:
* What do these materials have in common?
* What specific qualities of value, present in both, are being improved?

We only recently did that for Linked Data!
So, the fundamental and shared flaw here has been to attribute a
"magical", one-of-a-kind nature to something instead of characterizing
it in terms of the previously existing alternatives, which results in
confusion and... well, what do you expect if we start from there ;)

He might be right that there were mistakes, but the real flaws were
related to non-specific communication from the SW community ( there
was not clear definition of the "what is this", "what does it compare
to" and "why its better" ) and then a lack of deep analysis on part of
the writer, who got stuck in his myopia and is calling carbon nanotube
developers "snake oil" salesmen because they don't use the material in
their labs.

However, I do believe in dogfooding and I do it mostly for personal
purposes. But one thing is to support it, another to demand it.

OTOH. I like to think that these weren't mistakes. I mean, that the
time this project took to lift off due to poor communicational
strategies was not in vain.
It would have been awfully hard and controversial to explain Linked
Data in terms of distributed database technology back in the days.
While it would have been certainly understood by a much larger
audience, in terms of its development it probably would have entered a
state of enthropy and evolved into several JSR kind of process, not to
mention strategic oppositions from industry leaders and the inevitable
 competition ( which, when it comes to standardization processes, is
not usually welcome ).

In more concrete terms. We didn't give M$ a chance to create "RDF-MS
Edition" by staying off the radar.
( I hope so )

Semantic was a great codename, but for the wrong reasons!


On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 10:00 AM, Tom Heath <tom.heath@talis.com> wrote:
> Hi Daniel,
> 2009/4/9 Daniel Schwabe <dschwabe@inf.puc-rio.br>:
>> Dear all,
>> this may be old stuff, but I was surprised to read
>> http://www.intelligententerprise.com/blog/archives/2009/02/semantic_web_sn.html...
> Me too!
>> He does have some points...
> In 99% of cases with respect to me he doesn't ;)
> As I say in my response on his blog (copied into that post of mine
> that Juan refers to) I agree that we, the Semantic Web community, have
> not always done as much as we could in the dog food department, but
> that has been changing rapidly since 2006 and we should keep
> up/increase the pace.
> I won't comment on that blog post any further here; it's already
> sapped too many hours of my life :)
> Cheers,
> Tom.
> --
> Dr Tom Heath
> Researcher
> Platform Division
> Talis Information Ltd
> T: 0870 400 5000
> W: http://www.talis.com/

Aldo Bucchi
Office: +56 2 795 4532
Mobile:+56 9 7623 8653

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Received on Thursday, 9 April 2009 17:01:52 UTC

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