Re: [ontolog-forum] How de facto standards are created

On 6/17/13 11:52 PM, John F Sowa wrote:
> Melvin, John, and Kingsley,
> The point I wanted to make is the importance of de facto standards as
> a basis for official standards.  A huge number of official standards
> that ignored the de facto standards have been ignored by developers.
> I'd also like to cite a "Law of Standards", which I first enunciated
> in a note to the SRKB list (Shared Reusable Knowledge Bases) in 1991:
>   From
>> Whenever a major organization develops a new system as an official
>> standard for X, the primary result is the widespread adoption of some
>> simpler system as a de facto standard for X.
> Prediction:  According to the Law of Standards, I predict that the
> Semantic Web notations will be replaced by de facto standards based
> on much simpler pre-existing languages:
>    1. OWL will be replaced by a de facto standard based on Aristotle's
>       syllogisms.  The majority of published OWL ontologies do not use
>       any features that go beyond Aristotle.  Examples:  Good Relations,
>       BFO, and many others.  Those syllogisms have been expressed in
>       controlled natural languages for over two millennia, and they will
>       continue to be expressed in CNLs.
>    2. SPARQL and SQL will be replaced by de facto standards based on
>       a typed version of Datalog, which can also be mapped to and from
>       simple CNL sentences.  The types will be specified by sentences
>       of the CNL used in point #1.
>    3. For more expressive power beyond #1 and #2, typed Datalog can be
>       extended to a full Horn-clause logic-programming language.  The
>       usual notations for LP languages can be used by people who know
>       them, but the statements could also be translated to CNLs.
>    4. Various diagrams (UML and others) can be used to supplement the
>       controlled NLs for points #1, #2, and #3.  Those diagrams are
>       familiar for most programmers, and the learning curve for adding
>       CNLs to supplement the diagrams is smooth and simple.
> Some comments on your comments:
> MC
>> I think you mean Mosiac, rather than Mozilla.
> Yes, I forgot Mosaic.  Mozilla was designed by the founders of Netscape
> (many of whom were also the ones who implemented Mosaic).  But they did
> a complete rewrite of the code base for Mozilla.
> MC
>> There is an element of luck involved too.  Gopher was ahead of
>> the WWW, until the U of Minnesota made a licensing mistake.
> Luck is indeed important.  Some people (such as Steve Jobs) make
> their own luck and their own mistakes.  Apple developed Hypercard
> in the 1980s, but they kept it proprietary.  Tim Berners-Lee used
> Hypercard, and it gave him the inspiration for http.
> Another licensing mistake:  Simula-67 was the first object-oriented
> language (in 1967).  It was (and still is) and excellent language,
> but the developers wanted to charge $20,000 for it.  Philippe Kahn
> sold Turbo Pascal for $99, and he got enough orders to fund Borland
> without seeking outside investors.
> JB
>> I still consider Silversmith the first web (lowercase "w") browser.
>> The term "web" existed before WWW...
> Those are interesting points.  Thanks for the history.
> JB
>> how do we identify and develop the next killer app? It is easy to
>> identify the killer apps after they have major gross revenues.
> Good question.  One reason why Tim B-L's version succeeded is that
> CERN was not trying to sell a product.  Their goal was very modest:
> enable physicists to share research papers more rapidly.  Academics
> from other fields adopted it very quickly.  MOSAIC was also free
> because it was funded by the US gov't as free software.
> In general, I would say that every "killer app" started as a solution
> to a problem that somebody needed to solve.  CERN recognized the problem
> and they asked Tim to solve it.  Then Tim used ideas from a system
> (Hypercard) that many people had found useful for related problems.
> Steve Jobs was a good designer because he understood his users.
> KI
>> Linked Data has created a killer application for the Web in its ability
>> to enable Web-scale structured data representation, publication,
>> and publication....
>> Google's Guha and Dan Brickley (no strangers to RDF) have also added
>> [4] to this powerful killer app. cocktail comprised of
>> structured data and shared vocabularies...
>> Google is encouraging its developers to take advantage of JSON-LD...
> Yes, but.  This is another confirmation of the Law of Standards.
> An official standard (the W3C spec's for SW tools) led to de facto
> standards based on simpler, pre-existing technology:  Microdata,
> RDFa, and JSON can be used with HTML instead of XML, and
> uses a very simple hierarchy instead of OWL.
> As I've said, OWL hits a "sour spot" in knowledge representation:
> too complex to be easy to learn, too limited to be useful for
> implementing an application, and too incompatible to be used
> with mainstream IT and databases.
> John
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Again, I've cc'd in the lod mailing list due to the relevance of this 
thread to other ongoing debates at the current time.

Anyway, I agree with most of your analysis, but I do think OWL is being 
treated a little unkindly. I do believe a little semantics can go a long 
way re. usefulness :-)



Kingsley Idehen	
Founder & CEO
OpenLink Software
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Received on Tuesday, 18 June 2013 13:09:16 UTC