W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-rules@w3.org > November 2003

Re: Rules WG -- draft charter -- NAF

From: Jack Berkowitz <jack.berkowitz@networkinference.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003 14:30:10 +0000
Message-Id: <0D6BEA2D-16AF-11D8-AB0C-000393DBBFD8@networkinference.com>
Cc: Benjamin Grosof <bgrosof@mit.edu>, phayes@ihmc.us, adrianw@snet.net, www-rdf-rules@w3.org
To: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>


Thanks for the response.  It helps greatly in my understanding.  Just 
to close out the thread:

On the technical side:
> The combined approaches you talk about, and the idea of having the
> XQuery WG address the issues as necessary, are interesting, but I'm
> not sure how they can be realized.  Isn't an XML query fundamentally
> about the document domain, not the problem domain?   Maybe that can be
> bridged somehow.

We are actually seeing very good results using XQuery concepts and 
semantics for pretty complex inferential operations.  We are far from 
complete in that work of course, but will be happy to take it into the 
Query discussions as a possible alternate route or additional data for 
the Consortium to consider (both RDF/OWL and XQuery).

In the competing standards side:

We are betting heavily here at NI that RDF is successful, as is OWL.  
However, the problem is that there exists this notion of "standards 
competition".  As one of the 300+ business members of the W3C, who pays 
for our membership in the organization and happily participates, we are 
really concerned that the recommendations of the consortium are equally 
considered in both technical and business terms.  The fact that the 
cost imposed on people or businesses might be prohibitive for a 
recommendation to be widely adopted should be a very clear point of 
discussion during the establishment of the working groups, and their 
charters.  As a company out selling and generating market momentum in 
the admittedly nascent semantic web space, we are finding ourselves 
having to justify these business tradeoffs daily.

The W3C's recent work on the '906 patent controversy shows that it can 
be really effective in finding and promoting balances around similar 

you wrote:
> In this specific competition, I'm hopeful it's not zero-sum, that we
> can find a way to merge the branches.  In the Semantic Web Activity,
> this goal is broadly tagged "XML Integration".  It's not being pursued
> as fully as I would like.  I think most people either underestimate
> the cost of a second conversion in a few years (along this "bumpy
> road"), or have no hope for a general solution.  I'm hoping the Rules
> Working Group can make a little progress here in the guise of
> developing a nice XML syntax for rules, but maybe that needs to be
> explicit.

You did a very good job describing the goal of "XML Integration".  We 
will be pushing hard for that within the working groups.

Let me be blunt.  The fact that there is a "competition" between 
initiatives within the Consortium scares the heck out of CIOs and 
Product Architects alike.    And in discussions with these people, who 
are our customers and the potential users of all of the semantic web 
technologies, its clear that its having a negative effect on their 
desire to even get behind the wheel of the car (to use your analogy).  
Even more disappointing, its having a negative effect on those that are 
already members to participate and voice their real needs and 
requirements -- i.e., they are just not energized to speak up, and are 
taking their time and resources into other venues.

In summary:

Rather than fracturing the semantic web initiatives and working groups 
into sub-teams or elements that will be prone to "competition", it 
would benefit the industry much more to keep them coherent and robust 
in their participation.  It might be a bit more difficult to get a 
larger group to agree on some specifics, but the alternate is becoming 
clear -- when they don't agree, they just invent another variation.  If 
we want people to use this stuff, the path needs to be laid out clearly 
for them --

Best regards, and again thanks for your response.

Received on Friday, 14 November 2003 09:30:15 UTC

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