· Naughties
· · 2003
· · · September
· · · · 15 (2 entries)

Spaghetti Doesn’t Want to be Free · A brilliant note from Rick Jelliffe of Topologi, on the subject of W3C XML Schemas, from which I excerpt: Any sufficiently monolithic technology is indistinguishable from spaghetti. Once a large technology is made from sufficiently intertwined parts, there is no way to order an exposition of it such that strongly-connected ideas are always close together. Spaghetti doesn't want to be free. (At least, "no way" to order the exposition with HTML-style pages: maybe WXS needs something more like Nelson's transclusion, where you can pull in fragments (without losing their context) and embed them into running text, without the maintenance penalty of duplicated sections.) Indeed, I think that is a forgotten rationale for XML over SGML: dumbing down an intertwined technology so that it could have a spec straightforward-enough that people could conveniently read it.
Software Patents from the Inside · There has been much lamentation and gnashing of teeth in recent times about the evils of software patents. There is wild controversy about whether the whole idea is fatally flawed—for example, Dave Winer has argued that software patents are bad economics and (in the U.S. context) constitutionally unsound. Further, there is a widely-held belief that the US PTO has been too uncritical, and insufficiently attuned to prior art, in issuing such patents. Here’s a confession: I currently have two software patents in the US PTO pipeline, and did some work on them last week. Herewith some narrative of what the process is like from the inside, with commentary on the broader issues ...
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