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Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Learning Groove

John Maloney wrote:    (01)

> MA -
> Thanks for your thoughtful and well-conceived reply.    (02)

The "En Garde" before the "Prise de Fer"?    (03)

> It is clear that some fringe populations have an ax to grind regarding
> *whatever* happens to be the current edition of the pervasive computing and
> communications architectures and communications offerings.    (04)

Since we haven't met (at least to my knowledge), I'm going to assume
that what I am perceiving as a rather obnoxious tendency to characterize
those you disagree with as either having "disappointing and stubborn"
views, or as members of a "fringe populations" with axes to grind, is
merely your normal way of expressing yourself.    (05)

If there's one thing I've heard *consistently* for at least the last
decade in the computing industry (and I've worked at NASA, Spyglass,
Sun Microsystems, and a major university) is that most everyone uses
Windows *begrudgingly* as the only alternative due to networking
effects, a killing off of alternatives, collusion with large hardware
and network vendors, etc.  I've supported MS Windows in the past, as
well as used it. It's unreliable, crashes often, and while it enjoys
the greatest support of the software industry (for the same reasons
claimed by Groove's publishers), if there were a viable alternative
a *lot* of people would use it. The perennial instability, constantly
changing and incompatible file formats, the inability to share with
others, all are things we'd like to dump.    (06)

But because of proprietary document lock-in, systems lock-in,
marketing muscle, and plain inertia, as well as the fear many small
companies have of competing with MS, those alternatives don't really
exist, except for those either brave, foolhardy, or technically
competent people who are willing to try.  Apple has distinguished
their products and marketed them lately to a very different audience
than Microsoft, and only thus have maintained their niche.    (07)

> IBM, MaBell, Cisco, MS, etc. all answer to the greater good, or     (08)

> die, sooner or later.    (09)

If only this were true. The petroleum and tobacco companies seem
to be holding on to their profits quite well, even given the latter's
legal forays of late. There's a lot of people who'd love to see them
both answer legally to the damage they've done. Maybe much later.    (010)

> My
> notion is that it is a fruitless effort, particularly when there are bigger
> fish to fry. In particular, alignment of the Human System and Tool System
> around the Capabilities Infrastructure. As Doug said on Monday at Cal, and
> which most of us know already, the social, cultural and political barriers
> are far more difficult to overcome than simple technology concerns like
> operating systems.    (011)

To repeat, what is keeping us in large part from implementing the
Human System and Tool System around the Capabilities Infrastructure
are the things you keep characterizing as "simple." Had there been
real innovation over the past fifteen years rather than a monopoly
we might be quite a bit farther ahead. For example, the general
public were lead to believe that Microsoft "innovated" their IE
browser when in reality they bought it from Spyglass in order to
tackle Netscape in the marketplace. Most of their innovation has
in buying up small companies that did the innovation. That may be
a marketing innovation, but it has hardly assisted the further
development of technology, and has scared off many companies, who
will simply as a matter of strategy not compete with MS. Spyglass
ended up getting out of the browser business entirely because of
that fear (and I can remember sitting in a large hall being given
a presentation about not competing with the 500 ton gorilla, so
this isnt' heresay).    (012)

> Pursuit of a viable Capabilities Infrastructure demands we embrace the laws
> of Moore, Metcalfe and Reed. Therefore, solid innovation strategy targets
> the largest socio-technical populations, and is not too concerned with
> adjunct computing backwaters.    (013)

You really like to dish it out, eh? "Adjunct computing backwaters"?
Gah. It's hard to take you at all seriously if you wish to keep
pretending the diatribe is all on our side of the fence.    (014)

> Thus, instead of shoehorning weak functionality into a thin computing
> environment in the name of interoperability for example, it is far better to
> really tackle the social and cultural issues using all the capacity that is
> available. This is how the future Capabilities Infrastructure is created and
> how to boost Collective IQ.    (015)

Yes, as Jack asked, please enlighten us on what you mean by the
above. You seem to directly contradict the goal of tackling the
social and cultural issues if you have little interest in
interoperability, unless I'm to understand that you share the
sentiments stated on Groove's site of really not caring about
those not using the monopolistic OS, IOW, you really care not
a whit about interoperability.    (016)

> It may seem to you to be as counter-intuitive as Open Systems was to many
> executives, pundits and even academics in the early 80s. If not for the
> courage of a few at HP, OSF, Open Group, Sun, and, yes, MS, etc., we'd still
> be plugging away on 3270s or Vax timeshare.    (017)

I don't think these are contrary or orthogonal, but directly
related. If you don't pay attention to interoperability,
internationalization, accessability, *and* platform independence
of both software and date, then you have no claim on advancing
a Capabilities Infrastructure, except within some cabal of your
own choosing. You exclude the Rest of Us (which of course is
Apple's way of characterizing those who don't buy into the
monopoly).    (018)

> Look, you know very well that copyright, trademark and patent law exists to
> *spur* innovation. 'Proprietariness' is often a necessary evil of the
> innovation lifecycle. Don't resist it, embrace it! The advantages to
> innovation, diffusion and wealth creation are clear. A lot of what you may
> think is 'open' was at one time highly proprietary. Oh, by the way, anything
> that stays proprietary inexorably spirals into oblivion.
> Get it?    (019)

I get it, just don't agree with it. I think the success of Java,
linux and XML, even in the face of a vast marketing muscle and
the inertia of an overwhelming installed base, would seem to
indicate that the real source of innovation and creativity is
not with MS but with open systems developers. That "thin computing
environment" is only growing in popularity. As you say, even
Microsoft will eventually die.    (020)

> Okay, MS has captured the corporate desktop over the last 10 years based on
> a deliberate, highly effective marketing strategy and breathtaking
> execution.    (021)

You forgot to add "monopolistic and predatory practices," to quote
the US Department of Justice.    (022)

> So what? Frankly, the firm has also emancipated and democratized
> computing more than any other company.    (023)

You have the strangest notion of emancipation and democratization
that I've ever heard, only to be spoken by the Converted, I suppose.    (024)

> That's a good thing. Can't say if it
> counterbalances all the bad stuff. Let's leave that to the computing
> historians and their listservs.
> To truly advance the Capabilities Infrastructure it is far more important to
> lead balance efforts, than get hung-up with a fine-grain interpretation the
> current de facto operating environment, for example. Quite simply, Don
> Quixote, it will evolve eventually, too.    (025)

We're not getting hung up, we're trying very hard (as developers
and system implementors) to work around the very real difficulties
imposed by the current de facto operating environment. Yes, it
will evolve, and I will assist in that effort rather than sitting
on my diff waiting for it to happen on its own.    (026)

> Rather, let's focus on the Human/Tool intersection, particularly how the
> tool is -used- in a social context, less how it works in a supporting or
> operating technology context. That's where the real promise is for boosting
> Collective IQ. It is where you'll discover Groove makes a stunning
> breakthrough contribution in the spirit of the Capabilities Infrastructure
> and CODIAK.    (027)

Uh, I just gave up a corporate job at Sun to spend my unpaid time
working on developing open source tools to assist in that Human/Tool
intersection, as practiced by authors, and in how ontologies
developed by authors can be shared (in a social context). The OHS
group is peopled by others with similar goals and practices, indeed
that's essentially what the group is founded upon. You don't to inform
or convince us of that. But you also don't make much headway quoting
Machiavelli and pushing the notion that we should just lie down on
the tracks and let the train of false innovation run over us, ignoring
the "trivialities" that are staring at us in the face as likely one
of the big barriers (which is simply a side effect of the social
contexts that allowed for creation of that monopoly). We need to
tackle both at the same time if we are to make any headway, unless
we simply continue to theorize, talk and do little else. Or choose
to use tools developed by large corporations with multimillion dollar
budgets that have obviously bought into the hegemony of the monopoly.    (028)

> BTW, here's one right back at ya (it's -not- from Bartlett's either...)  --
> "We shape our tools and they in turn shape us."    (029)

 >                                   - Marshal McLuhan    (030)

I seem to remember a scene in Woody Allen's "Manhattan" where
Marshal McLuhan suddenly appears in a movie line to counter a
moviegoer's loud misinterpretation of one of his quotes. I'd
be interested in his opinion on the current state of affairs.    (031)

   "As the births of living creatures, at first, are ill-shapen:
    so are all Innovations, which are the births of time."
                                                   - Francis Bacon    (032)

[if I do this long enough I might get pretty handy at it...]    (033)

Murray    (034)

Murray Altheim                         <mailto:m.altheim @ open.ac.uk>
Knowledge Media Institute
The Open University, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK7 6AA, UK    (035)

      In the evening
      The rice leaves in the garden
      Rustle in the autumn wind
      That blows through my reed hut.  -- Minamoto no Tsunenobu    (036)