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Subject: Re: [tm-pubsubj] Declare victory and retire? RE: [topicmapmail] PSI repository

* Bernard Vatant
| - PubSubj TC has been very very long (almost 2 years now) to deliver
| something that seemed simple to begin with, and that in its initial
| charter was due more than one year ago (2002-Q1). 

Well, that is your opinion. It never did seem simple to me, and I am
quite pleased with what we have done so far, though I agree that we
have not made as much progress as I would have wished us to. I think
the problem is largely that we have had too little resources for work
on this outside the F2F meetings.

| - The very slowness of the process, and/or the lack of bandwidth of
| participants, and/or the lack of clarity or consensus on what this
| TC really wants to achieve, and/or the lack of investment in this
| process of real users, all those factors have been slowly leading
| the TC activity, over the past six months, to some kind of dormant
| stage.

Agreed, and I think member bandwidth is the primary problem.

| The pile of core issues, in fact the very purpose of this TC :
| bringing practical solutions for PSI widespread adoption in the
| industry, remains in standby. 

Well, that's hardly surprising. How could we expect this to be adopted
before the technology is ready? Before deliverable 2 is in place
there's nothing to show people what they are supposed to do.

| PubSubj TC is not pushing for anything right now, it's sort of
| stunned by the complexity of the issues it has encountered, and does
| not seem to gather the energy to tackle them and move forward. This
| is obvious from the lack of reactivity and investment of everyone
| lately in this TC.

I very strongly disagree. I feel we have done quite well in tackling
the complexities, and that the main thing remaining now is to work out
the consequences of what we've agreed on so far and to formulate a
document (deliverable 2) that describes the result. The only problem
is finding the time to do it, really.
| My personal hunch right now is that mainstream technologies will be
| tomorrow, and that means *pretty soon*, the Semantic Web package
| ontologies-OWL-RDF. I'm more and more convinced OWL objects
| (classes, individuals and properties) can achieve most of the tasks
| PSIs were intended to achieve for semantic interoperability, with
| the advantage of clean semantics.

Uh, what?!? Bernard, are you absolutely sure that you are not here
confusing the identification of subjects with making assertions about
those subjects? OWL does not do anything about the first; it is all
about the second. In other words: OWL and pubsubj are orthogonal.

Frankly, what you write here reminds me of the early story in
ComputerWorld that discussed whether XML or Java would win. Obviously,
the whole thing was a non-issue.

Pubsubj works equally well for RDF and topic maps. You can use
published subjects with OWL. So what is the problem?

| I'm pretty well convinced that I will not build consensus in this TC
| around that viewpoint, and I have no intention either to fight about
| it, or to endorse as TC chair options that I would not be deeply
| convinced to be right.

That's fair enough.
| The practical consequences of all of the above is that the wisest
| thing to do now IMO woul be (quoting Sam Hunting after the painful
| delivery of XTM 1.0) to "declare victory and retire".

In my opinion that would be the same as declaring defeat and
retiring. You may do that if you wish, but I am not interested in the
| That means practically
| - Wrap up Deliverable 1 (why this is not done yet, I wonder)

Good question. It would be very useful if you could post a summary of
its current status so that we can finish this job.

| - Wrap up the TC, explaining publicly why (impossibility to meet its
| charter, for such and such reasons).

Personally, I am very strongly against that. If you want to resign as
chair that's up to you, but if you do my wish would be to find a new
chair and carry on.

| - Let publishers interpret Deliverable 1 at will, and see what
| survives.

Nothing would survive. Deliverable 1 is not enough to make this
| If the majority decides otherwise and wants to move forward
| altogether, I will retire and let someone else endorsing the
| responsibility for it. This is not an easy position, but I have
| engaged way too much time and energy in the past two years for this
| TC, for quite a poor result indeed.

I'm not pleased with our progress either, but I believe the solution
is simply for us to do better in the coming months.

Lars Marius Garshol, Ontopian         <URL: http://www.ontopia.net >
GSM: +47 98 21 55 50                  <URL: http://www.garshol.priv.no >

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