BPEL4WS

Looks like we made a press release about merging XLANG with efforts by BEA and IBM. The new name (BPEL4WS) is really horrible; no matter how you pronounce it, it has minimum 5 syllables. But at least it is guaranteed to see some widespread deployment, since it is so close to what Biztalk, WebSphere, and WebLogic are already shipping.

On the other hand, I am trying to figure out the buzz around XHTML 2.0. Who even uses XHTML 1.1? Or transitional? And why on earth do we need XHTML? XML + CSS is superior in practically every respect, and easier. And what incentive do browser vendors have to upgrade, when the functionality is practically the same; especially considering that Mozilla 1.0 still doesn’t support simple XSLT yet.

Today XInclude WG was asking for test cases. This is one development I find pretty cool. It seems like XInclude and XPointer groups did a major overhaul of their specs, and now XInclude is looking like something I wish we had.

Everyone on Slashdot is speculating why Microsoft is not waving around DMCA at XBox hackers. I think they are forgetting that Microsoft is always an lvalue when it comes to litigation. Lawsuits get aimed at Microsoft, not the other way around — that would be a compiler error. Anyway, Microsoft tends to take a principled (as opposed to opportunistic) approch to IP protection, and I’ve never seen anyone from legal here holding up DMCA as a paragon of principled legislation (we have really smart lawyers).

Dijkstra has been GCd. Now is the time that our industry recalls him fondly and considers how he influenced computer science. Hopefully this is evidence of some sort of “back to basics” trend in the industry. It would be a good sign if kids today started paying more attention to the fundamentals; and wasted less energy in pied piper hero worship, socialist software politics, and the whole rest of the mess that rolled into our industry in the early nineties.

Dave is echoing a sentiment that John Robb has been making — he says that Microsoft should spend our stash of $40 billion to reinvigorate the ISV community. I agree that it’s a good idea forMicrosoft to invest in growing the ecosystem, but it seems we’re already doing that.Corel and Groove are high profileexamples of ISVs whohave potential to threaten core Microsoft franchises,but we invested $50 millon in each anyway (with full knowledge that they both will continue to operate independent of Microsoft control). Microsoft is perpetually making direct grants to ISVs, through a variety of different programs. The Covalent announcement of .NET in Apache Server, for example, involved some strategic investment by Microsoftto a company whois not explicitly tied to our bottom line. And those amounts are pretty small compared with the total amount Microsoft has been dumping into the ISV communitythrough indirect channels, such as affiliated incubators or consortia.

And, as I opined last year, I am skeptical that funding (from VCs, Microsoft, or anyone else) is a key limiting factor influencing the amount of software innovation. Right up until 1994 or so, VC funding for software was nearly impossible to get. It was in this austere environment that TCP/IP, SMTP, NNTP, and HTTP were created. This was the genesis of “The Web”. Then, for the next ten years, the market was saturated with “stupid money”. And I argue that innovation stalled during that time period. Certainly the reach of the web expanded, but increasingly the practicioners abandoned fundamentals and chased after politicians,get-rich-quick schemes, and “the next big thing”.

Good ideas don’t need crazy money to grow. Especially good software ideas.

Of course, a bit of money here and there doesn’t hurt, but I personally thinkMicrosoft could be helping things out a whole lot more simply by recognizing and being a cheerleader for the ISVs out there who are doing truly innovative stuff.

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