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Subject: Re: [ebxml-dev] Happy birthday, XML!

| And on the occasion of XML's recent 5th birthday, the following
| quote is quite apropos to ebXML and other efforts (UBL, OAGIS,
| etc):

If you're going to quote me, I'll thank you to quote all relevant
parts of what I said.  Below is the text that actually appeared on



The five years since XML was released have seen XML become the
lingua franca of the Web. But this universal embrace has not
always been accompanied by a clear understanding of what XML can
and cannot do.

What XML cannot do is to magically solve the problem of data
interoperability. XML just provides a framework within which
interested groups can work out agreements about the vocabularies
and data structures to be used in a given domain. The widespread
adoption of XML has created a wonderful infrastructure of
standardized tools and products to support the creation and
implementation of such agreements, but deep down, the job of
semantic definition requires the same grinding committee work that
standards groups have been engaged in for more than a century.

On the other hand, there is relatively little awareness of one big
thing that XML can do: It can play an essential role in freeing
its users from the big-vendor hegemony that has ruled the computer
industry for the last 50 years. The ability of user communities to
develop their own data formats is a powerful force for freedom
from vendor control.

Consider electronic commerce. Bridging the gap between rich and
poor economies is a global imperative. Businesses of all sizes
must be brought into the EDI framework currently occupied by the
Fortune 500. Doing this economically will require royalty-free
data standardization and inexpensive software as well as vendor
support. A combination of XML-based standards and technologies is
now converging to accomplish this goal. The ebXML standards
provide a free, coherent, easily implementable infrastructure for
trade that maps to existing EDI systems; UBL provides standard
business messages; Gnome, Linux and Java provide a free,
vendor-neutral computing platform; open-source products such as
ebxmlrr and OpenOffice provide free registries and office
productivity tools; style sheets and open-source page formatters
allow the large-scale output of printed business documents; and
commercial products like the Sun ONE Secure Trading Agent are
coming online to provide vendor support for trading partner
agreements and secure messaging over the free Internet. The
convergence of these elements will enable the entry into
electronic commerce of most of the world's businesses. I'm proud
that Sun Microsystems continues to play a leading role in this
movement--a role that it adopted when it organized and led the
creation of XML itself.

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