Welcome, and some comments (was RE: [rdfweb-dev] hey)

Edd Dumbill edd at usefulinc.com
Mon Jun 30 22:14:39 UTC 2003

(I've selected only certain parts of this mail to reply to, in the
interests of full context, readers can find the previous message
archived here:

On Mon, 2003-06-30 at 17:37, Marc Canter wrote:
> SO now you have a goal!

Cripes!  We've been aimless all this time?

> As TypePad comes out and sets in stone the usage of FOAF as a blogroll
> representation system

TypePad is, I'm sure, an important application, but in the world of FOAF
it's just one application.  I don't think it's as pivotal as you suggest
here and in http://blogs.it/0100198/2003/06/30.html#a1358

The weblogging world is a cool place, but it's not everywhere.

> It’s up to you guys – and me – and a few others……
> To get FOAF used elsewhere – and THEN if we can connect SixApart’s
> efforts to:
>             - inter-connecting trust systems, blogrolls and friends
> networks….from all over the Net
>             - tying in one’s personal meta-data
>             - bring in GPS, RSS and other existing standards into the
> mix 
>             - tying this into all the research, OWL, W3C, T B-L
> efforts and ideas……                                        

You're in agreement with the community with these goals: your points
here seem to be congruent with the aims of FOAF and other emergent
semantic web interest areas such as RDF calendaring and geographical
apps.  People are very active in these areas already.  From the
perspective of seeing the current interest areas and applications, I'd
dispute that SixApart is some sort of golden key here.  It's already

> Thanks Ben – for getting this started.  And thank you Morten for the
> cool, new FOAF Explorer features.

Maybe I misinterpret, but just for the record, I think the blame for
starting FOAF can be placed with Dan Brickley and Libby Miller, named as
the primary authors in the spec.

> Now it’s time to get this stuff into the hands – of the people!

I enjoy your energy, Marc, but parts of your posts to this list read
like you don't believe people here had considered these things.  Dan
Brickley and many others have put a lot of thought, time and energy into
this project: it's not just been languishing the last two years,
important work has been going on.

FOAF's worked well as an under-the-radar project, with people getting
interested, writing code, and thus having influence in the project.  In
the big bad world, everybody thinks they can have a say and disaster
results (we don't have to look too far for examples.)

Before the adoption explosion happens, some issues must be resolved. 
For example, a structure for the evolvability and governance of FOAF
needs to be put into place before putting it into the hands of
everyone.  Leigh's earlier comments about tagging the stability of
certain parts of FOAF is a case in point.  FOAF's a live, wiggly,
creature.  Setting things in stone too early could be bad.

While there maybe isn't yet an explicit masterplan, I, and others who
participate in creating FOAF tools, view Dan Brickley as the leader of
this community and in charge of FOAF's direction.

Please realise I don't mean to be a party pooper.  Welcome to the
community, it's a fun place to be!

I just wanted to point out that it's not a land of dreamers or naifs
here.  There's a lot of work gone into this project, and an established
way of becoming involved in it -- spend some time getting a feel for
what's going on, and then contribute in terms of code and
documentation.  I'm personally not convinced that a big marketing plan
is yet what we need, nor a reach for world domination.  There are plenty
of cool things FOAF can steal or learn from other, similar, efforts.

Speaking for myself only,


-- Edd

Edd Dumbill.  More from me at <http://usefulinc.com/edd/blog>
Managing Editor, XML.com, XMLhack.com; Chair, XML Europe 2003

More information about the foaf-dev mailing list