Re: A bit of bomb throwing....

From: Michael McDougall <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 14:59:13 -0500

Zack Rosen wrote:
>>> I have yet to hear an explanation for why academic research should
>>> not be applied towards real world problems in partnership with
>>> open-source communities other than 'this is just not the way things
>>> are done in academia'. Can someone please lay out the reasoning
>>> for me?
>> I thought I made it pretty clear.
>> - Different goals: academics want publishable advances in science,
>> while open source communities want to create usable tools. Quite
>> often, you don't need scientific advances to create usable tools, you
>> just need good engineering and design, which is not at all the same
>> thing. So an academic may work on the project just to see their
>> (scientifically legitimate) pet algorithm discarded in favor of
>> something better for the product. Or conversely, the open-source
>> developers may feel like they have to include complex technology that
>> users don't care about just to keep the scientists happy. Open-source
>> communities generate code, academics generate papers.
> * The Drupal community is pursuing the same problem space and concepts
> as the semantic web. In my view they are on the bleeding edge of
> application for these concepts. They aren't just pursuing usable
> tools they are pursuing innovation and they are willing to experiment.
> * SIMILE generates quite a bit of code.

- A lot of academics generate code, but it's a means to doing research,
not an end of itself.

- I was talking about stereotypes. A lot people straddle both worlds to
some degree, and plenty of academics like to write cool apps that make
users happy. Stefano said SIMILE is a mix of academic and developer.
That mitigates some of the risks I mentioned but it doesn't erase them.

Maybe it would help if you were more specific about what you are
envisioning. It seems like your vision of the Semantic Web is not the
common one (as far as I can tell). I'm considering a couple of uses of
Semantic Web technology that have very little to do with Drupal's
application space, so I don't really get why you say that the "Drupal
community is pursuing the same concepts as the semantic web".

Received on Wed Jan 18 2006 - 19:58:49 EST

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