[Humanist] 24.362 iPad apps by us

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Sep 28 22:52:53 CEST 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 362.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2010 13:03:49 -0400
        From: Wendell Piez <wapiez at mulberrytech.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.347 iPad apps by us
        In-Reply-To: <20100921200955.986D97F48C at woodward.joyent.us>

Dear Patrick,

Last week you wrote:

> > The question might be posed: why should HE and OpenSource 
> developers produce something for a company which in effect operates 
> restricted practices?  IMHO, it would be unethical for HE people to 
> take this route.
> > Dave Postles
>Err, because it is another way to make it available to users?
>Traditional print publishers restricted access to paying customers.
>Was publishing with them unethical? (Is is unethical now?)

It isn't that a proprietary platform is in itself unethical. As you 
know very well, intellectual property regimes such as patent and 
copyright, no matter how distorted they have become in recent 
decades, are designed for the public interest: the cultivation of a 
public domain, by allowing creators and innovators to profit from 
their works *for a limited time* and thereby motivate their risks and 
investments. That's why it's called a "patent": because I am enabled 
to share it without fear that you will steal it. Then, after I have 
profited and it has become more mature, we all get to put it into our 
boxes to tinker with.

I think Desmond has put his finger on the essential issue: the 
strategic question of whether you harness your cart to that 
particular horse. Personally, I won't be developing for an iPad not 
only for the bedrock practical reason (not having the time or much 
inclination to master objective-C) but also for this entirely 
hypothetical one: that I would be banking on either iPad becoming a 
monopoly, or my application will be successful enough to command 
interest and resources for me to afford porting it, when the time 
came, to run on iPad's competitors and successors. (Timothy Hill has 
also articulated this for us.)

Fundamentally, this is why the old guard -- who developed TEI and 
then XML -- had it essentially right. Yes, we need to do the work of 
development. But we need to develop the standards as well, as they 
are the platform on which the long future will be built. (Patrick, I 
know this is no mystery to you.)

Accordingly, I am eager to see what iPad applications will be doing 
with data in openly specified formats, whether it be 
HTML/CSS/Javascript, HTML5, a TEI profile, or your own entirely local 
semantics exposed in XML or some other clean format. If you only tell 
me what it is, I can generate it.


Wendell Piez                            mailto:wapiez at mulberrytech.com
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.                http://www.mulberrytech.com
17 West Jefferson Street                    Direct Phone: 301/315-9635
Suite 207                                          Phone: 301/315-9631
Rockville, MD  20850                                 Fax: 301/315-8285
   Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in SGML and XML

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