How to cite this paper

Gutentag, Eduardo. “XML: It was not televised after all ....” Presented at Balisage: The Markup Conference 2008, Montréal, Canada, August 12 - 15, 2008. In Proceedings of Balisage: The Markup Conference 2008. Balisage Series on Markup Technologies, vol. 1 (2008).

Balisage: The Markup Conference 2008
August 12 - 15, 2008

Balisage Paper: XML: It was not televised after all ...

Eduardo Gutentag

Sun Microsystems

Eduardo Gutentag has been a part of the standards and XML world from even before XML existed; he proudly wears a metaphorical lapel pin that says "XML" and "SGML" and "DocBook" and "UBL". Of late his work has migrated away from the technical domain, and he now finds himself participating in the W3C Advisory Board, the Idealliance Board of Directors, and the OASIS Board of Directors, of which he has been the Chair for the past three years.


Few may remember that XML was launched with an explicit technical and social agenda centered on the revolutionary idea that you own the content you produce. This has now come full circle and has become an almost trivial assertion (albeit far from being universally true). Yet in the meantime, while no TV cameras were watching, it facilitated another revolution, which in turn has had a global transformative effect on the way we define the words "content", "ownership" and even "freedom". Will this now unleash another deep and almost antithetical change, centered on the equally revolutionary concept that ownership of an idea is not necessarily vested upon the person who comes up with it?