Metadata everywhere: pervasive XML to make pervasive computing a real social and economic advantage

By andrea rota
Date: Thursday, 24 July 2003 15:10
Duration: 20 minutes

The western world has been using computers for several decades now, but
-despite bright futuristic visions- we are yet underusing and misusing
the information technology. Everybody seems to be reinventing the wheel
everyday, and especially small companies find it hard to fully exploit
the information technology potential in a meaningful way. Programmers
and consultants are forced to work to make programs work, instead of
working to make information flows work.

In this talk we will see how Perl, Web Services, XML and Free Software
licensing and development model can help in building a better
information environment, with software well-documented from the ground
up, clearly documented and easily accessible programming interfaces and
most of all a well-defined (and both human- and machine understandable)
metadata infrastructure.

The technical bits seem to be nearly in place: information could now
flow where it's needed to solve small and big technical, economic and
social problems, but everyday more and more artificial fences are built
by governments and large corporations in a strong attempt to preserve
their economic and political privileges.

Combined social and technical awareness is a must today: so that we
could really embed in our work our creativity, expertise and vision,
laying those little pieces that, taken as a whole, will make cultural
sharing a real opportunity, allowing everybody to build on others' work
and let others build on our work. Information is not physically scarce
as many other resources on which the human society relies: when we share
information we do not get poorer and the world becomes richer: the old
adage "mors tua vita mea" becomes "vita tua vita mea".

Needless to say, the only programming language that seems to have the
power to knock this latin saying over (and in which all the talk's
examples will be given) is Perl!

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