[uf-new] XFN - Professionals Network microformat

Guy Fraser gfraser at adaptavist.com
Fri Apr 27 07:31:03 PDT 2007

Frances Berriman wrote:
> What would you envision doing with supplier/client etc. type 
> relationships?

In corporate environments, professional relationships need to be more 
descriptive so that managers can more easily locate suitable staff for 
projects. Eg. You could quickly build up a team that has worked with a 
particular customer/supplier/project before.

> 2. Issues with existing XFN rel's...
> We discussed this in IRC a while back (I don't have time to dig
> through the logs) but it was pretty much the consensus that muse IS
> mis-categorised as romantic and should be (and is already used as) a
> non-romantic relationship to describe anyone who is of inspiration
> etc.  The current problem is only that the documentation hasn't been
> updated to reflect this better (probably will be done when/if XFN gets
> updated as a whole).

As the discussions in IRC aren't logged anywhere (or even pasted in to 
the wiki as far as I can tell) there is no record of that information. 
Anyone working with XFN would generally be unaware of the future 
direction. Again, it's all very closed.

>> It is not clear _who_ owns the copyright or patent. Is it
>> microformats.org, one of the authors, technorati, etc?
> 3. Licensing and patenting issues...
> Technorati doesn't own microformats.  I believe most 'formats show a
> CC declaration on the appropriate wiki page.

Yup, that's a show stopper for most corporates. A cc-by-nd* is a killer 
- if you can't make derivative works, game over. Even a cc-by is a show 
stopper for most corporates because lots of banks, etc., generally have 
an internal policy that prevents them using anything along the lines of 
the GPL, cc-by, etc.

Not knowing who even owns the copyright is another show stopper because 
there's no way any legal department would allow that through.

The legal issues with microformats will prevent them from being used in 
a large number of corporate environments.

> 4. The community seems restrictive...
> This is for good reason though.  It's a system that works and stops
> wasted effort on formats that have no purpose/real world usage.   You
> don't necessarily have to find the exact value you want already in
> use, but you should be able to find scenarios already on the web where
> your proposition would work.  It appears to be a really laborious
> process (I suppose it is) but it's a safety valve.

Hmmmm... I don't agree, but I'm not going to argue. It seems that all 
incubation of new ideas severely restricted, but I guess people will 
just have to move to other communities to bypass these restrictions.

> To get corporates to try something, they need to see that others are

That's not going to happen with seriously dodgey licensing and patenting 
stuff on must uF's.

> I agree - it is tricky (and I sympathise as someone who works with
> large clients who are still 2 years behind).  That's why most trends
> tend to be on a non-corporate level first before the big boys want to
> play with the ball, I guess.

It's not about whether they are behind the times or not - the really big 
problem in the ambiguous copyright and patent statements, compounded by 
the prevention of making derivative works, etc.

> NickServ is a service available on a lot of networks (for managing
> usernames/permissions etc), so I guess it was assumed that if you're
> using IRC then there's a decent chance you already know how to do it
> (visiting freenode.net's site probably has further information on all
> their services).
> I'll try and write something up for the wiki too so others can
> hopefully get into the IRC channel a little more easily!

The wiki would be the best place then others can be pointed to the same 
info on NickServ.


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