second verse, same as the first
I keep trying to form an opinion on this whole O'Reilly thingy… I'm tempted to go with Marc, but the Mules seem to have captured most of how I feel about how the vitriolic response was a bit out of proportion with the shortsighted stupidity of the lawyers.
Mostly, I'm just sitting back and marvelling over the fact that no one at AP ever broached the idea of trying to protect "AJAX" – I seriously don't recall it ever being suggested, even offhand. I'm happy I work with folks who aren't that cynical about how the industry works; they're aware that there's business to be had in furthering the conversation, rather than trying to dominate or own it.
In his defense of O'Reilly, Cory Doctorow explained that Tim's company has "an amazing, wonderful gift for popularizing hard ideas and for explaining abstruse technology in catchy ways." I see what we're trying to do at AP as working towards similar ends, so on that much we're alike. The original intent behind Jesse's coining of AJAX was to help others grok not just the technology but what it meant for creating better experiences on the net.
I just shudder at the idea of how badly we would have crippled our own ability to communicate complex ideas in a straightforward manner if we'd pursued any kind of protection for AJAX (or "Ajax" for that matter). We're capitalists; we enjoy getting paid for the work we do and the ideas we come up with. But we'd prefer to do it without alienating the same people who are willing to read our essays, attend our conferences, and bring us on as consultants.
I guess I'm totally naive to think there's an obvious advantage to occassionally leaving some money on the table.
[update 5/28/06 1:20 PM] A big welcome to Valleywag readers. Nick's always fun with those comments of his, ain't he? Here's a Flickr classic: Veen meets Nick, right after Valleywag leaked the Measuremap deal.
[update 5/28/06 5:45 PM] While enjoying a roasted pork sandwich at the Beach Chalet this afternoon, it occurred to me that any attempt to protect AJAX as a term would have run afoul of a very established brand with some pretty deep pockets. I do get that – but I still think the point remains: participate in the conversation without trying to manipulate it, or risk losing your voice.