Arbitration Fairness and Rape

updated See CL & P Blog for in-depth update on the hearings for arbitration fairness.

Congress had another subcommittee hearing on the Arbitration Fairness Act. The Consumerist live blogged the hearing, accompanied by the expected pithy comments. Senator Brownback kept harping on the Kansas Fence Law.

HomeOwners for Better Building publishes an opinion piece by Susan Antilla from Bloomberg, which had some very interesting information.

When Theodore Eisenberg of Cornell Law School and Geoffrey Miller of New York University School of Law studied the arbitration policies of 2,800 public companies during 2002, they found that companies were using arbitration for 37 percent of their employment contracts, but weren’t so keen on arbitration when it came to business-against-business fights between “sophisticated actors.” In all, 11 percent used binding arbitration for some contracts.

It was surprising that companies would assert that they liked arbitration’s low cost and simplicity, they wrote, yet opt for the courts when they were in disputes with other businesses.

Feingold suggested a possible reason at yesterday’s hearings, calling arbitration an “unaccountable” system where the law doesn’t necessarily apply.

Consumer crusaders echoed Eppenstein’s assertions at the Senate hearing. They are fighting powerful forces, though. The newly formed Coalition to Preserve Arbitration already has submitted testimony applauding the virtues of arbitration to both houses of Congress.

Mandatory arbitration doesn’t deprive anyone’s rights, the group said in testimony, reflecting the opinion of 19 coalition members including Sifma, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Health Care Association and T-Mobile USA.

When it’s their turn to sue, though, you rarely find corporate heavyweights racing to arbitration. The grade schooler might ponder this question after learning about those branches of government: If arbitration works so well, why don’t corporations use it when they have a complaint?

So, when corporations want to sue other businesses of equal or greater economic strength, they rush to the court systems, rather than choose arbitration. Huh, how about that. Makes you wonder about their motivations when they want to force arbitration on their customers/employees.

The Hill writes that all this legislation is part of a string of similar legislation occurring now, because of the Democrats and the American Association of Justice–that’s the trial lawyer association–finds the climate more positive to put forth their their unreasonable demands. What are some of these demands? Requiring drug makers to add safety information to drug labels and forcing courts to release vital safety and health information from court cases where the transcripts are sealed–the lousy bastards.

The Pro-mandatory arbitration group, especially National Arbitration Forum–My nominee for biggest corporate scum on earth is now trying a different tactic, since the ‘fairness’ of the arbitration process has been, more or less, blasted out of the waters. Now they’re saying if mandatory arbitration is abolished, the court systems would be overwhelmed by cases.

First, arbitration not only requires the court system, it can require it twice: once to enforce a mandatory arbitration agreement that is disputed, and the second time to uphold an arbitration decision. In fact in these cases, the results are more likely to go up through the chain of appeals than typical civil cases. They’ve been in the Supreme Court several times. So, eliminating mandatory arbitration agreements and returning arbitration to its voluntary status will, most likely, decrease the burden on the court system, rather than burden it. And hey! If arbitration is so great, people will volunteer for this alternative, right?

The biggest news on the mandatory arbitration front last week, though, was the story of Jamie Leigh Jones.

Jamie Leigh Jones was a contractor hired by Halliburton/KBR for work in Iraq. Not long after arriving in Iraq, she was brutally raped and held against her will by KBR employees–kept in a shipping container and told if she didn’t keep quiet, she’d never get a job in Iraq or back home. The only reason she escaped is one of the KBR employees guarding her lent her his cellphone, and she called her Dad. Her Dad, in turn, called his Congressional representative, Representative Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas. Poe got the State Department to go over and rescue her.

That was two years ago. Why no criminal charges? For one, the Congressional bill giving immunity to contractors in Iraq would have prevented such justice.

Legal experts say Jones’ alleged assailants will likely never face a judge and jury, due to an enormous loophole that has effectively left contractors in Iraq beyond the reach of United States law.

“It’s very troubling,” said Dean John Hutson of the Franklin Pierce Law Center. “The way the law presently stands, I would say that they don’t have, at least in the criminal system, the opportunity for justice.”

In addition, neither the Justice department nor the State department investigated the crime. Why? Because it was left in the hands of KBR to investigate the crime. The company who has shown itself to be so fair to women. The same organization that promptly ‘lost’ the rape kit collected after Ms. Jones was rescued, and who has, since, not done a thing about the crimes against this young woman.

In a statement, KBR said it was “instructed to cease” its own investigation by U.S. government authorities “because they were assuming sole responsibility for the criminal investigations.”

Halliburton has since divested itself of KBR and says it shouldn’t be named in the suit. Na ah, Halli, you were involved at the time of the crime. Since Halliburton/KBR weren’t interested in punishing those who perpetuated this crime, Ms. Jones sought the only justice she could: in civil courts. But guess what?

Since no criminal charges have been filed, the only other option, according to Hutson, is the civil system, which is the approach that Jones is trying now. But Jones’ former employer doesn’t want this case to see the inside of a civil courtroom.

KBR has moved for Jones’ claim to be heard in private arbitration, instead of a public courtroom. It says her employment contract requires it.

In arbitration, there is no public record nor transcript of the proceedings, meaning that Jones’ claims would not be heard before a judge and jury. Rather, a private arbitrator would decide Jones’ case. In recent testimony before Congress, employment lawyer Cathy Ventrell-Monsees said that Halliburton won more than 80 percent of arbitration proceedings brought against it.

NAF has company for scummiest corporation on earth.

The Daily Kos is running a campaign to get people to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to support the Arbitration Fairness Act. Right now, 60 congressional delegates have signed on as co-sponsors but the battle is far from over. The heaviest corporate hitters are turning their might to defeat this bill.

There has never been another act in Congress that so divides Corporate America from Citizen America. There has never been another act that can return justice to more people than this act. People like Jamie Leigh Jones. People like you and me.

Posted in Technology | Tagged | 5 Comments

Snowing

Snowing outside

Posted in Environment | 1 Comment

Den of Thieves

Susan Mernit has a quote from professional photographer, Lane Hartwell, about setting her Flickr stream to private because of image theft.

What spurred this on was the popular Web 2.0 Bubble video, which I also linked, and which didn’t credit any of the people whose work it used. Hartwell wrote:

Matt Hempey, the creator of the video, saw fit to give Billy Joel credit for his song, and saw fit to give himself and his group, the Richter Scales credit but failed to contact me and ask my permission to license this photo, which is marked all rights reserved. I was not credited, and there also are no photo credits for any other images that appear in the video.

Today, Wired has an article on Lane Hartwell, where she states:

“I wasn’t upset by the video itself,” Hartwell said, but the brief flash of her photograph — without compensation or credit — still rankled. “I thought, ‘Where does somebody just get the right to take this?’”

Hartwell had her lawyer issue a takedown notice to YouTube. Mathew Ingram believes that Ms. Hartwell, and her lawyer, are in the wrong when it comes to copyright:

In any case, I think Ms. Hartwell needs to remember one thing: copyright law wasn’t designed to give artists or content creators a blunt instrument with which to bash anyone and everyone who uses their work in any form, for any reason. The copyright owner’s views do not trump everything, and never have. A split second view of your photo in a parody video doesn’t — or at least shouldn’t — qualify as infringing use. Period.

A question to the lawyers: does use of a work without giving credit violate copyright law? I would assume it would, though from this page not giving credit is considered plagiarism, but not necessarily a copyright violation.

ValleyWag had an earlier writing on this, and still includes a viable link to the video. In the post, Owen Thomas writes:

I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve heard plenty of lawyers say that fair use is a murky and difficult area of copyright law. The role of photo credits in copyright law is likewise not entirely clear to me. Giving credit where credit’s due simply strikes me as the polite thing to do. And surely not that difficult.

I suspect that the members of Richter Scales were simply lazy. The photo Hartwell took of me is the first search result for me in Google Images. It’s not particularly apt, either; I was working at Business 2.0 when she photographed me.

Thomas also goes on to quote YouTube’s Terms of use, and one thing it restricts is the use of photos in slideshows without getting permission, first.

Regardless, not giving credit should be heavily discouraged, rather than applauded. The Richter Scales group did this video not for the common good, but as a way of generating attention and publicity. How, then, can they assume that the creators of the photos used in the work wouldn’t also feel the same way about their work, contained within the video?

Is it a case, then, that I can go out and grab posts from Mathew Ingram and other writers, and use these to create weblog posts, without giving credit or linking the originals, call the total a ‘parody’, or better yet, ‘art’, and Mathew would not see any harm in such? After all, I meet his interpretation of fair use: I’m using published work, parts of the whole (the whole being the entire weblog), using in a post, which will eventually fall off the main page, and I can’t see how this would hurt Mathew commercially. I mean, does he sell his posts–five for a dime?

Tom Stachowitz writes:

This woman is a professional photographer and if someone wants to use an image of hers – even if it’s for something completely noncommercial – she deserves to be respected. How can anyone reasonably assume that you can just go out and take whatever piece of creative content you like without paying for it or even making a note of where it comes from? Worse, how can people defend the practice?

To me, the payment wasn’t as much of an issue as using the work without giving credit. I imagine that if the Richter Scales group had dropped Hartwell an email, told her about the project, and promised to give credit–and then gave it–Hartwell most likely would have given them permission. But they assumed and took and basked in the glory that they received for their work, without once giving a nod to the creators of the photos. They took, they did not pass on.

TechWag did mention that the heart of this problem could be not that her photos are online, but where they’re located: Flickr. People have taken to using Flickr like fisherman take to lakes stocked with fish. Flickr has tried to limit this by putting up a DIV element covering the photo so it can’t be right click copied. To copy the photos now, you have to deliberately look for the photo in the page and access it directly to bypass this barrier. This goes beyond “Oops, I thought it was OK to copy”.

I get requests, about every week or two, typically from naturalists sites or organizations to use bird or insect photos. I’ve never said no, and have generally given the sites free run to use any of my photos, as long as they give me photo credit. Asking for photo credit does not inhibit their use of the pictures.

I’ve now posted a photo use policy in the menu, which means such sites don’t specifically have to ask permission, first–if the use is not for profit. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is asking that I be given photo credit.

If we get to the point where we assume all photos online are ours for the taking, without giving credit, rather than advance the state of art, we may inhibit it, as more photographers choose either not to put their works online for viewing–or choose to put them behind privacy barriers. Worse, if we get to the point where it’s “OK” to take pictures, or writing, or code, or anything of this nature without giving credit, we’ve become nothing more than a den of thieves.

update

In comments to Mathew Ingram’s post, Michael Arrington writes:

Shelley, Lane’s attorney is abusing the DMCA for his/her own goals. And copyright has nothing to do with “giving credit.” It has to do with being forced to license work unless it falls under fair use, which this clearly does.

Mathew is right, you are wrong. But since Lane is a woman, it really doesn’t matter what she did as far as you are concerned. She’s a woman, so she’s right.

One could also turn that around back to Mr. Arrington: since it was a ‘woman’ photographer who issued the takedown against a ‘man’ video creator, according to Mr. Arrington, Hempsey is automatically right while Hartman’s automatically wrong.

Taking this one step further: I, a woman, disagree with Mathew, a man, while siding with another woman. And therefore, according to Arrington’s logic, that makes me doubly wrong.

Second update

bub.blicio.us has a more detailed look at the issue, both as an amateur photographer and friend to Hartwell, as well as links to several sites with comments.

Third update

Excellent coverage of commentary at Wired including a comment from Terry Gross, the IP lawyer that Hartwell hired.

Fourth

Lane Hartwell’s post on this issue.

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , | 44 Comments

Let it Snow

The weather powers have predicted snow for St. Louis, and a decent amount, too. St. Louis is not a city that gets much snow, so 6 inches or so is significant for us.

I was coming home from the store today–fresh veggies and dip, a favorite snowed in treat–when I saw the complex maintenance guys out salting the walks. When I asked about it, one of the guys replied, “It’s a passive snow removal system”. It’s all in how you frame it.

I’m looking forward to the snow. Putting on my snow boots and walking around the neighborhoods to look at the lights. Hot cider followed by cold Mexican beer with lime when I get home.

Posted in Life | 3 Comments

Iron Clouds

It’s nice when I can recycle concepts from many years ago for new releases of technology. Take, for instance, my concept of iron clouds and the release of Google’s Knols.

An iron cloud is a cloud–a resource accessible by anyone, anywhere–that is seemingly open and accessible but has, as its core, a heart of iron: it’s owned by a single entity. It is centralized by a single entity, regardless of its physical distribution. To me, there can be no true cloud when there’s ownership.

Udi Manber introduces Knols with the following:

The web contains an enormous amount of information, and Google has helped to make that information more easily accessible by providing pretty good search facilities. But not everything is written nor is everything well organized to make it easily discoverable. There are millions of people who possess useful knowledge that they would love to share, and there are billions of people who can benefit from it. We believe that many do not share that knowledge today simply because it is not easy enough to do that. The challenge posed to us by Larry, Sergey and Eric was to find a way to help people share their knowledge. This is our main goal

We believe that many do not share that knowledge today simply because it is not easy enough to do that. This just isn’t true, and a rather backhanded insult to another Google property, Blogger. If a person is comfortable enough with the Net, they have all they need to be able to start contributing to the Net, through Blogger, Typepad, WordPress.com, and so on. There may be experts who refuse to put their material online until they’re paid for it, but then again, we have sites like Huffington Post, which provides both payment and place in which the experts may dabble their little toes.

If this is a snide aside to Wikipedia’s reliance on Wiki technology, I don’t think any of us has seen that Wikipedia suffers heavily from too many people constrained from contributing. The problems at Wikipedia are based on organization and clannishness, not technology.

In fact, nothing about what Google is saying about Google Knols makes sense, and therefore one has to treat this new ‘gift’ with suspicion, and indeed, some alarm.

People have been saying that Knols are a way for Google to get back at Wikipedia, but in actuality, they’re a way to get back at us. We have dirtied the pristine, perfect field of search, where only the cream floats to the top. We don’t use NOFOLLOW on our links, and link indiscriminately, without a care or thought to how the search engine may suffer under our abuse. We toss our own half baked opinions out into the void and are linked, in turn, to further sully search results. Frankly, we’re messy, and muck up the algorithms.

The whole point of RDF/OWL, first, and microformats and even HTML5, was so that we all could eventually annotate our material more properly, helping to make a better, more searchable knowledgebase that expands ever outward over time. We are the cloud. However, rather than trust us to form this knowledgebase on our own, Google has now taken matters into its own hands.

I feel like the time when I was a child, and sought to help my grandmother clean up after a holiday meal. I grabbed a dish towel and was reaching for one of the fine china plates, when my grandmother, reacting in horror, snatched it out of my grasp and told me to go play with the other children; before you break something going unspoken, but understood.

Danny Sullivan commenting on Knols, writes the following:

Why do Knol? Google vice president of engineering, Udi Manber, who heads the project, told me that is designed to help people put knowledge on the web that doesn’t currently exist, which in turn should make search better, since there will be better information out there.

Of course, Google already offers other content creation tools, such as Blogger and Google Page Creator. In addition, there are non-Google tools people already use to publish content, not to mention collaborative tools such as those I named at the opening of this article. Why yet another tool?

Manber said that Knol has a special focus on authors and a collection of tools that Google thinks is unique, and which in turn should encourage both content creation and readership.

“Knol is all about the authors,” he said. “We believe that knowing who wrote a knol will significantly help users make better use of web content.”

I can feel the plate being snatched as I read these words.

Leaving aside the worrisome effect of ‘knowledge’ being centered in and controlled by Google, via its search engine and now Knols, Google is making the same calculated mistake with Knols, as Microsoft does with IE: rather than work with the community, using community tools and specifications, it goes its own proprietary path–using its considerable market presence to ensure it becomes a force regardless of the soundness, or rightness, of its approach.

Google also undercuts the more or less altruistic nature of the knowledge web in the past, with promises of remuneration for those who choose to contribute Knols (and not so coincidentally, profiting Google at the same time). It reminds me of what someone told me a year or so ago: that not having ads in my sidebar makes my site look amateurish. I guess the days when people shared knowledge just to share are over.

update

Best title: Google Runs Out of Content to Monetize; Wants You to Build More.

Posted in Technology | Tagged , | 5 Comments

XHTMLate your WordPress

What does it take to convert your WordPress weblog to XHTML?

First, the template has to be valid XHTML. One way to check this is to make sure the page validates as XHTML, first, before actually converting the page to XHTML. I use an XHTML 1.1 DOCTYPE that supports MathML and SVG:


<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC
    "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1 plus MathML 2.0 plus SVG 1.1//EN"
    "http://www.w3.org/2002/04/xhtml-math-svg/xhtml-math-svg.dtd">

I also add XHTML, SVG, and XLink namespaces:


<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
      xmlns:svg="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"
      xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xml:lang="en">

When you validate the page the validator will let you know that the DOCTYPE differs from the page MIME type, but shouldn’t impact on the validation process. Just make sure that the validator is treating your page as XHTML.

The reason why the Validator assumes the page is HTML is because the page is served up as HTML at this point, WordPress wants to serve pages up as HTML. In fact, WordPress fights you every step in the way when it comes to serving your page as XHTML. Luckily, there’s nice people who build plug-ins to ensure your page is served up as XHTML. However, not every browser supports XHTML. For those limited browsers, we have to serve the pages as HTML. If we don’t, the limited browser (that would be, IE) has a problem serving the pages.

Testing to see what a browser can handle is known as content negotiation. There is a way you can implement content negotiation with .htaccess, but this approach doesn’t work well with WordPress. Instead, I use the m0n5t3′s nest “content negotation plug-in for WordPress”. I install it, activate it, and it manages the content negotation for me–serving pages as XHTML for browsers that can handle it; and HTML for those that can’t (IE).

To ensure the comments work, I added the following line to wp-comments-post.php before saving the comment:


$comment_content = mb_convert_encoding($comment_content, "UTF-8","auto");

If you’ve followed my steps so far, congratulations! You’re now serving your pages as XHTML. Now, go back through your archives. Be prepared for:

  • Yellow screen of death for Firefox
  • Opera’s polite, “You’re F**cked!” elegant gray
  • Safari’s, “You’re hurting me!” page
  • IE is reading the page as HTML, which means it doesn’t care that your page is crappy.

I’ve had a weblog for years, other pages even longer. I have used old HTML, dated HTML, and good HTML, used badly. This means I have a lot of pages that will break when served as XHTML.

There might be *nice, automated applications that can fix all my bad uses of HTML. I’ve not tried to create such an application, nor have I found one. Instead, I fix pages manually, based on someone letting me know they’ve found a broken page. I also have an application I run that shows me which pages are broken. I run this application when I have time, fixing pages.

The application I use to find bad XHTML pulls the content in from the WordPress database:


<?php
require_once('./wp-config.php');
require_once('./XhtmlValidator.php');

global $wpdb;

$sql="select ID,post_content from $wpdb->posts
where post_status = 'publish'
ORDER BY ID ASC ";

$lines = $wpdb->get_results($sql);
if ($lines) {

   foreach ($lines as $line) {
      $post = $line->ID;
      $data = "<div>" . $line->post_content . "</div>";
      $XhtmlValidator = new XhtmlValidator();
      if($XhtmlValidator->validate($data) === false){
         echo "Post $post <br />\n";
         $XhtmlValidator->showErrors();
      }
    }
}

?>

As you can see from accessing the application, I still have work to do. I make use of a PHP class, XhtmlValidator, from Akelos Framework. It works nicely. Too nicely.

Of course, the upside to all of this is that my new posts are XHTML valid, or I wouldn’t be able to publish them. To ensure this continues this way, I turn off WP formatting for those posts that WordPress formats incorrectly. For instance, I can’t use WordPress default formatting when I use CODE elements, because WP wants to insert inappropriate paragraph tags.

Is it work? Yes, but when you’re done you know, without a doubt, that all your i’s are dotted, your t’s crossed. You also know that you can add trees.





Christmas Tree



holiday
religholiday

festive
advent
christmas
christianity
recreation




Aaron Spike




Aaron Spike




Aaron Spike



image/svg+xml


en





























And cute, cuddly bears.

xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/"
xmlns:cc="http://web.resource.org/cc/"
xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#"
xmlns:svg="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"
xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"
xmlns:sodipodi="http://sodipodi.sourceforge.net/DTD/sodipodi-0.dtd"
xmlns:inkscape="http://www.inkscape.org/namespaces/inkscape"
version="1.0"
width="316.81"
height="319.23001"
sodipodi:version="0.32"
inkscape:version="0.45"
sodipodi:docname="Teddybear_jarno_vasamaa_head.svg"
sodipodi:docbase="/home/rugby471/Desktop"
inkscape:output_extension="org.inkscape.output.svg.inkscape"
sodipodi:modified="true">
id="metadata22">

rdf:about="">
image/svg+xml
rdf:resource="http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/StillImage" />



inkscape:window-height="626"
inkscape:window-width="910"
inkscape:pageshadow="2"
inkscape:pageopacity="0.0"
guidetolerance="10.0"
gridtolerance="10.0"
objecttolerance="10.0"
borderopacity="1.0"
bordercolor="#666666"
pagecolor="#ffffff"
id="base"
width="316.81px"
height="319.23px"
inkscape:zoom="1.2870295"
inkscape:cx="156.90457"
inkscape:cy="196.86494"
inkscape:window-x="51"
inkscape:window-y="27"
inkscape:current-layer="svg2" />
id="defs3" />
transform="translate(-152.73616,-68.25877)"
id="g3470">

d="M 264.67156,129.06139 C 262.28174,159.28642 235.83749,181.84833 205.6132,179.44927 C 175.3889,177.05022 152.83507,150.59908 155.24336,120.37552 C 157.63318,90.150493 184.07743,67.588583 214.30172,69.987639 C 244.52602,72.386695 267.07985,98.837832 264.67156,129.06139 L 264.67156,129.06139 z "
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:2.20000005;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:4;stroke-opacity:0.80540538"
id="path5856" /> d="M 260.20508,128.70685 C 258.01035,156.46452 233.72482,177.18464 205.96781,174.98143 C 178.21081,172.77822 157.49811,148.48636 159.7098,120.73003 C 161.90454,92.972353 186.19007,72.252234 213.94707,74.455448 C 241.70407,76.658663 262.41678,100.95052 260.20508,128.70685 L 260.20508,128.70685 z "
style="fill:#b64d00;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:2.20000005;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:4;stroke-opacity:0.80540538"
id="path5096" /> d="M 468.69999,146.37982 C 466.31017,176.60484 439.86592,199.16675 409.64163,196.7677 C 379.41733,194.36864 356.8635,167.9175 359.27179,137.69394 C 361.66161,107.46892 388.10586,84.907006 418.33015,87.306062 C 448.55445,89.705118 471.10828,116.15625 468.69999,146.37982 L 468.69999,146.37982 z "
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:2.20000005;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:4;stroke-opacity:0.80540538"
id="path6616" /> d="M 464.23356,146.02528 C 462.03883,173.78296 437.7533,194.50307 409.9963,192.29986 C 382.23929,190.09665 361.52659,165.80479 363.73829,138.04846 C 365.93302,110.29078 390.21855,89.570665 417.97555,91.773879 C 445.73256,93.977094 466.44526,118.26895 464.23356,146.02528 L 464.23356,146.02528 z "
style="fill:#b64d00;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:2.20000005;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:4;stroke-opacity:0.80540538"
id="path6618" /> d="M 210.80237,353.94586 C 166.55009,317.37032 166.55009,317.37032 163.43298,267.52838 C 160.31588,217.68645 156.63992,174.88508 182.49169,146.2357 C 208.34347,117.58632 221.17622,104.43506 275.25175,106.36567 C 329.32729,108.29627 385.74584,110.41286 425.49837,144.26959 C 465.2509,178.12631 441.7711,266.00507 437.93784,284.59395 C 434.10458,303.18283 404.79209,345.72738 384.55775,363.01443 C 364.32341,380.30147 323.37452,391.22102 286.25891,383.55167 C 249.1433,375.88233 210.80237,353.94586 210.80237,353.94586 z "
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:1px;stroke-linecap:butt;stroke-linejoin:miter;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path2055" /> d="M 215.09873,348.73276 C 172.91583,313.92231 172.91583,313.92231 169.93866,266.49272 C 166.9615,219.06313 163.45254,178.33323 188.08924,151.07389 C 212.72594,123.81454 224.95566,111.30148 276.49718,113.1453 C 328.0387,114.98912 381.81345,117.01019 419.70715,149.23289 C 457.60085,181.45559 435.23226,265.07744 431.58094,282.766 C 427.92961,300.45457 399.99609,340.93602 380.71217,357.38375 C 361.42824,373.83147 322.39978,384.21738 287.02264,376.91472 C 251.64551,369.61206 215.09873,348.73276 215.09873,348.73276 z "
style="fill:#b95800;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:1px;stroke-linecap:butt;stroke-linejoin:miter;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path1291" /> d="M 237.05739,354.63953 C 219.38312,341.17314 194.53386,329.54994 191.78049,305.20441 C 189.02714,280.85889 184.51647,249.13577 208.75029,238.99585 C 232.98409,228.85592 300.69299,231.81762 328.4414,236.43285 C 356.18982,241.04808 388.785,243.63532 401.42219,261.52729 C 414.05938,279.41926 407.69015,300.62798 401.51123,319.43911 C 395.33229,338.25024 363.16226,359.82372 351.1405,363.69489 C 339.11875,367.56606 308.8518,365.16362 287.89776,363.50039 C 266.94372,361.83716 237.05739,354.63953 237.05739,354.63953 z "
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:1px;stroke-linecap:butt;stroke-linejoin:miter;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path3574" /> d="M 239.66424,350.68265 C 222.68473,338.09841 198.82827,327.21561 196.13443,304.52879 C 193.44061,281.84198 189.04534,252.27822 212.26394,242.88471 C 235.48253,233.4912 300.42343,236.39858 327.0449,240.75897 C 353.66639,245.11935 384.93159,247.60102 397.09011,264.2972 C 409.24865,280.99338 403.18682,300.7379 397.30227,318.24921 C 391.41771,335.76051 360.61311,355.78838 349.09244,359.36852 C 337.57178,362.94867 308.5398,360.64426 288.44074,359.04889 C 268.34169,357.45353 239.66424,350.68265 239.66424,350.68265 z "
style="fill:#b54300;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:1px;stroke-linecap:butt;stroke-linejoin:miter;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path1293" /> d="M 271.6399,202.6517 C 270.9546,211.28535 262.40025,217.6494 252.53323,216.8662 C 242.6662,216.083 235.22294,208.44915 235.90824,199.8155 C 236.59353,191.18185 245.14788,184.8178 255.01491,185.601 C 264.88193,186.3842 272.32519,194.01805 271.6399,202.6517 z "
style="fill:#ffffff;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:2.20000005;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:4;stroke-opacity:0.80540538"
id="path4334" /> d="M 372.13516,210.62852 C 371.44986,219.26217 362.89551,225.62622 353.02849,224.84302 C 343.16146,224.05982 335.7182,216.42597 336.4035,207.79232 C 337.08879,199.15867 345.64314,192.79462 355.51017,193.57782 C 365.37719,194.36102 372.82045,201.99487 372.13516,210.62852 z "
style="fill:#ffffff;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:2.20000005;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:4;stroke-opacity:0.80540538"
id="path5094" /> d="M 325.36091,261.97463 C 324.72958,269.99389 311.71384,275.50372 296.29297,274.27969 C 280.87209,273.05566 268.88855,265.56151 269.5302,257.54307 C 270.16154,249.5238 283.17728,244.01398 298.59815,245.23801 C 314.01903,246.46204 326.00257,253.95619 325.36091,261.97463 z "
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:2.20000005;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:4;stroke-opacity:0.80540538"
id="path6620" /> d="M 260.29649,203.99862 C 260.102,206.46646 257.94305,208.30894 255.47531,208.11306 C 253.00758,207.91718 251.16632,205.75719 251.36358,203.28957 C 251.55807,200.82173 253.71703,198.97926 256.18476,199.17514 C 258.6525,199.37101 260.49375,201.531 260.29649,203.99862 z "
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:2.20000005;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:4;stroke-opacity:0.80540538"
id="path6622" /> d="M 358.29265,215.14802 C 358.0479,218.23147 355.34987,220.53269 352.26642,220.28794 C 349.18298,220.04319 346.88176,217.34515 347.1265,214.26171 C 347.37125,211.17826 350.06929,208.87704 353.15274,209.12179 C 356.23618,209.36654 358.5374,212.06458 358.29265,215.14802 z "
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:2.20000005;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:4;stroke-opacity:0.80540538"
id="path6624" /> d="M 220.85469,302.99746 C 220.85469,302.99746 214.81539,323.98999 245.37154,335.40458 C 275.92769,346.81918 312.01387,345.18892 312.01387,345.18892 C 312.01387,345.18892 336.22486,347.03443 348.10005,338.98782 C 359.97524,330.94122 368.37285,310.81249 368.37285,310.81249 C 368.37285,310.81249 356.04058,328.45785 339.87619,333.9167 C 323.7118,339.37555 262.44645,337.30228 245.11241,329.18449 C 227.77837,321.0667 220.85469,302.99746 220.85469,302.99746 z "
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:1px;stroke-linecap:butt;stroke-linejoin:miter;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path6626" /> d="M 178.6397,187.20987 C 195.61974,154.1109 205.08322,143.37982 220.25186,133.10158 C 235.42052,122.82334 221.15756,121.69121 258.46767,121.78214 C 295.77776,121.87308 235.19409,125.67593 216.26715,147.13811 C 197.34021,168.60028 178.6397,187.20987 178.6397,187.20987 z "
style="fill:#fea600;fill-opacity:0.28108108;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:1px;stroke-linecap:butt;stroke-linejoin:miter;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path14279" /> d="M 204.78759,274.57774 C 204.78759,274.57774 196.68266,268.19329 209.22515,254.83603 C 221.76763,241.47878 241.50934,245.91634 241.50934,245.91634 C 241.50934,245.91634 227.24639,244.78421 217.78292,255.51531 C 208.31944,266.24639 204.78759,274.57774 204.78759,274.57774 z "
style="fill:#fea600;fill-opacity:0.2918919;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:1px;stroke-linecap:butt;stroke-linejoin:miter;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path14285" />

And choo-choo trains.

xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/"
xmlns:cc="http://web.resource.org/cc/"
xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#"
xmlns:svg="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"
xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"
xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"
xmlns:sodipodi="http://sodipodi.sourceforge.net/DTD/sodipodi-0.dtd"
xmlns:inkscape="http://www.inkscape.org/namespaces/inkscape"
sodipodi:version="0.32"
inkscape:version="0.45"
width="500"
height="150"
version="1.0"
sodipodi:docbase="/Users/richardthompson/Desktop"
sodipodi:docname="Icon_train.svg"
inkscape:output_extension="org.inkscape.output.svg.inkscape"
sodipodi:modified="true">
id="metadata7">

rdf:about="">
image/svg+xml
rdf:resource="http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/StillImage" />



id="defs5">

id="splinearGradient3238">
style="stop-color:#6a93c5;stop-opacity:0.47843134;"
offset="0"
id="stop3240" />
style="stop-color:#ffffff;stop-opacity:0.625;"
offset="1"
id="stop3242" /> inkscape:collect="always"
xlink:href="#splinearGradient3238"
id="splinearGradient3345"
gradientUnits="userSpaceOnUse"
x1="59.171295"
y1="-11.099194"
x2="62.525135"
y2="-11.099194"
gradientTransform="matrix(2.8492461,0,0,2.8492461,8.2004005,57.372876)" /> inkscape:collect="always"
xlink:href="#splinearGradient3238"
id="splinearGradient3416"
gradientUnits="userSpaceOnUse"
gradientTransform="matrix(2.8492461,0,0,2.8492461,8.2004005,0.387954)"
x1="0.71867973"
y1="9.0637655"
x2="7.027091"
y2="9.0637655" /> inkscape:collect="always"
xlink:href="#splinearGradient3238"
id="splinearGradient3421"
gradientUnits="userSpaceOnUse"
gradientTransform="matrix(2.8492461,0,0,2.8492461,8.2004005,0.387954)"
x1="8.0507908"
y1="9.0637655"
x2="14.359202"
y2="9.0637655" /> inkscape:collect="always"
xlink:href="#splinearGradient3238"
id="splinearGradient3425"
gradientUnits="userSpaceOnUse"
gradientTransform="matrix(2.8492461,0,0,2.8492461,8.2004005,0.387954)"
x1="15.382902"
y1="9.0637655"
x2="21.691313"
y2="9.0637655" /> inkscape:collect="always"
xlink:href="#splinearGradient3238"
id="splinearGradient3429"
gradientUnits="userSpaceOnUse"
gradientTransform="matrix(2.8492461,0,0,2.8492461,8.2004005,0.387954)"
x1="22.715012"
y1="9.0637655"
x2="29.023422"
y2="9.0637655" /> inkscape:collect="always"
xlink:href="#splinearGradient3238"
id="splinearGradient3443"
gradientUnits="userSpaceOnUse"
x1="0.71867973"
y1="9.0637655"
x2="7.027091"
y2="9.0637655" /> inkscape:collect="always"
xlink:href="#splinearGradient3238"
id="splinearGradient3445"
gradientUnits="userSpaceOnUse"
x1="8.0507908"
y1="9.0637655"
x2="14.359202"
y2="9.0637655" /> inkscape:collect="always"
xlink:href="#splinearGradient3238"
id="splinearGradient3447"
gradientUnits="userSpaceOnUse"
x1="15.382902"
y1="9.0637655"
x2="21.691313"
y2="9.0637655" />


inkscape:window-height="909"
inkscape:window-width="1499"
inkscape:pageshadow="2"
inkscape:pageopacity="0.0"
guidetolerance="10.0"
gridtolerance="10.0"
objecttolerance="10.0"
borderopacity="1.0"
bordercolor="#666666"
pagecolor="#ffffff"
id="base"
showguides="true"
inkscape:guide-bbox="true"
inkscape:zoom="4.4275362"
inkscape:cx="73.112201"
inkscape:cy="22.179462"
inkscape:window-x="0"
inkscape:window-y="22"
inkscape:current-layer="svg2" />
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-linecap:round;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-opacity:1"
id="rect3302"
width="11.831129"
height="4.0953908"
x="90.563255"
y="46.339256"
ry="0" />
style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="rect2262"
width="14.788912"
height="3.1853039"
x="149.49138"
y="14.258696"
ry="0" />
id="g2192"
transform="matrix(2.8492461,0,0,2.8492461,7.062792,-2.1147839)">

transform="translate(-0.5589731,-1.1977995)"
d="M 7.0270908 20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 1.9164793,20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 7.0270908 20.8022 z"
sodipodi:ry="2.5553057"
sodipodi:rx="2.5553057"
sodipodi:cy="20.8022"
sodipodi:cx="4.4717851"
id="path2184"
style="opacity:1;fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
sodipodi:type="arc" /> sodipodi:type="arc"
style="opacity:1;fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path2186"
sodipodi:cx="4.4717851"
sodipodi:cy="20.8022"
sodipodi:rx="2.5553057"
sodipodi:ry="2.5553057"
d="M 7.0270908 20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 1.9164793,20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 7.0270908 20.8022 z"
transform="translate(4.6314916,-1.1977995)" /> transform="translate(17.16846,-1.1977995)"
d="M 7.0270908 20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 1.9164793,20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 7.0270908 20.8022 z"
sodipodi:ry="2.5553057"
sodipodi:rx="2.5553057"
sodipodi:cy="20.8022"
sodipodi:cx="4.4717851"
id="path2188"
style="opacity:1;fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
sodipodi:type="arc" /> sodipodi:type="arc"
style="opacity:1;fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path2190"
sodipodi:cx="4.4717851"
sodipodi:cy="20.8022"
sodipodi:rx="2.5553057"
sodipodi:ry="2.5553057"
d="M 7.0270908 20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 1.9164793,20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 7.0270908 20.8022 z"
transform="translate(22.358925,-1.1977995)" />

style="fill:#ffffff;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="rect2182"
width="82.362862"
height="19.339346"
x="8.882966"
y="32.583462"
ry="0" />
style="fill:#ff0000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="rect2163"
width="84.387016"
height="4.5047002"
x="7.6834536"
y="37.651989"
ry="2.2523501"
rx="0" />
style="fill:none;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:#000000;stroke-width:2.84924603;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-opacity:1"
id="rect2161"
width="83.980484"
height="35.072308"
x="8.2004004"
y="17.702604"
ry="17.536154"
rx="0" />

style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
d="M 8.1875 18.71875 L 8.1875 35.53125 L 91.6875 35.53125 L 91.6875 18.71875 L 8.1875 18.71875 z M 15.71875 20.75 L 22.75 20.75 C 25.775129 20.75 28.21875 23.193622 28.21875 26.21875 C 28.21875 29.243879 25.775128 31.6875 22.75 31.6875 L 15.71875 31.6875 C 12.693622 31.687501 10.25 29.243878 10.25 26.21875 C 10.25 23.193622 12.693622 20.75 15.71875 20.75 z M 36.59375 20.75 L 43.65625 20.75 C 46.681379 20.75 49.125 23.193622 49.125 26.21875 C 49.125 29.243879 46.681378 31.6875 43.65625 31.6875 L 36.59375 31.6875 C 33.568621 31.687501 31.125 29.243878 31.125 26.21875 C 31.125 23.193622 33.568622 20.75 36.59375 20.75 z M 57.5 20.75 L 64.53125 20.75 C 67.556379 20.75 70 23.193622 70 26.21875 C 70.000004 29.243879 67.556378 31.6875 64.53125 31.6875 L 57.5 31.6875 C 54.474871 31.687501 52.03125 29.243878 52.03125 26.21875 C 52.03125 23.193622 54.474872 20.75 57.5 20.75 z M 78.375 20.75 L 85.4375 20.75 C 88.462629 20.75 90.90625 23.193622 90.90625 26.21875 C 90.906246 29.243879 88.462628 31.6875 85.4375 31.6875 L 78.375 31.6875 C 75.349874 31.687501 72.90625 29.243878 72.90625 26.21875 C 72.90625 23.193622 75.349872 20.75 78.375 20.75 z "
id="rect2166" />
transform="matrix(2.8492461,0,0,2.8492461,98.981561,-2.1147839)"
id="g2216">

sodipodi:type="arc"
style="opacity:1;fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path2218"
sodipodi:cx="4.4717851"
sodipodi:cy="20.8022"
sodipodi:rx="2.5553057"
sodipodi:ry="2.5553057"
d="M 7.0270908 20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 1.9164793,20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 7.0270908 20.8022 z"
transform="translate(-0.5589731,-1.1977995)" /> transform="translate(4.6314916,-1.1977995)"
d="M 7.0270908 20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 1.9164793,20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 7.0270908 20.8022 z"
sodipodi:ry="2.5553057"
sodipodi:rx="2.5553057"
sodipodi:cy="20.8022"
sodipodi:cx="4.4717851"
id="path2220"
style="opacity:1;fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
sodipodi:type="arc" /> sodipodi:type="arc"
style="opacity:1;fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="path2222"
sodipodi:cx="4.4717851"
sodipodi:cy="20.8022"
sodipodi:rx="2.5553057"
sodipodi:ry="2.5553057"
d="M 7.0270908 20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 1.9164793,20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 7.0270908 20.8022 z"
transform="translate(17.16846,-1.1977995)" /> transform="translate(22.358925,-1.1977995)"
d="M 7.0270908 20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 1.9164793,20.8022 A 2.5553057 2.5553057 0 1 1 7.0270908 20.8022 z"
sodipodi:ry="2.5553057"
sodipodi:rx="2.5553057"
sodipodi:cy="20.8022"
sodipodi:cx="4.4717851"
id="path2224"
style="opacity:1;fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
sodipodi:type="arc" />

style="fill:#ffffff;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
d="M 100.80173,32.583462 L 192.42482,34.164476 L 198.01505,41.242411 L 183.16459,51.922808 L 100.80173,51.922808 L 100.80173,32.583462 z "
id="rect2226"
sodipodi:nodetypes="cccccc" /> style="fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
d="M 100.125 18.71875 L 100.125 35.53125 L 191.8125 35.53125 L 174.75 18.71875 L 100.125 18.71875 z M 107.625 20.75 L 114.6875 20.75 C 117.71263 20.75 120.15625 23.193622 120.15625 26.21875 C 120.15625 29.243879 117.71263 31.6875 114.6875 31.6875 L 107.625 31.6875 C 104.59987 31.687501 102.15625 29.243878 102.15625 26.21875 C 102.15625 23.193622 104.59987 20.75 107.625 20.75 z M 128.53125 20.75 L 135.5625 20.75 C 138.58763 20.75 141.03125 23.193622 141.03125 26.21875 C 141.03125 29.243879 138.58763 31.6875 135.5625 31.6875 L 128.53125 31.6875 C 125.50612 31.687501 123.0625 29.243878 123.0625 26.21875 C 123.0625 23.193622 125.50612 20.75 128.53125 20.75 z M 149.40625 20.75 L 156.46875 20.75 C 159.49387 20.75 161.9375 23.193622 161.9375 26.21875 C 161.9375 29.243879 159.49388 31.6875 156.46875 31.6875 L 149.40625 31.6875 C 146.38112 31.687501 143.9375 29.243878 143.9375 26.21875 C 143.9375 23.193622 146.38112 20.75 149.40625 20.75 z M 176.78125 21.09375 L 186.34375 30.40625 L 176.78125 30.40625 L 176.78125 21.09375 z "
id="rect2232" />
rx="0"
ry="2.2523501"
y="37.651989"
x="99.602219"
height="4.5047002"
width="97.583275"
id="rect2228"
style="fill:#ff0000;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1" />

style="fill:url(#splinearGradient3345);fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:none;stroke-width:1px;stroke-linecap:butt;stroke-linejoin:miter;stroke-opacity:1"
d="M 186.3499,30.412736 L 176.79399,30.412736 L 176.79399,21.084345 L 186.3499,30.412736 z "
id="path2260" /> style="fill:none;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:#000000;stroke-width:2.84924603;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-opacity:1"
d="M 100.11917,17.702603 L 172.95109,17.702603 L 198.88857,40.651213 L 184.09965,52.774912 L 100.11917,52.774912 L 100.11917,17.702603 z "
id="rect2230"
sodipodi:nodetypes="cccccc" /> style="fill:none;fill-rule:evenodd;stroke:#000000;stroke-width:2.84924603px;stroke-linecap:round;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-opacity:1"
d="M 159.50234,16.201897 L 150.40147,8.0111148 L 150.40147,3.005639 L 157.90969,3.005639"
id="path2264" />
ry="5.4605207"
y="20.752331"
x="10.248096"
height="10.921041"
width="17.974216"
id="rect3414"
style="fill:url(#splinearGradient3416);fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1" />
style="fill:url(#splinearGradient3421);fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="rect3419"
width="17.974216"
height="10.921041"
x="31.139084"
y="20.752331"
ry="5.4605207" />
ry="5.4605207"
y="20.752331"
x="52.030075"
height="10.921041"
width="17.974216"
id="rect3423"
style="fill:url(#splinearGradient3425);fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1" />
style="fill:url(#splinearGradient3429);fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="rect3427"
width="17.974216"
height="10.921041"
x="72.921059"
y="20.752331"
ry="5.4605207" />
id="g3435"
transform="matrix(2.8492461,0,0,2.8492461,100.11917,0.387954)">
ry="1.9164792"
y="7.1472859"
x="0.71867973"
height="3.8329585"
width="6.3084111"
id="rect3437"
style="opacity:1;fill:url(#splinearGradient3443);fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1" />
style="opacity:1;fill:url(#splinearGradient3445);fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1"
id="rect3439"
width="6.3084111"
height="3.8329585"
x="8.0507908"
y="7.1472859"
ry="1.9164792" />
ry="1.9164792"
y="7.1472859"
x="15.382902"
height="3.8329585"
width="6.3084111"
id="rect3441"
style="opacity:1;fill:url(#splinearGradient3447);fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-opacity:1" />


Which, unfortunately, you can’t see if you’re using IE. They’re cute, take my word for it. And semantical, too, thanks to RDF embedded with the image. All allowed, because the page is served up as XHTML.

(SVG images from Wikipedia. Artists: Aaron Spike, Richard Thompson, and Jarno Vasamaa)

(Per Sam Ruby, HTML5Lib should be able to fix the XHTML. )

Posted in Technology | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

The Opera Suit

Fascinating story about Opera’s EU antitrust suit. We’ve been down the road about Microsoft’s bundling of IE into Windows–which I thought was ruled antitrust at one time and Microsoft was instructed to discontinue such efforts, or something fuzzy like that. This is the first suit, I know of, where one browser maker has basically filed suit against another browser maker for not using standards.

The complaint describes how Microsoft is abusing its dominant position by tying its browser, Internet Explorer, to the Windows operating system and by hindering interoperability by not following accepted Web standards. Opera has requested the Commission to take the necessary actions to compel Microsoft to give consumers a real choice and to support open Web standards in Internet Explorer.

This echoes what I wrote last week, about IE 8:

My take is that IE 8 will not implement any new standards. It might, might, clean up some existing standard support. There will be no support for SVG or XHTML, limited support for ECMAScript and CSS 2.1…Instead, I think Microsoft is going with integrated Silverlight, and more tightly binding IE into the company’s desktop, all the while thumbing its nose at the rest of the world. IE is, still, the most used browser, and while it’s ahead, Microsoft is going to use this time to delay innovations based on standards the other browsers are implementing.

With the release of Silverlight, it’s not difficult to see Microsoft’s direction along proprietary paths, at the expense of standards. After all, implementing standards does nothing to help company share prices. As long as the MS fan boys and girls sit at Bill Gates’ feet, kissing them rather than holding them over the fire and demanding compliance, Microsoft does not have any reason to support standards.

The problem is that Microsoft has people convinced if it supported standards, applications would break. Look at what the Guardian wrote:

Consumers would no doubt be delighted if Microsoft suddenly shipped a fully compliant browser and discontinued IE7. That would probably break a large proportion of the sites on the web, and kill e-commerce at a stroke. (No, we shouldn’t be in this position. I wish we weren’t. But the fact is, we are.)

Developers know, know, this is bullshit. Other than a few kiddies, there isn’t one of us who hasn’t supported legacy systems while moving application architectures in new directions. Unless Microsoft has the most incompetent developers in the entire world working on IE, the company should be able to develop to new standards while still providing support for legacy systems long enough for people to update their applications.

What’s different with the suit this time isn’t bundling, so much, as bundling a browser into Windows that breaks compatibility with open market products–all the while seemingly to participate in efforts to standardize across browsers. Not only participate, but actively work to control direction–and timing–of standards to which it does not adhere, itself. More tellingly, using its dominant position in the browser marketplace to force such adherence. If that’s not antitrust, I don’t know what is.

It is the standards support that makes this antitrust lawsuit different, and it is in this area where Microsoft is going to have a difficult time proving its case.

Rather than sitting back, giggling at Opera as the fly who swats back at the giant, we should be lined up in support of the organization, and the organization’s efforts. It’s frankly obvious, with the release of Silverlight, that Microsoft is choosing a non-standards path for its future development.

Either we support efforts like Opera’s, or we just give up and accept the fact that the web is broken, forever.

Update

Mary Jo Foley writes:

Should antitrust courts be the ones in charge of determining which versions of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), XHTML, Document Object Model (DOM) and other Web standards are the ones to which all browser/Web developers should be writing? Participants in various standards bodies can’t even agree among themselves which version of these standards is the best. How are judges supposed to wade through the browser-standards confusion in a good/fair way?

If the lack of standards support allows Microsoft to advance with its proprietary technology, all the while holding back browsers who are spending their time implementing standards: yes.

Contrary to the pundits, there is much more agreement on standards than some people seem to realize. There are specific releases of specifications, on which MS has representatives. There’s also a neutral 3rd party test, the Acid2 Test, which can be used as a guideline.

As for the “Our customers’ applications will break” plaint, Microsoft doesn’t even have any support for XHTML or SVG: exactly how would implementing either of these ‘break’ customer applications?

The real key to this is that Microsoft is on browser standards committees, but isn’t committing to implementing the standards. Instead, it is spending time on its own proprietary technologies. Other browser creators are acting in good faith and spending much of their time implementing standards. So where is the problem from a competitive perspective? Windows comes with IE installed, giving it an edge on the other browsers. Because of this, and the still significant IE marketshare, we can’t build our pages to a higher standard, which means we’re all still stuck down in the IE basement. All the work the other browser creators are spending on implementing standards is for naught.

That, to me, is a double whammy. That, to me, is antitrust.

Posted in Technology | Tagged | 7 Comments