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Jon Bosak is a very mild mannered man that has had a huge influence on modern computing. Of course he didn't know that when he started.

So what was the data revolution he helped to get started? XML, the buzzword of 2001. His leadership of the XML Working Group combined with his political prowess is probably what made XML so strong in today's computing world. And of course the fact that they initially didn't know what kind of beast they created.

Jon has a background in documentation, and especially computer documentation. As a specialist in that field he was working with the fantastic beast called SGML. He was for example responsible for Novell's NetWare online documentation, and was one of the main forces behind the DocBook standard. He was also very involved in the DSSSL project for creating stylesheets.

After working for Novell he joined Sun Microsystems as a documentation architect. As part of that he convinced his new boss to be allowed to spend time on making a standardized definition that would make online publishing easier. Or to put it in another way, he wanted to take the extremely flexible and powerful SGML and make it more constrained and thereby easier to use. Together with Tim Bray and a few others they formed the XML Editorial Review Board within the W3C. They quickly found much more ways of using XML, as the old documents at www.xml.com and www.w3.org shows.

In the beginning of year 2000 Jon Bosak left the W3C domains to focus on the higher level standardisation done by Oasis. There he has been very involved in getting the ebXML language to become a standard. When I spoke to him about the ebXML project and why it is important, he passionately explained that he firmly believes that an open XML based standard can make it possible for people in poor and developing countries to participate in global e-commerce, maybe through email and dialled up lines. Today global e-commerce is only for large corporates who can afford a complete EDI installation, and in the long run this is not good for world economy.

Jon Bosak is generally known as "The Father of XML", but that is a title he wants to get rid of. He always talks about the team effort, and wants to give more credit to Sun that let him do all the work than on himself. A remarkable man.

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