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Masinter's Musing (blog)
Twitter @masinter


Sustaining PDF
Cloud services
Internet governance Metadata
Internet standards
Standards Orgs & Processes
Web history
Philosophy, semantics
Digital preservation
Programming tools, Lisp, AI


World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)


Principal Scientist, Standards, Adobe. My primary focus has been web and Internet standards. Lately I've been fiddling with PDF, and looking into standards and technology for cloud services. Other interests include machine learning, online education, social networking, virtual worlds. At Adobe since 2000; AT&T Labs in 1999; Xerox PARC 1973-1999.

Sustaining PDF

PDF, the Portable Document Format, was invented by Adobe folks more than 25 years ago; older than the web. Pperhaps there are things we'd design differently today, but PDF is solid, widely deployed, and actively maintained. For some purposes, there's nothing like it. I'm helping with some maintenance items:

Cloud services

I'm learning about operations, standards and technologies for modern cloud services.

Internet Governance

The primary value of the Internet comes from the fact there is only one, with everyone (and everything) connected. Governance (regulation, legislation) is local and hierarchical: city, state, region, country, with interactions relegated to treaties, negotiation, or worse. How can anyone offer a global service and be subject to every constraint of every jurisdiction?


Metadata is data about data: for a phone call, who called whom when; for a library book, the card catalog information. There are different kinds of metadata.

Internet standards

Computers across the network from different origins and devices work with each other because everyone agrees how they should work. There's not a separate Internet for Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe. Everyone does't agree without working out differences about the future, which is why standards work is "arguing about how things should work in future".


The primary way communication happens for the Web and many other applications:


The main invention of the web: using URLs for hypertext. You'd think the standards for URLs would be simple, but this fundamental part of he web still has problems.


File Formats and Content Negotiation

Internet of Things


Other standards

Sometimes things don't work out or have more narrow applicability than expected.

Standards Organizations & Processes