Christopher Spottiswoode comments from a Metaset/MACK point of view
(on William McCarthy and Julia David, The Evolution of Enterprise Information Systems -- From Sticks and Jars Past Journals and Ledgers Toward Interorganizational Webs of Business Objects and Beyond):

(Please first read my Introduction to these comments on your papers.)

Your setting of the scene

What a magnificently comprehensive yet beautifully concise opening sentence! :-

The semantic distance between the reality of a business enterprise and its implemented model -- its information system -- has slowly decreased as measurement techniques, representation models, and computer technology have progressed.

In our world of "penetrating computerization" into which we are being pushed [3(firstly), 12], we must rather proactively work to reduce that distance, so there you have most usefully put your finger on a key cutting-edge of progress towards what I called "profound congeniality" - as against mere "user-friendliness" - that we must be working towards (See [Jeff] and find "congenial" in my faq). More than we often appreciate, we are creating the environment (Find "Zemanek" in my faq) in which people will "live, move and have their being". See also my comments above à propos Mark Baker’s paper, on the increasing identification of UI objects with real entities.

Your sentence also nicely circumscribes the epistemological justifications for MACK.

On evolution in general

I can also relate most happily to your evolutionary perspectives, having myself long found them most enlightening and satisfying (See my reference to Teilhard de Chardin in 3(Fifthly)]. There is quite a lot (pp 92-104) in my 1986 book (advertised at the end of [2]) on the significant parallels between biological evolution and the evolution of knowledge and systems.

Of course, the species-evolutionary view is merely metaphoric, with all the potentially misleading parallels that might be drawn from any metaphor. It is also rather complicating inasmuch there is extensive interaction between all evolutions that one might care to identify. That can create a confusing picture! For example, social system evolution and species evolution interact in what we call environmental issues, changing the very operation of species evolution.

That said, the full evolutionary perspective is - I believe - a rich source of most appropriate interconnections for use in many educational situations. I can certainly attest that I have found that to be the case. So I look forward to your testing of Metaset as a platform for your own efforts in that direction.

On application evolution

As you point out, your "lower order species" applications should be able to interoperate with those based on the "highly sentient and highly interconnected enterprise models" which - I agree fully - will have their "predicted evolutionary emergence".

So on the latter theme I’d like to point out that in a MACK-based world the applications that will replace those "lower order species" packages will indeed have the simplicity that their users will need but will still be as comfortably interoperable. Joe’s SOHO simple buying application will deal with Acme Conglomerate’s selling application, Acme in its sales management will be able to accommodate Joe’s simplicity alongside Mitsubishi’s and IBM’s greater complexity, while yet giving the big ones the specially sophisticated treatment and giving due latitude to Acme’s friendly salesperson on Joe’s account. That will derive from the ease of refinement of MACK’s most general Business Objects.

I’d be interested to see you project your taxonomy into the politico-economic domain. For example, easier EDI-like interoperability will tempt Internal Revenue into putting its fingers into Joe’s pie. That will even have some advantages for Joe, like cutting down on his statutorily-imposed accounting hassles, and through up-to-date simulations facilitating his tax-avoidance (as against tax-evasion). But every Joe will instinctively resist it! At least, at first he will, but once he gets to trust the privacy that his integrated applications will be able to define and impose, he might get to like the idea after a while...