While the argument he makes is grounded in his distrust of corporations, which I share to some degree, his second point above is off the mark, at least for RDF."But the big problem is they believed everyone would work together:
- would agree on web standards (hah!)
- would adopt a common vocabulary (you don't say)
- would reliably expose their APIs so anyone could use them (as if)"
One of the features of the W3C's model (based on RDF) is that it doesn't push the idea that everyone should adopt the same vocabulary (or ontology) for a topic or domain. Instead it offers a way to publish vocabularies with some semantics, including how terms in one vocabulary relate to terms in another. In addition, the framework makes it trivial to publish data in which you mix vocabularies, making statements about a person, for example, using terms drawn from FOAF, Dublin Core and others.
The RDF approach was designed with interoperability and extensibility in mind, unlike many other approaches. RDF is showing increasing adoption, showing up in products by Oracle, Adobe and Microsoft, for example.
If this approach doesn't continue to flourish and help realize the envisioned "web of data", and it might not after all, it will have left some key concepts, tested and explored, on the table for the next push. IMHO, the 'semantic web' vision -- a web of data for machines and their users -- is inevitable.