[foaf-protocols] webid group said... something interesting

peter williams home_pw at msn.com
Tue Mar 22 17:59:39 CET 2011


One has to have experienced silicon valley culture to understand what the
RDF issue is.

The America software scene is very different to the Euro scene.

Let me reduce it to a story.

The german tradeshow effort at the RSA conference simply outclassed all
other contributions. It always does. This year, the team handicapped
themselves to appear less dominant (savvy politics...). They brought in some
entrepreneurs, with good ideas, yet unfinished, and rather lacking polish.
The point was... put forward the individual, and the process, and get
feedback. Create a conversation...

One entrepreneur showed a way of authenticating users. The design of the PC
display and the iphone display looked like an engineering drawing of a
rocket/rover heading for Mars. It was classy. This look may fit German
market sensibilities, that respect that look. But, in the American market,
the look needs to remind folks of Elmo's first toy piano, with giant keys
and 3 primary colors. The entrepreneur could not understand this counsel
(full of English sarcasm), thinking I was being offensive to American
consumers (through my gross characterization), and because I didn’t
appreciate the look of the ultra-technical UI background of the rocket
design drawing.

This is where folks are with RDF. It’s a Euro-design displaced to an America
silicon valley culture, that can only do one step at a time. For example, it
can cannot re-engineer tabs UI so the self-signed client cert presented is
shown. What it could do is fiddle with the plugin API, so a plugin might
perform that role of contextualizing webid presentation, where HTML drop
downs present the foaf card associated with that SSL session.

Say this kind of thing, one gets browser vendors' attentions. It's doable,
in 3m; and "talks to" a big position, enabling 10 folks to have opinions on
plugin designs. It doesn’t deliver the big position directly, but it tests
the market to see if anyone really cares, at a risk of 3m effort only.



-----Original Message-----
From: Melvin Carvalho [mailto:melvincarvalho at gmail.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 9:40 AM
To: peter williams
Cc: foaf-protocols at lists.foaf-project.org
Subject: Re: [foaf-protocols] webid group said... something interesting

On 22 March 2011 17:34, peter williams <home_pw at msn.com> wrote:
> Take away from the webid group call.
>
>
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> It’s pointless talking about the letters rdf in a browser group (opera 
> excepted), as folks are still scarred by wars over a decade ago.
>
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> RDFa is “just about” a discussable topic – because its rendered like 
> HTML and works with today’s browsers. It doesn’t set the pulse racing, 
> and eyes rolling.

I do like RDF but for some reason the brand isnt as powerful as some others,
such as the Web itself.  I tend to use the term html5 to talk about the data
layer of the web, as people seem to have more interest in that branding.
Under the hood it's all the same thing, though.

>
>
>
> W3C is no longer formally agnostic about certs and ssl (while actually 
> being quietly subversive); it has taken a position in the mainstream. 
> It’s still looking for its mission in that mainstream. Webid and 
> others have indicated there is now a webby position to be had – 
> distinct from the usual IETF, PKI, identity management groups.
>
>
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> Techniques like webid can offend certain camps (e.g. OCSP) as they 
> invade the space (turf wars) by unsettling that which certain camps 
> thought settled (only CAs can issue validation statements about certs).
>
>
>
> Webid does have one message that resonates with W3C culture – its 
> focus on individuals (and self-assertions, UCI etc) – a space vacated 
> by the openid folks once they went  corporate (having failed to make 
> the right pitch to individuals, given XRD/XRI). W3C can thus speak for 
> the little guys in some sense, globally, attempting to find a balance 
> between individuals and corporate interests. At least individuals have 
> a space to have a say (unlike most corporate security spaces)
>
>
>
> W3C has long history in privacy and signatures (e.g. p3p) which shows 
> a “policy” acumen. This has not translated however into comprehensive 
> family of related standards, that bridge the security policy and 
> global security practices where W3C has shown strong capabilities.
>
>
>
> W3C recognizes that it doesn’t need to do what IETF or Kantara does, 
> or have formal positions on the US national id program – as it must 
> retain a non-US centric position – being a global movement. This is 
> going to be hard to execute (since 95% of the initiatives are US
led, 
> having comprehensive funding and the dominant market).
>
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