[foaf-protocols] another webid app idea : opera unite, faxing, and webid

peter williams home_pw at msn.com
Wed Mar 23 11:13:26 CET 2011

Marshall Rose got into trouble from the old AT&T at the outset of the
commercial internet, by showing how easy it was to replace the fax machine -
with an internet listener and a printer. The old telcos quickly got that
regulated out of existence by US govt. 


But, with opera unite, one can have the same thing. Can one imagine opera
unite exposing an endpoint that represents the user's browser's default
printer? If one sends a uri to that endpoint, the opera browser pulls the
file and prints it locally (like a fax machine).


Obviously, the untrustworthy web will do its normal thing, and spam will
flow rapidly. So, it needs closing down. Only if as the fax-ing party one
uses one's webid to authenticates to that fax-endpoint will it do its
fax-thing. The endpoint considers the actual printing-user's foaf card's
friends list to authorize the webid's allowed to invoke webid-based
"faxing". Your webid URI has to be in the foaf group called "canfax".


Way beyond my skills, of course. I'm still trying to get client certs to
work at azure-hosted site! It doesn't really need a UML diagram.


I don't think things need to particularly complex to showcase that it works.
We don't need to counter OAUTH, or convince openid, or defeat the evil PKI,
or sing the W3C anthem "we shall overcome" the RSA patent (that expired a
decade ago, not that some folks seemed to have noticed yet). We just make a
useful faxer, using foaf and ssl. FOAF and its logical apparatus will then
speak for themselves.


So, it there is 1 thing that Opera browser could do.. It is: make the Opera
Unite apparatus be able to consume a client cert and then consult its foaf
card for the pubkey, when guarding an endpoint.

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