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Web Services Strategies

Beyond the technology, IT strategies for implementation of Web services by Doug Kaye.

Liberty Alliance Has Missed the Point "...while users may welcome this kind of convenience, they will do so only if it doesn't cost them in privacy and security...[and with regard to the Liberty Alliance specification] you can't help but notice that there are far too many 'shoulds' and not enough 'wills' or 'musts.'" [Source: Jim Rapoza at eWeek]
Posted Monday, November 24, 2003 5:57:38 PM   

SCO v. IBM If the GPL means what it says, SCO loses its trade secret lawsuit against IBM, and cannot carry out its threats against users of the Linux kernel. But if the GPL is not a valid and effective copyright permission, by what right is SCO distributing the copyrighted works of Linux's contributors, and the authors of all the other copyrighted software it currently purports to distribute under GPL?" according to Eben Moglen, a professor of law at Columbia University Law School and the general counsel of the Free Software Foundation as reported in this interesting article in eWeek.
Posted Monday, November 24, 2003 11:49:16 AM   

Viva Las Vegas Last week I shuttled back and forth between three conferences: COMDEX, cdXpo, and Apachecon. They were so different, they might was well have been hosted on different planets.

COMDEX was a miniature version of its former self. The conference that used to take over every hotel room and every inch of exhibit-hall space in Las Vegas now fits into just a portion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. You can walk the floor in less than one day. The mix of exhibitors was the same as always: from scaled-down Microsoft and Intel booths to the Asian OEMs offering everything from PC cabinets, patch cables, and CD-ROM manufacturing machines. Even those guys that sell shrink-wrap machines were still there. It remains shoulder-to-shoulder in the aisles, though, so it continues to be a look-don't-talk kind of event. The importance of COMDEX has always been the opportunity to schedule meetings in advance with people coming from far away rather than the conference or exhibits. I did get to see Bill Gates' opening keynote in the huge (7,000 seat) Aladdin Theatre, but as others have already reported...boooring!

Jupitermedia's cdXpo was the new event in town, held at the Mandalay Bay resort. (The conference facilities are great, but it's a half-mile walk from parking to the meeting rooms.) Attendance-wise, this show was a disaster. Rooms set for 100 often had less than ten people. I sat in on one panel discussion in which the panelists nearly outnumbered those in the audience. Hey...at least the audience menbers all had opportunities to ask their personal questions. The most anticipated presentation was the keynote by SCO's CEO, Darl McBride. But in a room that could hold perhaps 1,000, I'd say fewer than 100 showed up. This was the second Jupitermedia event I've been to in the past 30 days, and the second that was woefully under-attended. In these tight economic times, it's hard enough to produce a successful conference, even if you're the #1 show in your industry. But Alan Meckler's company seems to be trying to compete with the #2 or #3 conference in each niche, and that's gotta be tough on the wallet.

In stark contrast to cdXpo's quiet and empty rooms, Apachecon 2003 was packed and abuzz. This conference continues to be one of the major geekfests of the year with in-depth presentations on virtually every package supported by the Apache Software Foundation. Unofficially, there were over 400 attendees: only 1/100th the attendance of COMDEX, but 100x more valuable. As usual for events of this type, the real action was in the BOFs and the opportunity to meet people outside of the conference rooms. I had a chance to interview the grandfather of Apache, Brian Behlendorf, and PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf (to be posted) for IT Conversations.

Overall? I'll be at Apachecon 2004, pass on COMDEX, and probably won't have to decide about cdXpo--I'd be surprised to see it back next year.
Posted Monday, November 24, 2003 7:29:34 AM   

Benson: Liability and Federated Identity Carol writes, "...liability transfer is the 800-pound gorilla everyone wants to wrestle...I believe large-scale identity federations will all operate with explicit disavowals of liability." She explains that while liability transfer functions in payment networks, it doesn't make sense for general-purpose federated-identity circles of trust.

But reading Carol's essay, I'm again thinking of the limited value of federated identity for consumer applications. If my business partners won't assume liability for the identities they assert, I'll need to re-authenticate consumers before I accept high-value transaction from them. In other words, I may accept a federated identity while someone is shopping, but at checkout time I'll still need to ask for a password, etc. Given the shop/buy ratio of most consumers, that's better than nothing, but hardly the quantum increase in consumer convenience federated identity has been promising.

As Carol says, liability transfer doesn't make sense in most federated-identity networks. I see that as another indication of the limited value of such networks.
Posted Monday, November 24, 2003 6:43:56 AM   



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