Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Open" Foundation Overload

With the creation of the OpenSocial Foundation, the DataPortability Group (they'll need a Foundation soon), the Information Card Foundation and of course the now established OpenID Foundation... I'm getting "foundationed" out.

I wonder if the community couldn't do something closer to OASIS and have one over arching Foundation with sub-groups working in each of these important areas. The IPR could be consistent for all the groups, but each group would have it's own "board of directors" and control the results of specifications and other efforts.

All the different focuses are important, and new areas will arise as the identity layer grows across the internet. However, convincing "management" to join multiple different organizations is a deterrent to participation.


Anonymous said...

This is a good point and the list is longer than the one you gave. With respect to "identity", the Liberty Alliance and Concordia should also be included.

The proliferation of groups seems to have become part of the (un)natural rhythm of our industry. If you can't get what you want in one group, form another.

Of course much depends on what "you want". If you are looking for consensus and baseline agreement on an area of technology that will benefit both your company and the community as a whole, then the proliferation of groups is counterproductive. If you are hoping to delay and obfuscate, to confuse and conflict, to do it only "my way", then proliferation can be your ally.

I don't mean to imply that those are the reasons why any of these specific groups has been created. However, having many different groups addressing related but potentially conflicting agendas does open the door of opportunity for delay, obfuscation, confusion, and maybe even conflict. Concordia is an example of a group that has attempted to bring some harmony to the area of identity standards proliferation. It is a completely independent activity which is open to everyone. It wasn't established to become an overarching activity, but it is a place where folk from some of the "camps" do come together and share their ideas. We need more of that.

I agree with you that convincing "management" to continue to fund and support membership and participation in multiple overlapping organizations has (and will continue to) become increasingly difficult. We need to find a way to coordinate/converge (if not merge) these activities so that we form a true community consensus around the pressing issues that each is trying to address.

I hope your comments will be a catalyst to making this happen.

....roger martin

James McGovern said...

They should have considered making this part of OWASP...