Thursday, September 30, 2004
While the definitive view on web services is hard to find - certainly a comprehensive introduction to all the moving parts can be found here - at Microsoft's site.
The big debate continues between the ebXML architecture stack and the WS* stack.
The two key discriminators for me are the differences between the BPSS and CPA in ebXML and the WSDL underpinning everything WS* is doing.
Basically this is a religious and architectural difference between formal e-Business exchanges, and raw machine-level interchange coding.
While BPSS and CPA/ebMS provide a formal interchange model with recovery and QoS parameters, WSDL does not. Therefore backend systems have to supply these Business Service Interface (BSI) behaviours and characteristics on the WS* side - and certainly you can see how extended this can become (with vendors naturally preferring their own flavours).
Anyway - the irony is that we have been here all before - in terms of the original batch EDI and then real-time EDI which was going to replace old batch EDI systems.
That never happened - and the reason is that only about 20% of business interactions need to occur in real-time outside the enterprise, while the remaining 80% actually need formal batch asynchronous exchanges because that provides control and minimizes risk of information abuses. In real-time exchanges you actually have to have alot more agent-based controls and monitoring software running to avoid DoS attacks and abuse of content, especially if those interfaces are publically visible. And that adds up to more dollars.
My bet is that ebXML deployments are going to accelerate dramatically - especially given that now an extended set of tools are available to support that, including open source solutions. So for external enterprise-to-partner exchanges you will see this 80:20 mix establish itself as the norm through basic business factors and pressures.
For the latest list of ebXML compatible tools see here.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
The latest edition of Scientific American has an excellent article.
Also - the resource site here is very instructive:
This is roughly in alignment with my own ideas for breaking the empasse that currently exists - and this is just a microcosm of what ails the software industry generally.
I have been trying to get peoples attention to the notion of using open-source voting software as the means to drive transparency in e-Voting processes.
My thoughts are that having an open e-Voting software code-based that is community developed and maintained achieves several things.
- produces an open public specification for the software process, the hardware interfaces, and the results auditing and authentication steps that can be independently verified.
- prevents reliance on proprietary vendor software - and therefore allows a wide range of hardware vendors to deliver solutions that are capatible - thus removing reliance on single supplier.
- ensures that software being used has underwent an open validation process.
- allows verification of the software used to obtain and compile the results using open testing procedures
- allows use of a double-blind check - where output from one set of hardware being used by the voter - is feed into two independant solutions - and then both must tally at close of voting.
- verification that the actual software used is the same as the open standard, (ensure what is loaded onto the machine at open of polling - and verify it is still there during and after).
I have not seen any discussion of this approach - and I do believe we need to move to open solutions and processes for this.
There are several good national standards bodies that could collaborate to jointly develop such a software specification and solution.
Clearly more debate and research on this is all excellent.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
America just does not seem to learn, from Vietnam, South America, Africa and now the Middle East.
Fire begets fire.
Monday, September 13, 2004
While the promise of open source software is substantial, there is a blight in the system caused by the US PTO - spurious patents.
The time allocated to a PTO examiner to entirely process a patent application is 12 hours. That's for all associated paperwork and review over typically a 3 to 5 year period from application to either rejection or acceptance.
The PTO issues software 100,000 patents a year. This is a mindnumbing level of incompetence.
Speaking as someone who already has two US software patents with a third pending - I can honestly say that 99.9% of these patents are worthless. Worse - when you do have a groundbreaking patent to file - the PTO treats it like the other 99.9% it receives - eg things like the patent for the key sequence you push on the ATM terminal to withdraw cash from your bank account - thus resulting in them not being able to comprehend a serious invention because it not at a "Fisher Price" level of numbness. The whole notion of 'invention' has been perverted and trivialized.
I originally submitted patents through the naive belief that this would protect the small inventor from predation of ideas from large companies. Again - this has been totally perverted so there is no such protection and relief even with an issued patent.
The best thing the PTO can do is to scrap this whole sorry and sad process, but unfortunately this has now become a major money making machine - at $400 a patent, times 100,000 - this is big money.
The very least the USGovernment can do is to rule that patents do not apply to any open public consensus standards bodies - such as ISO, W3C and OASIS. This can be coordinated through the WTO to be internationally applied to key software technologies especially that support the web and internet today - and are publically developed.
For direct action initiatives see: http://www.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=04/09/09/1612239
and for example of impact see: http://xml.coverpages.org/ni2004-09-03-a.html
This blight is a sad reflection of the inability of the US Government to act against the abuses of major corporations today because those same corporations excerpt undue influence through funding of the political process.