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TBTF for 1996-04-28: Listen what DaveMan say

Keith Dawson (dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com)
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 00:01:01 -0400

Java prepares to descend into the OS

Reports began to swirl early last week that Sun was close to deals with several large OS vendors to embed the Java language directly in their operating systems, greatly expanding the potential reach and utility of the language. Such a move would give developers more choices in the delivery of Java applications and applets, diminishing the central role played by the Java-enabled browser (pioneered by Sun and Netscape) in most scenarios of Java's adoption to date. By the end of the week Sun had confirmed the rumors and indicated that announcements would be forthcoming at next week's Internet World trade show:

>>From Computer Industry Daily (1996-04-22):

> IBM, Microsoft, and Novell will integrate Java into their operating
> systems. The introductions at Internet World next week [reportedly on
> Tuesday 4/30] will provide for Java applications without WWW browsers.
> IBM will embed Java in AIX, OS/2, MVS, and Notes. Microsoft will pro-
> vide Java as a Win32 API, so Java becomes part of the Windows envir-
> onment. Novell will serve up Java as a part of NetWare.

>>From The New York Times Syndicate (1996-04-26) [1]:

> Sun Microsystems' JavaSoft division next week will announce deals with
> "half a dozen" of the largest operating system vendors... to embed the
> Java run-time engine directly into the most popular computer OSes, a Sun
> spokeswoman confirmed Thursday... The spokeswoman mentioned Microsoft
> by name, and said deals with a handful of other vendors, including sev-
> eral Unix manufacturers, are expected. Apple and IBM are among the other
> companies reported close to deals with Sun. Last month, Novell said it
> would embed Java into NetWare, that company's widely-used network OS.

[1] <http://nytsyn.com/live/News3/117_042696_124004_10834.html>


Netscape leads coalition to define Internet directory services

On Monday 4/22 Netscape announced three new server technologies: Netscape Directory Server, Netscape Certification Server, and Netscape MailServer 2.0 [2]. The significant one is Netscape's bid [3] to unify the industry behind a single directory service, LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol). All three services taken together put Netscape in a position seriously to challenge established groupware vendors such as Lotus.

LDAP is a simplified version of the X.500 Directory Access Protocol; an LDAP server or client can operate as a client to native X.500 servers.

The coalition includes 36 companies. This initiative is the latest in a long series attempting to set defacto standards that are not owned and controlled by Microsoft. Earlier attempts included ACE (Unix and PC vendors vs. the Windows/Intel axis), PowerPC (Apple/IBM/Motorola vs. Windows/Intel), CDE (Unix vendors vs. NT), ODAPI (Borland/Novell et al. vs. ODBC), VIM (Lotus et al. vs. MAPI), and OpenDoc (Apple/IBM et al. vs. OLE). Unlike these precedents, LDAP may succeed. In Netscape Microsoft faces for the first time a rival with a dominance in its chosen domain numerically similar to Microsoft's own.

[2] <http://nytsyn.com/live/News3/114_042396_154007_3845.html>
[3] <http://nytsyn.com/live/News3/115_042496_084003_23727.html>


Web sites that advertise too much and the surfers who loathe them: PrivNet

Beginning to tire of the advertising that is appearing at an accelerating rate on most commercial and many non-commercial sites? Tired of paying to download all of the advertisers' glitzy graphics? Help is at hand in the form of a piece of commercial software that an anarcho-syndicalist cypherpunk could love: Internet Fast Forward (IFF) [4]. IFF is a plugin for the Netscape browser that suppresses advertising. It also -- praises be -- stops blinking text from blinking, blocks Javascript and GIF89a animations, and stops sites from collecting data about your surfing habits via "cookies." IFF operates from a database that its inventor, PrivNet Inc., updates constantly -- you can set a preference to have IFF regularly download the latest data. If an ad slips through while IFF is running in your browser, send its URL to PrivNet and they will enter your name in a monthly drawing for $500 cash.

Pity the sites that derive their revenue from advertising; pity the companies that aid them, such as DoubleClick Inc. [5], set to make a splash this coming week at Internet World [6]:

> ...DoubleClick will show its system in action. Affiliate Web sites, which
> agree to pay fees to be a part of the DoubleClick system, send pages with
> blank banner spots to the browser, and point the visitor's browser to
> DoubleClick's advertising network. DoubleClick compares the request to its
> database of registered users and in less than a second fills in the blank
> banner with an advertisement geared to them.

> "We're really out to demonstrate to the world that there's a new way to
> do advertising to the world," said [DoubleClick CEO Kevin] O'Connor.
> "Everyone knows one-to-one direct marketing is the way to go, but a lot
> of people don't understand that the technology is here, now, to deliver
> on that promise."

Here is the amused response of PrivNet CEO James Howard <james at privnet dot com> to my request for a comment on DoubleClick:

> you don't know how funny we here in the office thought it
> was when we read the announcement by doubleclick. they
> just make our job about 100 times easier than on most
> other sites.

During its beta period you can download Internet Fast Forward for free from [4]. The free copy expires on June 15, after which you will be able to buy it -- the cost has not yet been announced. IFF runs on Windows 95 and Windows NT, and these will be the only supported platforms when it ships; a Macintosh port is said to be "under consideration."

Thanks to Bill Marrs <bill at atria dot com> for the heads-up on IFF.

[4] <http://www.privnet.com/iff.html>
[5] <http://doubleclick.net/>
[6] <http://nytsyn.com/live/News3/117_042696_130012_13199.html>


What "R" (of "RSA") has been up to

Here's a front-line account of work in progress by one of the grand old men of public-key cryptography. Ron Rivest <rivest at theory dot lcs dot mit dot edu> posted this note to the Cypherpunks mailing list on Friday 4/26. His proposal addresses one of the thornier problems with PGP, namely that of key management raised by PGP's "web of trust" infrastructure.

>>SDSI (aka "Sudsy" -- Simple Distributed Security Infrastructure)

> I have posted at [7] the current draft of a paper that Butler Lampson
> and I are working on, that may be of interest to you (PostScript only)...

> SDSI is a proposal for a public-key infrastructure, with an emphasis on
> how the infrastructure gets used in ACL's [access control lists] etc.
> Its main features are:
> - Flexible signatures (co-signers, detached signatures, delegation)
> - Linked local name spaces, rather than hierarchical name spaces
> or PGP's web of trust
> - On-line Internet orientation (principals can have servers)
> - Ways to define groups of principals
> - Clean user-interface for ACL's

> The draft still has some gaps and rough spots, but we thought that it
> was sufficiently worked out to make it presentable at this stage. Com-
> ments appreciated!

[7] <http://theory.lcs.mit.edu/~rivest/sdsi.ps>


Internet Privacy Coalition

A large number of American cryptographers, Net organizations, and corporations involved in cryptography have formed the Internet Privacy Coalition [8]. Its goal is to promote relaxation of laws banning the export of strong crypto. IPC is sponsoring the Golden Key Initiative, another one of those movements so beloved of Leon Blocker [9]. Sympathetic webmasters are enjoined to festoon their sites with an icon [10] of a key and an envelope, linked to the IPC's home. Here is a tasteful combination of Golden Key and Blue Ribbon [11] that used to reside on the TBTF top page.

[8] <http://www.privacy.org/ipc/>
[9] <http://www.tbtf.com/resource/knuckle.html>
[10] <http://www.privacy.org/ipc/logo/gk3.gif>
[11] <httphttp://www.tbtf.com/pics/gk_rib_trn.gif>


Followup: "Le Grand Secret" in English

TBTF for 1996-01-31 [12]

Declan McCullagh, tireless opponent of censorship, has orchestrated an English translation [13] of the banned book "Le Grand Secret" by Francois Mitterand's physician. You can download a complete HTML version (179K) from [14].

[12] <http://www.tbtf.com/archive/1996-01-31.html>
[13] <http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~declan/le-secret/>
[14] <http://www.well.com/conf/liberty/le-secret/the-secret.html>


Apple's Internet strategy: Me too little too late

Apple's newish CEO Gilbert Amelio plans to talk up Apple's future as an Internet company at its Developers Conference in May [15]. It's about time, now that everybody including Mrs. Fields is revealing themselves as an Internet company. Dave Winer made a plea for this course last January (in the form of a bid for the apparently soon-to-be-vacant presidency) [16]. Apple should'a' listened what DaveMan say.

[15] <http://nytsyn.com/live/News3/114_042396_084012_10781.html>
[16] <http://www.hotwired.com/davenet/96/02/index4a.html>


>>Computer Industry Daily -- mail cid@computereconomics.com with subject: Subscribe .

>>Much of this week's background reading comes from a boffo source of current news I've recently discovered: the New York Times Syndicate at <http://nytsyn.com/live/News3/index.html>. The site is free now but the newspaper says it may charge for subscriptions in the future.

TBTF alerts you weekly to bellwethers in computer and communications tech-
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Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com dawson@atria.com
Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.