Monday, March 05, 2007

Eve 1, Kim 0

Aided by Jim Kobielus, Kim Cameron and Eve Maler are having a snit. Well, Eve's taking potshots at CardSpace and Kim's defending his baby....

As part of the exchange, Cameron states categorically: "No one and no service should ever act in a peron’s [sic] identity or employ their credentials when they’re not present. Ever." Bold and forceful, certainly. But also as wrong as wrong can be. We all (even Kim) often ask services to do things on our behalf - and don't sit around watching to be sure they do it! The most obvious example is my email inbox - it patiently logs in (as me) to multiple servers periodically 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. From time to time I visit the inbox to see what's there, but no way can I be said to be "present" at all times it's acting for me.

But even back in the dim dark past we used what were called "job servers". I well remember a compile server that we used at Thomas-Conrad - it was a NetWare-queue-based service which would login as the user and compile source code (a tedious, time-consuming operation in those days). Various folks would simply fill out an on-screen form giving names of files to use and the job server would compile them in turn, switching users as needed. And none of the users stayed around to watch! It was a wonderful tool, and one the users loved to have.

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