Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.



I forgot about XNSORG…I had looked at it several years ago, and they, or rather their parent? OneName had a service where you could “reserve” your name. Their hope was to build it into browsers, much like some of the other keyword or for-pay naming systems that didn’t use DNS. They had a plug-in that you could download, and when you typed in an id that was in their system – like BorisMann – it would return a “profile” page with as much or as little public info as you wanted. I can’t find the service anymore. I will have to email PhilW and ask him – I think he was the only other person that I persuaded to set up an account.

I have talked at length in the past about how URLs and domain names don’t matter – with the size of the web now, searching/requesting info is the way that connections are made. Not to say that a good, clean URL isn’t good – it will help you in branding efforts in print and other media (it has to be easy to say as well).

Which brings me to an excellent post – Drummond on the Three Generations of the ’Net:

What we are trying to do, Bruce, is create a "common identity infrastructure" - the third major layer in the evolution of the net. The first layer - the Internet itself - is a "common networking infrastructure", a way of linking any two devices on any two networks so that they could exchange packets with each other. The second layer - the Web - is a "common document infrastructure", a way of linking any two documents on any two websites so they can exchange pointers with each other.

The third layer is not about machines and packets or documents and websites but people and organizations. That’s why it fits so neatly under the rubric of “social protocols”. A common identity infrastructure is a way of linking any two people or organizations in any two communities so they can share data with each other.

Go read the whole thing. Again, I think the term “identity” is a bit too big-brother-ish. Call it a common naming infrastructure, or…something. Also as mentioned in the article, first person to get code up and running wins. Of course, competition is good as well, so I would love to see two equally well-constructed APIs.

Two protocols are mentioned:

XDI: I’m going to guess this is an “eXtensible Digital Identity”, but some Google searches aren’t turning up anything…OK, found it. It’s part of the XNS spec, being an XNS Resource Identifier. Basically, this would mean it is the “URL” format for XRI.

XRI: Aahh…this turned up more hits: an “eXtensible Resource Identifier”:

The purpose of this TC is to define a URI scheme and a corresponding URN namespace for distributed directory services that enable the identification of resources (including people and organizations) and the sharing of data across domains, enterprises, and applications.
This from the XRI Technical Committee, which apparently got formed in January.

Hmmm…it’s now all coming back to me. I was (well, still am) very interested in agents – basically mobile code that can travel through systems. This interview with Drummond Reed speaks more about web agents, although in context, I think that profiles would be the accepted term today. His ideas on revenue are revealing:

We will provide services. This will include various web agent-based services for individuals and businesses. Essentially it is a White Pages/Yellow Pages model: largely free to individuals, but businesses pay for these services.
OK. Off to read some XNS technical specs.