IDTBD Summary

From IdCommons

This is a summary dirived from mailing list conversations on the IC community mailing list and the IDTBD list set up by Brett McDowell of Liberty Alliance. It is in date order.

June 4th Brett first raises questions on IC list

June 5th Brett posts to the IC list "Is this something you really want to tackle? If not, what if you weren't alone in trying to pull it off? What would you need from partnering projects to feel you had the resources to do this and do it well? Also, would you be open to being "sponsored" by an umbrella foundation but still operating as "a commons" without any of the membership structure that was brought up on the call."

June 28th Denis posts to the list with the question "I don't understand why any specialized group, consortium, or whatever, couldn't happily organize itself underneath Identity Commons."

June 28th from Eugene Kim "First, our primary obstacle has been resources, which is related to brand/reputation. Second, it's not clear to me that the right solution for all the examples you cited above is not to incorporate into its own entity, which does not preclude it becoming a WG of IC, although it is certainly a possibility for more than one of the cases. None of what you've described has anything inherently to do with IC's organizational structure.

June 28th from Brett If NewOrg had all the elements that these independent projects needed, and it offered a more economic and quicker way to get their project off the ground and into the market, I think the answer for each of them would be clear. So I believe what I have raised has everything to do with the lack of a fully resourced, robust, trust-worthy umbrella organization.

June 28th form Eugene Brett, you have me at a disadvantage, since you actually know what you're thinking about, and the rest of us do not. I'm looking forward to you dispelling the mystery, so that we can have a less abstract argument.

Jun 27th from Eugene I'm certainly interested in hearing about the project you have in mind, and I'm just as interested in hearing why you think certain aspects of our current organizational structure will have to be "tabled."

June 28th Brett begins talking about Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects

June 28th from Kaliya Why isn't Liberty Alliance a Working Group of Identity Commons? ... As for why not for Liberty Alliance - you will have to share that answer with us Brett.

In an verbal conversation at the VRM conference Brett is surprised when Kaliya ask him why he did not answer the question. He says he did not think it was a "serious" question.

June 30th Brett has a long post regarding many aspects of the conversation that unfolded over that weekend He closes with: So, let's start looking at the list of requirements we have collected, drop them under T1, T2, and T3 respectively, and shift our attention to how to pay for all of these services (with the going-in assumption that if you consume more form NewOrg, you somehow contribute more to NewOrg but in a manner that reduces your cost through leveraging shared investments and resources across the entire community).

June 30th Dennis raises this issue As an interested bystander, I find the "NewOrg" rhetorical device very unsettling. This is particularly a concern since no real, concrete case of someone finding themselves unable to work with Identity Commons as it is constituted and under its purpose and policies has been put forth. Also, I don't know that anyone else is thinking in terms of a speculative "NewOrg." This abstract speculation strikes me as unhealthy. Please provide a real case or, if that is inappropriate, have someone with the real case approach the executives of Identity Commons and find out what is real here. Finally, I see tacit assumption that there is a problem that availability of resources would solve. Rather than start with the solution, perhaps we should figure out what the real problems are? - Dennis

PS: I note in terms of what NewOrg financial support "buys" is exactly what it buys at OASIS and W3C and every other consortium (including in multiple degrees Liberty Alliance) along with maybe too much exclusive/private activity. Why the urge to become another one of those?

June 30th from Dennis For me, "gathering requirements" carries a tacit and untested assumption that this is a desired direction to explore. I think opportunity identification and visualization would be a better place to stand. This open discussion is a good way to sort that out.

June 30th from Brett Other than this side-trip between Brett and Dennis I think we are at the point of discussing "NEXT STEPS" on this thread. I think folks might need some time to chew on that before we can expect responses (I only sent it out this morning).

June 30th from Dave Kearns Next steps for what? While you speculate on potential problems with the current setup, and speculate about potential groups which might wish to join-up should the structure change, there is still no concrete example of a group that a) wishes to join and b) has a problem with the current structure. Why spend huge amounts of time and resources re-inventing something which may end up not attracting more participants while alienating existing ones?


July 1 from Brett I guess Dave and Eugene don't see a problem. That's ok. For those who do see a problem and want to participate in the solution please respond to the NEXT STEPS section of the email I sent yesterday. I'm looking for feedback on whether I have the requirements accurate for T2 vs. T3 projects.

-- Brett

July 1 from Brett Quick update... I'm getting a lot of support and interest to work on NewOrg, but off-list just between the folks who do share this desired outcome. So I'm going to continue to work on this off-list with interested parties. If you are interested in working on a NewOrg proposal in more detail please contact me directly and I'll get you involved in the collaboration. The rest of you can expect to hear something more concrete from us after we've gotten more of this together and vetted by the Stewards Council.

Apparently taking this to the community list was premature. I apologize for any inconvenience or distraction this has caused.

-- Brett

July 3 Dennis posts this link to KILL THE BOARD Jim Benson notices something interesting about his involvement on boards versus social approaches:

No, I have nothing in mind about this. To be serious, I suppose what Identity Commons is creating is a middle place that has all of the advantages of the social processes that Benson remarks on and that avoids the spiral that he is warning against. - Dennis

July 11 Brett points out our "failure" to effectively fill out Quarterly reporting as proof things are not working at IC

July 10th Brett moved the conversation off the IC community list because he was "getting interest" off list

July 14th The VRM meeting was a proposed conversations about next steps. In a theater style fixed seating room Brett McDowell who was at the front holding the chalk listened but filtered all that was said through his own filter of what he thought SHOULD happen. Notes from the workshop are posted here

July 18 the IDTBD list is founded by Brett

July 21 the Open Web Foundation is Announced

July 23 Kaliya posted a link to the Community list of the slides Brett and company had prepared I thought some on this list might be interested in the deck of slides Brett put together and the list he has set up to talk about a new organization. .

July 23 Britta Retorts they are not "brett's slides" Thanks, Kaliya. One minor--but I think important!--update to below. These are *not* Brett's slides, but rather represent the thinking of a much larger group of several folks from several different identity initiatives (some are named slide 2). Brett was an outreach point from this group to the Identity Commons community since he'd been involved here, but rest assured it represents thinking and input from many folks. It's very much intended as a strawman proposal for group development, so feedback is welcome. As you see they live at IDtbd (because ID is TBD, thanks to Bob Blakley for the witty URL), and conversation/feedback/contribution/next steps are much appreciated.

Thanks much.

VACTION TIME taken by many people key to the conversation between July and August Including, Kaliya, Drummond, Brett, and Eugene

August 5th Brett gets back from vacation and proposes

I think we can and should set the goal of getting NewOrg formed by 1-Jan-2009. That means identifying who really wants to be apart of this as soon as possible so we can work together on the formative documents and operational details.

August 6th Don Schmidt proposes an adjustment to an IC principle

Dogfooding. When feasible and appropriate, employ the work product of Identity Commons working groups to facilitate the operation and interaction of Identity Commons itself.

(2) Likewise I believe that almost all of the Goals on slide 6 are admirable and should help drive the uber goals of harmonization and interoperability that motivated many of us to join this effort. However, I believe that the reference to open source implementations is non sequitor. Commit to open standards and open source implementations

All of the other goals are inclusive in nature. This one is exclusive; it does not portray equal commitment to COTS products that are purchased. I believe the goal of an organization that aspires to be an umbrella over the Enterprise Identity and Web 2.0 Identity worlds should commit to interoperable implementations, without restrictions related to their development or distribution paradigms. I propose that this Goal be reworded as follows.

Commit to open standards and interoperable implementations

Thx --des

August 6th Telcon happens Drummond posts this to the IC IDTBD is a placeholder name (suggested by Bob Blakley of the Burton Group) for a potential new "uber-umbrella" organization (or "uber-meta" to really load up the terms ;-) that _might_ encompass the work of Liberty Alliance, Identity Commons, and other efforts such as Data Portability. This work grew out of work internal to Liberty Alliance about its future, but has now become a cross-industry effort of which Liberty Alliance is just one participant.

Currently IDTBD exists only as a Google Group at Although Mary, Kaliya, and I are members of that list and will be providing a direct voice for and reporting back any proposed outcomes/decisions to the Identity Commons Stewards Council, anyone can join and contribute in the discussion. I encourage any Identity Commons community member who is interested to participate.

August 15th Elias Bizannes posts in this thread My suggestion is less focus that IDtbd is doing all this, and more focus on the communities it supports. This NewOrg should be more about creating 'co-working' space for synergistic projects, not consolidating them under a new brand or power structure. If we can keep that in mind, I think things can be a lot easier. "The purpose of IDtbd is to provide shared resources to communities that work to the betterment of the Internet". Perhaps also explicitly stating we are the little sister of the internet society, filling the gap for smaller communities that need a more lightweight support structure for now in their current stage of development.

August 22 Doc posts to this thread on IDTBD Is IDTBD a Switzerland or a Soviet Union?

Meaning, is it a place that's 1) neutral, and 2) the only place that can do some critical things that others can't? Or, is it a place that subsumes much of what others do, limiting their autonomy?

I think we want IDTBD to be a Switzerland. I also think some of us fear that it might have much more scope than that. Not soviet-grade scope (which is an extreme example, used for the sake of contrast), but enough to subsume and subordinate the primary missions of the member organizations -- or cause one member organization to subordinate another. (Which I believe was Elias Bizannes point in an earlier post.)

It's important to remember that we're pioneering here. We've never had a Switzerland in this space. Or perhaps in any space. That's what makes framing up IDTBD original, interesting and difficult. But I'm hoping the Switzerland metaphor helps. Bearing in mind that all metaphors are, by their nature, inaccurate but helpful.

Rock on, Doc

August 22 BRETT retorts in the same thread

I think we do have Switzerland already and it's called Identity Commons. I think what we are after is something more like NATO ;-).

Seriously, I keep coming back to the same observation which is that we are after something in the middle/gray area vs. either black or white extremes. I'm increasingly anxious to talk about specifics vs. metaphors or philosophies so we can be sure we know what we are talking about vs. risking the undesired outcome of talking past each other due to the use of terms that lack the requisite level of semantic integrity to be actionable.

August 22 Roger Sullivan chimes in the same thread

Speaking for Liberty, many members believe that the synergy and benefits that would be achieved by merging Liberty with IDTBD far outweigh the loss of absolute autonomy that Liberty has today. Additionally, many Liberty members recognize that under-funded community activities would benefit significantly from the financial resources and operational expertise that Liberty can provide to the "common pool" in order to incubate, nurture, and grow innovation in this space. As with any organizational merger, one has to decide whether the benefits outweigh the negatives and whether the union provides a synergistic effect that more rapidly advances the development of this space to the benefit of our members.

August27th IDTBD Conference call - audio recording and transribed text notes

September 3 IDTBE Conference call audio recording and transcribed text notes

September 8th in Anaheim California there was a F3F meeting moderated by Bob Blakley at the conclusion of the meeting (those left in the room) were asked YES or NO to the current version of the Brett+Liberty+others drafted from of IDTBD in the slides. Persons in the meeting wearing Liberty hats were 'Yes'. Everyone else was a No or a very reserved maybe.

Mary Ruddy and Kaliya Hamlin took on the task of putting forward a 2nd strawman for the following weeks meeting in Boston

September 8 David Recordon posts notes of the meeting in Anaheim

September 16 Mary Ruddy posts the IDTBD Strawman 2 to IC list

This was worked on by Kaliya Hamlin and Mary Ruddy as an action item coming out of the Sept 8 F2F in Anaheim. It was reviewed and commented on by Drummond Reed, Eugene Kim and Bob Blakley before being posted. This proposal seeks to evolve the existing IC community model to meet the needs expressed by many parties. It

  1. Has a more coherent branding (it introduces prefix and suffix branding for groups)
  2. Supports existing organizations being a part of IC/IDTBD as separate organizations like OIDF and ICF have done, and large entities like Liberty Alliance would continue in time and integration/merger with community process would happen over time.
  3. Sets out a plan to have an action group form to address the need for a common community message about how the existing technologies fit together.
  4. Seeks to harmonize Concordia and OSIS working groups focused on interoperability.
  5. Seeks to harmonize both geographically regional and vertical industry outreach around identity.
  6. Has a lightweight core infrastructure focused on services for the community with an emphasis on collaboration and harmonization
  7. Keeps with the principle of self organization. It does not take community driven efforts into the core - these are guided and funded by groups. Having a light weight core reduces the politics and increases the ability of groups to join and participate without feeling it is a huge time/energy commitment.
  8. Acknowledges and supports corporate contributions to the community and facilitates a smoother integrated path of giving into the community but does not give corporate contributors veto power over the use of funds they have not contributed.
  9. Has a taxation model - so groups that generate revenue/have funding contribute a percentage to the core to - a potential percentage of 10%
  10. Changes the NAME

Sept 16Dennis comments on IC list Wow, I have obviously not been paying attention.

Sept 18 Kaliya Posts a long response to some of Rogers concerns about how strawman 2 would actually work to get key things done that need to happen for the community.

Sept 18Roger responded Feeling that the this stated concerns and constraints of potential enterprise participants had not ever been addressed.

September 19 Brett begins planning IDTBD meetings - suggesting a Feb 23 meeting

Sept 23 Notes for the Sept 16 F2F are posted

Don Schmit from MSFT asks

A single umbrella organization may not be able to serve all interests in the community There are at least two camps involved in the current IDtbd discussions. Please excuse the following generalizations which I make simply to facilitate a line of reasoning; I am not claiming that these generalizations accurately depict all of the participants in these discussions.

For the sake of discussion lets characterize these two camps along the lines of the existing Liberty Alliance and Identity Commons organizations. Liberty Alliance is structured to better serve the interests of established business entities, in particular deployers and vendors of identity infrastructure who depend on the continuity and consistency of their computing investments over time. Identity Commons is better structured to nurture the germination of new groups based on common interest between the participants who are free to explore innovation without concern for legacy investments.

Why should the identity community want to combine these two organizational charters under a single umbrella? What is wrong with having Identity Commons and a next generation Liberty Alliance continue to provide distinct environments for different constituencies?

and several additional people post in favor of two different but related organizations including Dave Kearns, Bill Washburn, from Microsoft, Drummond, and David Recordon

Sept 24 Brett posts a "strawman 3" this was known as version 1.5

Brett took the Strawman 2 that was developed by Mary and Kaliya and red lined it creating a "version 3" It now includes a Liberty like membership model and governance structure. The largest corporate board members have a seat on what is called the "trustees council" this council has final approval of

  1. Budget decisions for the core of the organization
  2. Manages any staff
  3. Has final say over how the BRAND of IDTBD is used - can prefix or suffix groups use it - their choice "One additional benefit to members of IDTBD is the final vote on IDTBD product that will carry the brand of IDTBD. "

The core of the organization does more for speaking and doing for the community as a whole.

Sept 24 Kaliya wrote this post about IC based on insights I had participating in the conversation these past few months. Based on things articulated on the mailing list or on phone calls.

Sept 24 Teleconference audio and notes are at

Additional background: Liberty had an annual strategic review in the winter/spring. They included in their analysis of what to do several "outsiders" who had full access to a range of transcripts of interviews conducted throughout the community. Those in the IC community included in this were Johannes Ernst, Nat Sakamura, Paul Trevithick . They are all under NDA and can not disclose what they saw in that process. Some of their input was included in the first Liberty strawman proposal for IDTBD.

Sept 24 Even with this input - Johannes asked recently

On Sep 24, 2008, at 14:13 , Don Schmidt wrote: >> Why should the identity community want to combine these two >> organizational charters under a single umbrella? What is wrong >> with having Identity Commons and a next generation Liberty Alliance >> continue to provide distinct environments for different >> constituencies?

This is an excellent question that I have not seen answered compellingly by the proposers of IDTBD. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with this question. (It can also be generalized in which case it is still true I believe.) Thanks, Johannes.