Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Identity and the "50 greatest arguments"

Network World recently published this interesting story:

Perhaps the only thing more fun than working on and playing with network technologies is arguing about them. Macs vs. PCs. Ethernet vs. Token Ring. Outsourcing vs. keeping it in-house. Here's our take on the nastiest, most colorful and in some cases, still unresolved network industry arguments. Read up and weigh in.

Yes, a few of their top 50 "arguments" are identity related! Here they are:

X.500 vs. LDAP - Directory services battle took turn with advent of Internet

This architectural argument would pack networking conference sessions, divide the room and ignite heated shouting matches in the early-to-mid-1990s. It was a case of the student overtaking the mentor as the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol was at first a simple alternative to X.500’s Directory Access Protocol (DAP). LDAP was used for accessing X.500 directories via the TCP/IP protocol. With the advent of the Internet and its reliance on TCP/IP, X.500 faded into the background even though it was later modified for use over TCP/IP.

Flashback: I'm at the DISA conference on the Defense Message System (DMS) in Resto, VA circa 1995. I'm talking to the DMS Project Manager - a distant relation of my wife - and tell him that DMS is doomed to failure if it continues to ignore TCP/IP and LDAP over OSI and X.500. He tells me that I'm crazy. Who's crazy now, Wayne?! See the associated argument about SNA and OSI versus TCP/IP in the same list!

Industry standards vs. proprietary technologies

It’s hard to imagine now, but there used to be a rigorous debate about which strategy was best for corporate IT buyers: industry standards or proprietary technology. Standards have won this debate, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t advantages to buying proprietary technology.

Oh, really? Standards have won the debate? Do we have to go back to that argument I recently had about MIT Kerberos and Windows Kerberos? Will the real standard please stand up - you know, the one that is used by more people. After all, isn't it usage that defines success and standards versus "Should", "Must" and "Optional" statements in a piece of paper emitted from the IETF or United Nations?

Let's not even go back to the discussion of X.400 (an ISO standard) versus SMTP (an IETF standard). Why didn't they both win? They are both standards?

P.S. to Network World (John, you missed this one): How come you didn't mention X.400 vs. SMTP? That was a good argument while it lasted buddy!

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Dave Nesbitt said...

I'm amazed they left out X.400 vs SMTP. I remember when I was in the Royal Air Force (pull up a sandbag) explaining very patiently to some keen young engineering officer why we were deploying a serious X.400-based email system instead of that silly SMTP stuff. Some bollocks about guaranteed delivery and non-repudiation (as if that's important...). We deployed Exchange server with X.400 connectors between sites and spent longer trying to devise a workable X.400 naming scheme that actually getting the damn thing to work. I think they took it live in the end, but I've no idea if it's still based on X.400. Mind you, there would be no spam with X.400. Completely unworkable addressing, but at least no spam.

Jackson Shaw said...

Dave, thanks for your comment and boy do I agree with your view. No spam, but what an e-mail address!

While I was at ZOOMIT we had to have our X.400 address on the back of our business card - go figure!