[cap-talk] Re: "capabilities" as data vs. as descriptors - te
nse of capability work
alan.karp at hp.com
Tue May 4 14:17:41 EDT 2004
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cap-talk-bounces at mail.eros-os.org
> [mailto:cap-talk-bounces at mail.eros-os.org] On Behalf Of Jed Donnelley
> Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 8:18 PM
> To: General discussions concerning capability systems.
> Subject: RE: [cap-talk] Re: "capabilities" as data vs. as
> descriptors - tense of capability work
> Arg! Actually I sympathize. I assume that in the case where
> a process had
> a capability with the "Do-Not-Delegate" bit set it would be
> forced to proxy
> such delegation if it still wished to "delegate"? There is where our
> "inalienable right" to communicate rights came in. We didn't
> believe in
> forcing people (programs) to proxy just to share a right that
> they had.
I agree except for the problem of rights amplification.
> One thing I'd like to get cleared up is the tense of this
> discussion. You
> refer to e-speak Beta 2.2 in the past tense. My work on the
> NLTSS system
> is certainly in the past tense. I'm not sure about KeyKOS
> these days, but
> certainly most of that work was past tense. As I understand
> EROS it is an
> active project, though seemingly mostly a research project?
> What is the
> activity of the work being done at HP? Can somebody point me
> to any sort
> of historical thread from the HP work, the CapDesk stuff, etc.
There's no historical thread of the HP work, except what resides in a few heads and some disk space. Here's a brief rundown.
In 1990, I realized that it was easier to collaborate with someone on the same computer than with someone on a different computer. My solution was to put everyone in the world on the same computer, the "Global Computer". Since this wasn't going to be one piece of physical hardware, the problem became making all the computers in the world look like one computer. I wrote an IBM tech report and gave several talks on the subject, but the referees hated the idea, so it was never published. I was working for IBM at the time, and they weren't interested in pursuing the matter.
In May of 1992, I gave my talk at HP, and in June I joined the company. In 1995, I was asked to repeat the talk. Joel Birnbaum, the director of HP Labs, heard about it but had a conflict, so he asked me to repeat it for him. The ideas fit nicely with his vision of an information utility. At the end of the talk, he asked me if I'd like 6 months to work on it.
I started working on the first prototype in October of 1995, and by the next spring Bill Rozas and I had a nice demo, which you can get from
Shortly thereafter, Arindam Banerji joined the group and we, along with Rajiv Gupta, spent several months rearchtecting the system. We also went into "sales" mode. By the end of 1998, we got permission to form what became the e-speak product group. We had several releases in the next 12 months, but the Beta 2.2, which we delivered in December of 1999, was the first one that could be used commercially.
That was the height of the dot com boom, and B2B was all the rage. Management decided to retarget the product from the global computer vision to be a B2B platform. That decision led to changes in the architecture, the major one being the replacement of split capabilities with SPKI certificates. The first version of the product came out in the summer of 2000, and there were 5 customers running businesses on the platform within 6 months.
HP bought BlueStone, an app server company, in early 2001. HP shut down all its middleware projects in March of 2001. I believe that was because some high level manager was convinced that "app server" and "middleware" were the same thing. Interestingly, Slovenia came live with their mTicka system in May of 2001, which caused some consternation in the advertising department.
> --Jed http://www.nersc.gov/~jed/
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