This is turning out to be an historic week for the opening up of the Social Web. As it it weren’t enough to have MySpace indicating that they’re going to become an OpenID provider and Facebook unveiling some of the details of their ambitious Connect initiative at F8, now we have David Recordon announcing the formation of the Open Web Foundation at OSCON!
This collection of individuals (full disclosure: I am one of them), is taking on a very important mission: creating a vehicle to nurture the development of open specs. Why is that important and urgent? Well, every grass roots effort, whether OpenID, OAuth, or something yet to be dreamt up, needs to work through a whole lot of issues to go from great idea to finalized spec that companies large and small feel comfortable implementing. In particular, large companies want to make sure that they can adopt these building blocks without fear of being sued for infringing on somebody’s intellectual property rights. Absent the creation of this new organization, we were likely to see each new effort potentially creating yet-another-foundation to tackle what is essentially a common set of requirements.
The list of individuals involved includes key people from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo, SixApart, Vidoop, and others, a good sign of the broad support this initiative launches with. (Although it should be noted that the people are joining as individuals, not as official representative of their employers. Separately, companies can become sponsors.) I hope that this will mean more open spec building blocks sooner. Go, Open Web Foundation, go!
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