Phil Becker on the failure of oversimplification

Phil Becker of Digital ID World (DIDW) had this to say about Dave Kearns’ recent post on InfoCards (my comments here).

It may be mostly true “that there's nothing new here except” the decentralized and heterogeneous aspects of this approach. But then, that's exactly what it has taken a decade to fully understand is actually the only vitally important part of the task.

Until this problem was recognized to unavoidably be (and thus looked at and designed for as) a decentralized distributed problem spread across multiple administrative domains and extremely heterogeneous technology and platforms, it was doomed to repeat Einstein's “failure of oversimplification.” (“We must make this as simple as possible, but no simpler.”)

Elegant simplicity is always the most difficult thing to find, and the most difficult to appreciate as significantly different from what has gone before when it is found. Are we there yet? Probably not. But we are at last on the road to getting there instead of just standing aroung in the bus station complaining about how everyone fails to understand.

This is a very dense and immeasurably deep comment. I hope Phil will be able to explain this widely as he has so many other things.

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Kim Cameron

Work on identity.