The meeting followed this agenda:
The meeting convened at 13:00 on Monday, 11 September 1995 in the Executive Boardroom of the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa, Canada. Craig Thompson (TI) chaired the session and Shel Sutton (Mitre) took minutes. The meeting was adjourned at 16:45.
Thompson introduced himself and co-organizer Sutton and explained the unofficial nature of the meeting. He reminded everyone of the vote to create the Internet Special Interest Group (ISIG) scheduled for the OMG Technical Committee plenary session on Thursday afternoon. [The vote subsequently passed so ISIG now officially exists.]
The following people attended the ISIG meeting.
OMG members wishing to be members of the ISIG email list (email@example.com) should send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Shel Sutton will insure that all attendees of this ISIG meeting are added to email@example.com. [subsequently done]
Thompson related the history of the proposal to form the ISIG. At the last OMG meeting in San Jose, CA, in June 1995, he talked separately to Richard Soley and Chris Stone using the motivation provided in the Charter (attached) and both were encouraging. The OMG Liaison Subcommittee in San Jose was identified as the best OMG body to discuss the proposal, and OMG members were notified to attend via a brief plenary announcement.
At the Liaison Subcommittee meeting, the subject of an ISIG was raised. Attendees were interested. Thompson and Sutton volunteered to draft a charter and mission statement for the ISIG with a review by Huet Landry (DISA). Thompson and Sutton were designated as interim co-chairs for the purposes of organizing the ISIG.
During August 1995, Thompson and Sutton drafted the mission statement and charter, reviewed them with Soley and Stone, and posted them to the e-mail lists firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com on 1 September 1995 along with the announcement of this organizational meeting.
Thompson recommended that for the short term we should remain a SIG. However, we should be ready to transition to become a Task Force (TF), if and when we identify a substantial body of potential OMG specifications in the ISIG area. At the same time, if we identify new requirements that other OMG TFs or SIGs need to know about, we will alert them. There was no dissent.
Thompson noted that we will need to follow OMG Policies & Procedures for SIGs as soon as we are one. Things we need guidance on from OMG include how minutes of meetings should be published (can we publish on the WWW?) and what are the voting rules of the SIG (It was pointed out by Richard Soley after the meeting that SIG voting rules are simple: a quorum is whoever attends; any member, other than Subscribing members, may vote -- one vote per company.)
These P&P issues are duties of the ISIG chairperson.
Thompson then asked attendees to introduce themselves, state their interest in and expectations for ISIG, and identify any activities currently ongoing with respect to objects over the Internet.
Lloyd Arrow (TI) has been learning about internet for approximately 6 months. He is involved in TI product development and is interested in object technology and its potential for products, commerce, etc. He sees opportunities in bringing together the object and Internet communities.
Huet Landry (Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Center for Standards) is looking for the ISIG to help find ways of integrating and coordinating standards activities. DISA is responsible for focusing standards efforts in the US Department of Defense (DoD). He noted that DISA sponsors a number of WWW pages for information exchange.
Rainer Kossman (BNR) is involved in software development in support of telecommunications. His main interests are in repository systems and integration of metasystems and run-time systems. He noted that repositories can be passive or active as operational objects running in the metasystem. He is involved in research in semantic interoperability on a global scale. He is interested in finding ways of applying repository technology to the Internet.
Linda Fisher (Pitney Bose) is investigating the potential for Pitney Bose products on the Internet. They are looking at various strategies for such products.
Jim Robins (National Security Agency, US DoD) is primarily focused
on information security. He is looking to the Internet for object
warehouses, making services easier to access and use, particularly
Andrew Watson (was ANSA, now OMG) stated that ANSA is looking at distributed object technology in general. He posed the question "What is the Internet being used for?" His answer, "Only a couple of things, but basically retrieval." He noted that it is hard to build applications for the Internet, which is just the place where object technology can help, in his opinion. He noted that there are no transaction elements across public nets and that there needs to be more experimenting with internet services and objects. He suggested that Computer Graphics Interfaces (CGIs) are easier with CORBA based services. He also feels that CORBA over public networks will be liberating. He noted that the Internet SIG should have a Web page.
Richard Hoffman (IBM) noted the danger that the Internet may come up with 80% solution that could overtake CORBA, resulting in technology taking a direction away from CORBA.
Mike Ryer (Intermetrics) joined OMG last week so that he could come to this meeting. CORBA has been significant in his work. He noted that the Internet seems like a FAD and that little is really there. He feels that distributed objects will happen. He sees the ISIG as an opportunity to get some rigor in the process of integrating Internet and object technologies. He sees the biggest question to be: how are we going to integrate objects and the Internet?
Richard Deadmond (Mitel) is involved in strategic technology in telecommunications, but is moving a little away from that. His main interest is prototyping distributing objects through agents. He has chosen to use CORBA rather than reinventing the wheel for agents. He wants to find out what is going on in object technology and the Internet. He sees lots of opportunities, but warns that things are moving so fast technologically that traditional standards bodies can get left in the wake.
Ken Steffen is involved in imaging consulting. He builds products for Fortune 500 companies, but seems to build the same thing over and over. He is using CORBA to alleviate this problem. He is looking for ways to use the Internet to solve problems vs. deploying enterprise solutions.
Dan Andrus (Novell) is looking for ways to connect groupware with WANs. He is looking to CORBA for interoperability over the WAN and LAN. He is using Internet and trying to make it transparent.
Dave Gamble (Microfocus) is developing tools for people to build distributed objects across the Internet. He observed that people will create software with or without standards. We need to influence standards and be influenced by standards. He noted that Netscape is an example of product inventing standard. People do not want to wait for standards.
Lydia Bennet (OMG) stated the she was at the meeting to assist, if necessary. She is responsible for the marketing of OMG SIGs to the world. She is personally interested in electronic commerce and electronic distribution of software.
Sutton (MITRE Corporation) supports a variety of customers throughout the U.S. Intelligence Community. His interests in the use of object and internet technologies span the interests of all present, ranging from the concerns of users in the discovery, retrieval, and use of information in a distributed environment to the protocols and data structures used for information sharing on the most primitive levels.
Thompson (TI) started research on object databases in 1985 and has been funded in this area by ARPA since 1990. Over time this enlarged to open OO architectures. He came to OMG with initial ideas for an object services based Object-Oriented Data Base (OODB) in 1990, coauthored the OMG OMA, coedited the OMG OSA,and contributed to the OMG CFA. He helped create the ANSI H3X7 working group to address interoperation puzzles caused by the multiplicity of object models. He stated his view that IDL is an 80% solution for interfaces. He is currently involved in the National Industrial Information Infrastructure Protocols Consortium, which involves technologies for virtual enterprises, including Internet/WWW, OMG, workflow, knowledgebases, agents, and STEP. He is trying to coalesce communities through the use of OMG's OMA architecture. He is also trying to get ARPA to align with OMA where it makes sense (e.g., the ARPA I3 and JTF/ATD programs).
To summarize, there are broad interests and concerns in the group. There are a lot of other communities where there are similar problems with divergent approaches: digital Libraries, repositories, etc. Thompson warned that, to be effective, ISIG will need to rapidly develop specific targets and avoid the "creeping scope" problem that plagues standards groups.
Thompson next asked the group to consider the draft charter and mission statements that had been circulated via email to the OMG TC on 1 September 1995. What follows is a record of the discussion that followed. A Revised Charter and Mission Statement based on this discussion are attached below and will also appear as a separate document in the OMG document log.
Regarding the initial draft Charter and Mission Statement, Thompson asked, "Is the scope correct? If not, what should it be? With regard to Internet vs. CORBA, how should we integrate them? What are the interfaces for integration?"
He mentioned some architectural questions the ISIG might address or might refer to other OMG Task Forces or SIGs:
This preamble led to a discussion.
Andrew Watson noted that the federation of Internet name services is an example of how collaboration can work on the Internet. He also observed that OMG naming is pretty good and could be made to work with Internet, but many other areas are a problem.
Lloyd Arrow observed that the aim of the ISIG should be to identify those things on the Internet that are good and those things in the OMA that are good and ensure that an appropriate transfer of technologies takes place.
Thompson noted that in the mapping of OMG technologies to the Internet we need to identify the advantages and disadvantages of each. We have an opportunity for mid-course correction of the OMA and services, if such corrections can be identified.
An example of an OMG service that may benefit and provide greater capability was mentioned by Sutton: the trader services. He noted that one of the most vexing problems on the Internet is the discovery of useful information, since there is not yet a real equivalent to the telephone book. A slightly modified trader service could help to solve the problem
Bob Kaufman pointed out the need to identify gaps. He noted that overlapping gaps are of particular importance, since these represent problems to both environments.
Thompson noted that it is hard to have good creative ideas. We need to begin by finding a "simple little protocol" to bring objects to the Internet.
Andrew Watson observed that there seem to be multiple interests, motives, etc. among the group assembled. He wanted to know what they all are and which ones we intended to address. There was some general discussion of this observation, but it was generally agreed that we needed to address the entire spectrum from the most primitive interactions with ORBs and the Internet to the best method of delivering object-based services to users across the Internet.
Thompson noted that what we have here is two juggernauts, objects and the Internet, that are not likely to go away. Objects are here and here to stay, as is the Internet. What we have to determine is how will objects meet the Internet. We need experience reports to see where the level of experience is and what interesting work is being done and by whom. There are lots of things going on that are related. There are also a good number of symposia, conferences, etc. at which at least one of our primary topics is discussed.
The co-chairs were given the action to develop a template for experience reports to be posted on the Internet SIG e-mail list (and elsewhere) by the submitters. Sutton will compile responses into a single document suitable for publication within the SIG and, possibly, beyond.
Andrew Watson noted that he can identify two basic areas of interest in the assembled group. He termed them as being technology view and a view toward using the CORBA/Internet infrastructure. This brought about a discussion of why we are here. Are we here to define interface specifications? What are the problems that we are trying to solve? Of course, as a SIG, we cannot define specifications, but we can identify the need for them and either route them to a Task Force or upgrade to a Task Force, whichever is more appropriate.
After a 15 minute break, the meeting reconvened.
Discussion of the charter resumed with several editorial changes suggested. Each was discussed, but substantive changes were not made online, instead, it was left to the organizers to revise the charter and mission based on the discussion. There was a general sense of the whole being more important than what headings things fall under.
It was stated that we want to do more than just do reports. We want to influence the OMA where necessary. For that we need compelling scenarios to define requirements and to identify opportunities for OMG Task Forces.
There was a question of how we should treat the user view. Should we address users in this forum, or should we refer them to the End-User SIG. There seemed to be a general sense that both the technical and the user views should be considered in this SIG.
It was generally agreed that we will have to divide ISIG work into work items that can be done off-line, rather than getting everyone together around a table to chat. The experience reports will be valuable in helping us determine that work plan.
Relative to the Mission Statement, there were substantive comments. On item 2, as published in the draft, there was a wording change to reflect the fact that CORBA interoperates across TCP/IP and that while similar, the Internet and OMG name services can be made to be interoperable, to do that we need to know what are the mappings? Where are the gaps? Who should address these? However, the language in the mission did not support this, the wording "possible extensions or changes to" must be added to support these issues.
Relative to item 3, as published in the draft, the question arose if something from the Internet does not fit the OMA, does that mean we reject it? The sense of the group was that the wording of the mission does not preclude encouraging OMG to accept.
It was felt that there was a lot of redundancy in items 2-5 in the original draft mission. It was agreed that they could be combined to remove the redundancies. In item 6 of the original draft there were references to several Internet related organizations. These references were reviewed and changes were agreed to.
This began a discussion of the need to develop interfaces and,wherever possible, liaison agreements with other organizationswith similar or complementary missions. In essence, we should endeavor to create multiple inheritance situations wherepossible, meeting co-located with complementary groups when possible.
We again discussed the need to identify potential risks to OMGstandards posed by Internet technologies and standards. An action was taken to do an architectural mapping of the OMA/OSA/CFA to/from the Internet, WWW, etc. at the earliest possible moment.
A discussion of the draft list of Goals and Objectives led to the decision that we should present only the simpler Charter andMission Statement to the TC on Thursday. We will keep the Goals and Objectives for internal planning purposes.
There was a short discussion of the relevance of items on the list to ISIG. Relative to the draft goals, it was determined that item 2 includes a list that is not all inclusive, but it may also be overly inclusive in the sense that there may be other homes within OMG for multimedia, mobile information sources, and other technologies. Middleware services will likely be passed to the ORB Task Force and some questions on scaling to the new Architecture Board or other panels within OMG.
The meeting ended with a review of action items and work items that had been identified.
The goal is to identify existing experience with objects and the Internet so that we might identify a unifying framework to allow CORBA to scale to the Internet.
The question was raised: "Are we talking about CORBA across the Internet or a CORBA based Internet?" The answer is, there may be several ways to compose OMG and Internet architectures:
One way to identify the possibilities is to collect information on existing projects in this area.
Action: Sutton and Thompson will develop and distribute a template and collate results between now and the San Diego OMG meeting. [see below]
Members were requested to send their suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org for speakers at future ISIG meetings. Thompson and Sutton will coordinate schedules. Some possibilities were mentioned:
We need to begin to collect together a description of different ways the OMG OMA and various Internet technologies can compose. This work item represents an analysis of the Experience Reports mentioned above and may form the basis for an OMG Internet Architecture analogous to the OMG OSA and CFA architectures.
Probably the first meeting where we will be prepared to begin this analysis in earnest is San Diego, meeting after next, after we have collected enough Experience Reports.
Shel Sutton will chair the next meeting of the OMG ISIG in Makuhari, Chiba, Japan the week of 13 November 1995. We need to develop a standard agenda for future meetings. Suggestions included:
Sutton will propose a strawman standard agenda at the next meeting.
OMG and Internet technologies are already meeting and joining together to provide the architectural basis for enterprise integration. Both are pervasive technologies that lie at the heart of industry plans for better next generation application and information integration. OMG is the key industrial organization developing open, interoperable, component-based interface standards based on object technology. The Internet Society provides a ubiquitous base for distributed networking as well as tool suites that are increasingly linking global information sources. The Internet is quickly becoming the preferred medium for the electronic exchange of information, and, as a medium for the exchange of messages among distributed-objects, it has vast potential.
Internet and OMG technologies are complementary: the Internet provides tools for unstructured and semi-structured applications; OMG provides tools for semi-structured and structured applications. A union may provide a unification of information sources, making it considerably easier to access and operate on the wide range of data, information and knowledge. The OMG CORBA 2.0 specification (e.g., IIOP) provides one way that OMG and the Internet combine but we can identify others as well: use of OMG services to locate, query, and share Internet information sources; use of Internet tools like Mosaic to view structured and semi-structured OMG information bases; additions to OMG and Internet architectures for supporting business rules and agent scripting; additions to subsume repositories, workflow, CASE, DBMS, KBMS, and simulations; and more. It is clear that these pervasive technologies could gracefully interoperate at several architectural levels.
The mission of the OMG Internet Special Interest Group (ISIG) is to identify development work needed to better align the OMG Object Management Architecture with the Internet, World Wide Web, and various Internet tools and facilities. It is intended to bring enhanced interoperability, reusability, application portability, etc. to the Internet based on OMG technologies. At the same time, the ISIG will bring challenges to OMG from the Internet community on scalability of OMG architectures and mechanisms to make OMG technology pervasive. This potential can best be realized through the cooperative efforts of the OMG, the Internet Society, the W3 Consortium (W3C), and others.
The Internet SIG shall:
OMG Internet SIG Experience Report
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