Sunday, January 25, 2009

Backward Compatibility. Java, Mozilla, Sun, IBM, Microsoft

About a week ago there were press articles about SAP paying SUN Microsystem to support SAP customers with stoneage java 1.4 users/systems.

Unfortunately there is nobody who wants to own and support the stoneage OJI project that puts java support into Firefox. The new way to support java is provided through the NSAPI plugin interface and the new thing is called "plugin2". Unfortunately (again) SUN forgot - or never knew - that Firefox extensions have - if they want - all the rights of the Firefox user. SUN implemented plugin2 having java applets in mind. Firefox extension that use java were forgotten.

But Sun is very helpful to ease the pain and supports me - thanks Kenneth - in rewriting the java classloading stuff from OJI to plugin2. But (again) you need java 6 update 12 or newer for this to work. This version of java has a patch for plugin2 that gives Firefox extensions the necessary priveledges.

So currently there are two options for openinfocard users: either disable plugin2 as I discribed in previous posts or install java6u12ea.
When Mozilla stops support for OJI then there is only the option to install a current version of java. I guess that Firefox 3.2 will not have OJI inside.

This reminds of an email thread/t on the higgins-dev mailing list. Where most developers wished for java 5 in higgins but IBM's shogun ordered his men to commit harakiri should they become traitors to java 1.4. Well, I am exaggerating...

I guess that IBM does not want to pay SU... - Hm, IBM has its own java - IBM to migrate customers stoneage IBM systems to a better world?!

Other memories bubble up: Did you remember the news that Microsoft CardSpace was downgraded to run on FAT file systems?

Well, well, well. I am happy that openinfocard is provided AS-IS.
I will do my best to support all versions of Firefox on all platforms, but my resources are limited. So we all should be happy if we can always work with the latest and greatest software. Happy downloading. Enjoy.

3500 New Jobs at Deutsche Telekom

Today I read about SUN Microsystem laying off 1500 people. Last week I read about Microsoft laying off 5000 people.
Time for some good news: Deutsche Telekom says it might offer 3500 new jobs.

Deutsche Telekom is planning up to 3,500 new jobs in Germany in 2009, dependent on the economic development in its individual business segments, CHRO Thomas Sattelberger announced today in Bonn.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SUN ONLINE ACCOUNT Identity Management Stinks

I am currently testing the openinfocard identity selector with Firefox 3.1 beta 2.
Well, this does not look good.

The color/layout of the xmldap relyingparty is "different" to the Firefox 3.0.5 look.
The fonts look strange.
The layout of the claims in the openinfocard CardManager window is completely disastrous.
The generation of self-issued security tokens through Java does not work. No error message - just nothing happening. This is what I like.

wrong layout and wrong colors and rotten fonts

As a good member of the Sun / Mozilla developer community I searched SUN's bug database for something related.
The bug (6745455) "Firefox extensions using Java don't work with new Java Plug-In" looks interesting. BUT you need an account to see this! What is this? Still quite cool at this point. So I tried my SunSolve account to login but the contract seems to be expired. Next I tried my SUN Developer Network account but still no access to this bug. Well SUN Online is offering me to register for a SUN ONLINE ACCOUNT. Pseudonyms are cheap. Tried this, verified my email address, relogin, BUT still no access to this bug.
This stinks!
Now I have three SUN accounts. The first two because years ago SUN was not able to merge the two and after SUN forced me to create the second after they tried to consolidate their user databases (but failed). What's more: I can not find the button/link to terminate/delete the new account. Super.

So much for that. I will pester my SUN contact with the java plugin2 error now.
Thank you SUN for wasting my time.

The bug:
if you enter
into the command line of the Firefox console then Firefox 3.0.5 returns
"[xpconnect wrapped nsIJVMManager]" while Firefox 3.1 beta 2 returns "Fehler: Component returned failure code: 0x80570018 (NS_ERROR_XPC_BAD_IID) [nsIJSCID.getService]
Quelldatei: javascript:%20Components.classes[";1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsIJVMManager)
Zeile: 1"
. My guess is that this is an easy test for the bug that causes openinfocard to stop working with FF3.1b2. Maybe this is easy to fix in the openinfocard extension. I guess that OJI support is dying, but what is the new call to get the Java console?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

openinfocard codeswarm

A codeswarm video of code repository checkins for the openinfocard project.

Interessting for me are the times of much activity and the times of little activity. Maybe I can provide subtitles like "OSIS Barcelona Interop". I guess that those events triggered many code changes. This is probably a good chance to remind everybody to start testing for the next interop which ends at RSA 2009.

If you want to create your own codeswarm video, it is easy. The repository must understand SVN but that is probably the major obstacle some project might face.

DIDW 2009

This is the first reference to this year's Digital ID World:

I could not find it on CSO's website. The link there currently points to the 2008 event. Does somebody know more or is it cancelled?

To see the full epic movie from which I captured the picture please visit Ping Identity's blog.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Frightening? Geolocation

Two years ago I was working on VoIP emergency calls and how to determine the location of the caller. With VoIP the problem is equal to determine the location of an IP connected device. The security and privacy issues with this are "tricky".
Last week I played with the new W3C geolocation API draft and Mozilla's GEODE Firefox extension.

Today I restarted my "playground"-laptop and Firefox was restarted and Aza Raskin's geolocation demo site was displayed. I was baffled that the location displayed was my old(!) home address. But then I thought: "Somebody connected my WLAN-router to my old address" and that is why this location gets displayed. Now, three hours later, I wanted to power-off the laptop but reloaded the demo site. INTERESTINGLY, now my new and correct address is displayed. That is frightening. I am now living outside Berlin "in the woods" between Berlin and Potsam but nevertheless there is a connection between my WLAN or my neighbors WLAN to this location. I am not sure whether I want my location resolved by a server in ... whereever. Well, I don't have to use the GEODE extension and the loki.dll that is used by GEODE. Do I trust Skyhook who build loki? Hm, although my G1 and the iPhone too might use WLAN-location but I prefer GPS. With GPS my WLAN environment is not send around the world.

Nevertheless I might write a geolocation provider for Firefox 3.1 which has W3C geolocation support build-in. Maybe that extension (IdP) will use geolocation Information Cards to choose which claims (exact-location, neighborhood, city, ...) to reveal to the RP.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Playing Around with Microsoft Tags

Some see visual tags as a danger to NFC's breakthrough... Well, maybe; but only for a subset of NFC use cases.

Reason enough to try it out. So I created a tag at Microsoft. Had to login with liveid/password. Wondering when Information Card support will be there at liveid... And here it is:

Now we need the software from Hmm. Android not available yet for my G1. Symbian S60 is there but my S60 phones (E60 and E61) don't have a camera. My 6131-NFC (well) has a camera. I downloaded the j2me-unlocked program and installed it on the 6131 using Nokia's PC Suite's application installer. I was able to start the tagreader application and it successfuly decoded the tag on this page... but the phone has not valid internet connection settings...

Hm. Enough playing around. I might try it again when an Android G1 tagreader is available.

BTW: the tag points to the openinfocard download area. Well, to be more exact: it points to a Microsoft server that points to the openinfocard download area. So Microsoft is a man-in-the-middle. Do I want that? No.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

openinfocard is now on

I uploaded the current version of the openinfocard firefox extension to It is there in the experimental section. Sorry you have to have a mozilla account to download it from there. The future current versions will be available at the project's code repository as long as the extension is not in the section of released extensions.