August 26th, 2009

I will take over the world--and you'll like it!

I was talking to Luke this morning about some really neat work he's in the middle of doing. It prompted me to think about how the security projects I've been in over the last 10 years fit together and whether I've accomplished anything. So, we're not really taking over the world, but we have made a difference in it. By the time I joined the IESG, there were a number of things I really wanted to come together: channel bindings, GSS/SASL unification, GSS naming. A group of us started to do that. None of these were my idea alone; I'm not ever sure if I came up with any of the ideas. We worked together. It was so slow; it's always so slow. Of course as what we did was viewed by others, there has been long attempts to educate, people who disagreed, people who didn't see the complexity.

Things have been moving so slow that I didn't really even notice they were moving at all. They are though. Huge chunks are coming together. I'll talk about the technology over the coming months in my professional blog. I want to talk about the emotional impact now. I'm beginning to realize that the work we did is making a difference. The difference started with how we thought about things; now others are changing how they think about things. Technology is starting to be built to reflect this new thinking. It's really starting to hit though that over the past 10 years I've been (and will continue to be) part of something big. I don't know if it will matter in its own right, or if it will matter by shifting the course of things around it. I don't know if it will be big enough that anyone else will be able to see the effects, but I'm beginning to really believe that 30-40 years from now, if I look into computer security, I'll find influences of what we've been doing; even if they have changed enough that few others can recognize them.

This is one of the most wonderful feelings in my life. I love that this has been such a team project; I've enjoyed working with such a wonderful group of people. I love that it's been sufficiently evolutionary that I can't find the edges—either in terms of what technology is part and what is beyond the edge, or in terms of the team of people working together. I love the technical challenge. I love seeing people I've never heard of taking interest in ideas I've been part of. It has been and will continue to be great!

Obviously, there are a lot of people to thank. Nico, both Jeffs, Tom, both Kens, Larry, Luke, Steve, Marshall, and many others. And of course if you asked any of the people on that list who they thought made valuable contributions, they'd have their own partially overlapping list of names. Technology is fun.