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Data Portability.org
Extending the OSI Model - Part III (concluded)

RSS, Microformats, OpenID, Tagging - all these formats, protocols and practices are extending the underlying philosophies of the OSI Model to provide continuity across multi-vendor environments.

In fact, an initiative to formalize this 'extention' is already on at dataportability.org. As they say on their website:
The technologies already exist, we simply need a complete reference design to put the pieces together. [Their] mission [is] to put all existing technologies and initiatives in context to create a reference design for end-to-end Data Portability. To promote that design to the developer, vendor and end-user community.
Notably, all the major players from Google/Yahoo/MySpace to Microsoft/Verisign are already a part of this initiative. However, this initiative, just like the OSI Model - has more to do with the developer/vendor community and little to do with common users.

And this is where DataPortability needs to differ from the OSI Model. The OSI Model was just about connecting hardware and networks, so it sufficed to get developers and vendors onboard. However, with dataPortability, we are talking about seamlessly connecting software services that deal with Users' Data - not random network information.

It is hence of immense importance that users are made a part of the conversation on data portability. But what is more important is that ways and means be invented to achieve user buy-ins:
  • Proper literature and awareness campaigns to make it easier for people to comprehend technologies and protocols.
  • Tools for people to use the technologies while being transparent of their mechanics. Just like we have tools like feed readers and alertle that make sense out of RSS for the common folk, we need similar tools for all microformats.
  • Make it easier for people to transfer (import/export) and share their data. Data sharing between services should become as easy as pulling the network cable out and putting it back in into another socket; just like a with DHCP server I don't have to bother about my IP address (which is provided to me automatically).
All this is happening slowly as I write this text and we are slowly walking into the next iteration of the web - you may call it Web3.0 or Semantic Web - but it is here to stay, and we the users need to become the torch-bearers of the new world that's unfolding around us!

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