Most publications and activities are listed here. Adobe 2000-2018; AT&T Labs in 1999; Xerox PARC 1973-1999. See LinkedIn profile for more details.
I'm interested in consulting about things I know about, most of which is reflected in these pages.
Some projects I've been thinking about lately include:
- restoring Interlisp-D to usability (as a kind of Vintage Software), to recapture the sense of fluidity in the development cycle that I've not encountered since, perhaps as part of the Computer History Museum and/or the Internet Archive.
- Long-term archiving of documents, including my own. If we are going to live in an all-digital world, we have to have a way of keeping documents for hundreds of years with little risk of undetected alteration. This is work I started many years ago.
- Internationalization of URLs is not a solved problem, and the problem is exacerbated by the poor attention to URLs in those developing Unicode for domain names. This is work I tried to get going 10 years ago, but failed to get enough participation in the IETF. Maybe ICANN or Unicode Consortium could help.
- A better foundation for a theory of the semantic web: treating belief as the foundation, modeling trust as an inclination to beleve assertions of the trusted party. Move away from denotation semantics and a possible worlds model to one based on Shannon-style information theory.
- The nature of the evolution of Standards vs. evolution of Open Source, depending on the authority of the ownership of well-known names like "http" or "GET".
- Explaining the jokes of RFC 2324, HTCPCP (The "HyperText Coffee Pot Control Protocol), and what exactly I was poking fun at.
- Working on Open Data with or without PDF.
A good chunk of my career has been around Standards, especially (but not exclusively) for the Web, in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). What do you do in a standards group? I would explain my job as "arguing about how the Internet should work": the Internet because anyone can connect, and your device or browser can connect to services built by different people. So everyone wants things to work "the same", but often people disagree about how that should be. So we get together and argue. The standards groups like IETF and W3C provide the rules of engagement and decision making, as well as Intellectual Property provisions.
What is a file format? A lot of my work has been in defining file formats, standards around them, protocols for negotiating formats for subsequent communication.
PDF, the Portable Document Format, was invented by Adobe folks
more than 25 years ago--older than the web. Perhaps there are
things we'd design differently today, but PDF is solid, widely
deployed, and actively maintained. For some purposes, there's
nothing like it. I'm helping with some related efforts:
- PDF and
Open Data W3C Community Group established to document "best
practices" for making data in PDF more accessible to simple
processing using readily available tools.
updated the registration of "application/pdf" primarily to show
the "owner" is now ISO (International Standards
Organization) and not Adobe. (also
- RFC7995: PDF
Format for RFCs: The IETF is moving (slowly) to change its
document format(s); IETF specs will be published in PDF and HTML
(and XML), not just plain text. Note that the PDF file will
include the XML as an attachment.
Metadata is data about data: e.g., for a phone call, who called
whom when; for a library book, the card catalog information. There
are different kinds of metadata, and different ways of associating
metadata with the data it describes.
Forms are an interesting component of
file formats because they imply a request for information, and span
the gap between User Interface and API.
File Formats and Content Negotiation
3470 "Guidelines For The Use of Extensible Markup Language
(XML) within IETF Protocols", S. Hollenbeck, M. Rose, L. Masinter,
Position on the Binary Interchange of XML Infosets for
workshop on Binary Interchange of XML Information Item
3778 "The application/pdf Media Type", Ed Taft, Jim
Pravetz, Steve Zilles, Larry Masinter, May 2004.
2854 "The 'text/html' Media Type", L. Masinter,
D. Connolly, 2000.
Context in Internet Protocols,
and Position Paper, for
Independence Workshop on Delivery Context.
2938 "Identifying Composite Media Features", G. Klyne,
L. Masinter, 2000.
The main invention of the web: using URLs for hypertext. You'd
think the standards for URLs would be simple, but this
fundamental part of he web still has problems.
- (2015) URL problem statement and directions
- (2015) Guidelines
and Registration Procedures for New URI Schemes.
- (2011) masinter-dated-uri
The "tdb" and "duri" URI schemes.
- (2010) ietf-iri-3987bis
Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs),
in IRI working
6068 "The 'mailto' URI Scheme", M. Duerst,
L. Masinter, J. Zawinski, 2010.
4395 "Guidelines and Registration Procedures for New URI
Schemes", Tony Hansen, Ted Hardie, Larry Masinter, 2006.
3986 "Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic
Syntax", Tim Berners-Lee, Roy Fielding, Larry Masinter,
3553 "An IETF URN Sub-namespace for Registered
Protocol Parameters." Michael Mealling, Larry Masinter, Ted
Hardie, Graham Klyne, 2003.
- (until 1995)
working group, defining standards for locating, naming, and
describing resources on the Internet.
2972 "Context and Goals for Common Name Resolution",
N. Popp, M. Mealling, L. Masinter, K. Sollins,z 2000. Who owns
a name? At the time, I was also on the technical advisory
2732 "Format for Literal IPv6 Addresses in URL's",
R. Hinden, B. Carpenter, L. Masinter. December 1999.
2718 "Guidelines for new URL Schemes". L. Masinter,
H. Alvestrand, D. Zigmond, R. Petke. November 1999
- (1999 talk) Problems URIs don't
99, The Workshop on Internet-scale Software Technologies,
Internet Scale Naming.
2397 "The 'data' URL scheme." L. Masinter. August,
2396 "Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic
Syntax." T. Berners-Lee, R. Fielding, L. Masinter, August
2368 "The mailto URL scheme." P. Hoffman, L. Masinter,
J. Zawinski. July, 1998.
1738 "Uniform Resource Locators (URL)."
T. Berners-Lee, L. Masinter & M. McCahill. 1994.
1737 "Functional Requirements for Uniform Resource Names."
K. Sollins & L. Masinter. 1994.
The primary way communication happens for the Web and many other applications:
- (2015) HTTPbis working group, trying to guide what happens after
- (2012) HTTP: how we got here and
where we should go, comments for HTTPbis working group at
IETF 70, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
- (until 2000)
working group which
2616 HTTP/1.1, which improved the performance and
reliability of the web significantly.
- (2000 talk) Issues using HTTP
at Open meeting on
XML in protocols.
- (2000 talk) HTTP
Extensions (risks of reusing HTTP for non-web
- RFC 2616
"Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1" R. Fielding, J. Gettys,
J. Mogul, H. Frystyk, L. Masinter, P. Leach, T. Berners-Lee.
- (1998/3/1) RFC
2324 "Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol
(HTCPCP/1.0)." An April 1 joke with a serious purpose -- to
spoof ways in which HTTP had been extended
Standards Organizations & Processes
Computers around the world from different origins work with
each other because everyone agrees how they should work. There's
not a separate Internet for Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe. But
of course not everyone agrees; working out differences about the
future is standards work.
Governance and the Internet
The primary value of the Internet comes from the fact there is only one, with everyone (and everything) connected. Governance (regulation, legislation) is local and hierarchical: city, state, region, country, with interactions relegated to treaties, negotiation, or worse (think "military"). How can anyone offer a global service and be subject to every constraint of every jurisdiction?
Sometimes things don't work out or have more narrow applicability than expected.
- (1996) WebDAV working group
- RFC 2542 "Terminology and Goals for Internet Fax." L. Masinter. 1999.
- RFC 2534 "Media Features for Display, Print, and Fax." L. Masinter, D. Wing, A. Mutz, K. Holtman. 1999.
- RFC 2532 "Extended Facsimile Using Internet Mail." L. Masinter, D. Wing. 1999.
- Internet Printing
- (2000) The Future of Web Standards and Technologies.
"Engineering the Web" symposium at Sun and AT&T Web Week.
- (2000) Converging WAP and the Web, talk about eliminating divergence between Web and protocols for mobile devices (WAP at the time.)
- (2003) Introduction of Tim Berners-Lee for Computer History Museum award.
- (1998) Tutorial: Internet Standards for the Web, Part I and Part II, with notes,
for 7th World Wide Web Conference.
- (1996) Standards and all that, talk at the IBM Almaden New Paradigms for Using Computers workshop.
- (1996) Document Images on the Internet for 1/96 SPIE conference.
- (1995) PARC Forum, "Document Management and the Net".
- (1996) Tutorial, The State of Web Standards, WWW5 conference
- (1998) Tutorial: Internet Technologies for Digital Libraries. (available as a directory of pdf files)
- (1996) Digital Libraries, Document management, and the World-Wide Web keynote for Multi-Media Japan.
- (1995) Document Management and Electronic Commerce for International Conference on Electronic Commerce.
- (1995) INET'95: Document Management, Digital Libraries and the Web.
- (1995) Rich Interaction in the Digital Library. CACM
- (1994) Collaborative Information Retrieval: Gopher from
MOO at INET'94. This application won coolest
application at GopherCon '93; it was built in a text-based multi-player virtual world called LambdaMOO.
- (1994) Produced (with Steve Putz and Jennifer Ernst) a video about the Internet
- (1989) System 33 notes
- (1997) 20 years ago (at Xerox), I led
a 'documents.com' project which
proposed a Software as a Service offering;
see presentation. Any earlier
'clouds'? The important part was the plan to charge per 'click'
(microservice), in the same way that Xerox made money per-page
(selling supplies and service).
Internet of Things
How do you save documents for a long time? Life insurance
policies, plans for buildings, personal health records.
Through around 1986 I worked on an evolving code base for Interlisp,
a software development environment for Lisp programming, written in Lisp.
Fellow in 1999.
- Patents 9,697,229, 8099445, 7945784, 7610315, 7577689, 7409405, 5742807, 6856432,
- The IETF Applications Area chairs group sometimes had such boring meetings that everyone doodled.
- Xerox uses Dilbert to explain "Empowerment".
- The Larriad