We had our first meeting of the OASIS PKCS 11 Technical Committee last week, a very interesting and exciting start to this new stage in the life of the PKCS #11 standard. It was a very impressive gathering of folks from many different companies and countries, a breadth of participation evident in the officers and editors elected at the first meeting. Valerie Fenwick (Oracle, US) and I (RSA, Switzerland) are co-chairs of the TC. David Smith (Venafi, US) is secretary. Susan Gleeson (Oracle, US) and Chris Zimman (Bloomberg, US) are co-editors of the Specification. John Leiseboer (QuintessenceLabs, Australia) is editor of the Usage Guide. Tim Hudson (Cryptsoft, Australia) and Sven Gossel (Charismathics, Germany) are co-editors of the Profiles. Tim Hudson, Bob Relyea (Red Hat, US) and Lawrence Lee (Go-Trust, Taiwan) are co-editors of the Test Cases. Many other countries and companies are represented in the membership of the committee, a diversity that we hope will continue to grow as we move forward.
We face important challenges, including the large backlog of work that has accumulated since the publication the PKCS #11 v2.30 draft specification in October 2009. We spent most of the first day of the face-to-face exploring those challenges through presentations by many of the TC members, discussing not only the details of corrections and enhancements to the PKCS #11 API, but also larger questions of whether PKCS #11 can be of benefit in critical areas such as mobile, cloud and virtualization security. One of the highlights of the Monday session was a presentation by Burt Kaliski on the history of PKCS #11, showing how the standard has adapted as the needs of the industry changed. That was a very encouraging insight, especially given how many areas there are in which PKCS #11 can be of benefit.
By the end of the face-to-face, we scoped out the most critical work items that we should consider for the first release of PKCS #11 as an OASIS standard. We still have lots of work to do to nail down that list and then to realize it in the specification, other documents and supporting processes. But PKCS #11 is once again alive and well!