Jim Waldo is a smart man. Sit down and talk with him and you'll quickly realize that he spends a significant amount of time thinking about software and distributed computing. Jim was early into distributed systems with CORBA and more recently led the Jini effort at Sun. For those of us that know the Java specs - we all know that Jini was one nice piece of software. We also know that it wasn't widely adopted. And Jim is still ticked off.
Most recently, Jim took aim at the use of standards:
When I last talked to Jim, he was pissed off at the JXTA group for getting both the attention as well as getting the internal Sun research dollars. In "Waldo-World" everything can be done inside of Java! No need to worry about all that "other stuff" (RPG, COBOL, .Net, etc.) In my humble opinion, Jim is smoking dinosaur dope.
Communications (a superset of distributed computing) is based on ubiquitous protocols. Why do we have them? Uh, to speed up adoption and to make all of the "unique" things in the world (including Jini) actually talk to each other. Does it slow down innovations? Yes sir. Does it make inter-application, inter-department, inter-business, inter-nation computing possible? Yep.
Jim has a ton to offer the web services community. If he would quit ragging on standards, reverse engineer Jini and publish it in terms of open standards - I would back him 100%. Until then, good luck with Jini. FYI, my Jini book sits on my bookshelf right between my CORBA books and my DCE books.