If you are a developer, you know what the thrill of the hack is - when your building something, and you sit down and implement a new feature and all of a sudden, your stuff plugs into a bunch of other people's stuff and what was once a cool standalone thing is now part of an ecosystem of interoperating cool stuff. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. And you, the developer, are part of it.
I think the "Thrill of the Hack" (TOTH) is a key factor in the success of technologies like RSS, tagging, and XMPP and I see it making OpenID successful even as I write this blog. I don't think I'm overstating the value TOTH to say that the web wouldn't have happened without TOTH.
But TOTH doesn't just happen by itself. Its enabled by "busy developer guides", robust open source development efforts, community support, hangouts for developers and curious users, and friendly easy-to-understand IPR policies (see sec 10.2.3). All of these things take deliberate effort, and yet in isolation may not seem to have any direct value for those investing time and effort. However, I think the evidence is clear that one of the best ways to enable a new open network technology is to enable TOTH and open source development around that technology.
TOTH also helps the technology move forward - developers who become hooked through TOTH go on to innovate on top of the technology to build things that were completely off the radar of the original promoters of the technology (again, think about the web here).
I'm concerned that the INames community has failed to enable TOTH. We have efforts in most of the directions (hangout, open source, a good IPR policy, a busy developer guide, community support), but they all need more work. Much of the effort on inames has focused on communicating how inames are usable to end users. But we haven't enabled developers to make INames (and even XRI, which doesn't necessarily rely on the global root directories) ubiquitous and we haven't enabled developers to go beyond what we've envisioned and come up with the really killer apps.
I've heard a lot of the frustration from folks who are interested in playing with INames, and I want to you know that we hear you, and we understand. In fact, I share that very frustration with you.
Things are definitely happening, especially in response to IIW 2006B, and i hope to highlight them here. Stay tuned...