New blog at

Kris Magnusson, who was open source program manager at Novell, pinged me recently to tell me about his new blog called I see postings like this:

Yes, I Am. . . an advocate for the Identity Metasystem. Craig Burton convinced me for reasons he didn't know about and reasons I didn't explain to him.

The big reason I believe in it was that it fit my criteria for becoming Internet infrastructure, with an exception that I think can be rectified over time, namely that multiple reference open source implementations don't currently exist. However, the Metasystem is young and these things will most certainly change.

Everything else about the Metasystem is right. It doesn't displace any existing infrastructure, requiring only a simple plugin for web sites to interoperate with the Metasystem. The InfoCard system is a great way to put users safely in control of their own identity claims, and it looks like it will find its way into alternative browsers like Firefox and Safari, making it ubiquitous.

I really have a distaste for silos now that I've experienced the openness of the Metasystem. You'll have to pardon me if I seem too hard on them, especially Sxip, who have their heart in the right place by putting claims back in the hands of users, more or less. It's just that having worked with Dr. Marshall T. Rose and having had a taste of what standardizing Internet infrastructure is all about, and having had exposure to the Metasystem's openness, I don't want to go backward to silos and proprietary networks.

My gosh: Marshall T. Rose – author of the Open Book and the Little Black Book and grand savant of OSI. That brings back memories. Anyway, moving on, I continue to hope that sxip and lid and other emerging systems will develop implementations that are part of the proposed identity metasystem.

In his email, Kris sets up a direct question for me:

My hope is that the metasystem will become true internet infrastructure in the same way dns/bind or http is currently. I think in order for this to happen that multiple open source reference implementations have to be developed. I don't think Microsoft can go it alone. Moving the WS* specs through OASIS is fabulous, as is getting support from IBM and hopefully later from Sun, but open standards are not sufficient to make a software system internet-standard. Ubiquitous implementation is key. So i'm hoping that someone will step up to the plate and develop an open source implementation of the metasystem for non-windows platforms. What do you think about this?

I totally agree. I have heard Craig's recording of “I, I, I cry ubiquity…” and thought it pretty much catches the spirit of the times. Hard-wiring is fading fast, and we will need identity metasystem capabilities in every nook and cranny of the Internet.

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Kim Cameron

Work on identity.