OPEN SOURCE IDENTITY SELECTOR ANNOUNCED

From ZDNET, a post by Phil Windley from the Berkman ID Mashup held over the last few days at Harvard Law School:

David Berlind's not the only member of the Between the Lines team at the ID Mashup this week.  I've been here as well, watching the identity happenings.  The first two days were traditional conference style, but the third day of the workshop was done open space style.  That's a great format for generating discussion and this example was no exception.  I went to a session on reputation first thing that resulted in some very good ideas and principles on that important subject.

The second session I attended was a discussion of OSIS, the open source identity selector project. This project has server and client pieces as well as a security token service (STS). The server side pieces of OSIS will be part of the proposed Heraldry project at Apache. The primary purpose of Heraldry is to provide a home for open source identity projects, like OpenID. The client code and STS pieces will be part of the Eclipse Higgins project.

OSIS is more than just a small project to build open source identity selectors for Microsoft's CardSpace (formerly InfoCard); after all, that's been done. OSIS will support interoperability between the addressable identity systems (OpenID, LID, XRI) and card (or token) based identity systems (more notably CardSpace and Higgins). OSIS has the support of all of the major players (including Microsoft, Novell, IBM, SXIP, XRI, and Verisign).

This is really a historic development in the Internet identity space. Microsoft, before their own implementation of CardSpace even ships, is linking up with the larger identity community, including OpenID, LID, i-Names, and Higgins. Make no mistake, they've been participating and giving leadership to that community for a long time, but until now, it wasn't clear that all the various systems would be interoperable. OSIS aims to change that.

I don't actually agree with Phil's notion that “this has already been done”.  But I agree it will be.  The list of individuals and companies participating in OSIS is a who's who of important contributors. 

Why not? The conference was full of remarkable milestones.  I'll talk about some of the high level issues in subsequent posts.

But in terms of concrete and immediate progress, Michael McIntosh of IBM showed how he could use a Higgins “i-Card” to log in to my identityblog site.  I know Michael and Paul Trevethick (from Social Physics) worked really hard to show skeptics that we throughout the industry are really coming together to make identity work across platforms. 

In another demo, we saw more of Paul's work around an ”information broker” - I”ll try to find a detailed writeup somewhere.

And to top it off, we got an eye-opening presentation by Montreal's Louise Guay.  Her My Virtual Model is a must-see. Louise is a real visionary.  Doc was reeling.  For example, she offers us a personal avatar - you set it up with your measurements and characteristics and use it to find outfits with the look you want.  And guess what?  People are actually using it.  And I'm just brushing the surface of her thinking.

Beyond the ”cool factor” is the fact that she is turning marketing upside down.  She's fully aware of the relationship between her avatars, the people who use them, and the great identity issues of our age.  These are social artifacts people can share with their friends, but are also respectful of privacy - allowing us to get access to unprecedented personalization without sharing any identifying information.