Many of the people adding OpenID support to their blogs and services are using JanRain's libraries. Scott, the company's CEO, addresses the worry some members of his community may have about a big, powerful company getting involved with the bottoms-up technology they have worked on so hard. I actually have a lot of sympathy for this concern, and for peoples’ feelings about the technology they have developed. If we were coming to “take over”, it would really be bad news for everyone. But Scott Kveton, Dick Hardt, Michael Graves and myself aren't the kind of people who would let this happen.
What I really like about Scott's comments is the way he focusses, without any bias, on what is good about the component technologies and their synergy. This is what real engineering is about, in my humble opinion. It's one of the things that will really drive us towards the Identity Big Bang. And the whole world will benefit.
OpenID has always been about convergence. When Brad, David and Johannes talked about how OpenID and Yadis could work together over a year ago. When the XRI folks brought their amazing people and technology to be integrated into OpenID 2.0 last Spring. This past Summer when Sxip Identity joined the OpenID party by joining in on developing the specification and offering up their attribute exchange specification to the OpenID community. And now today, we have a commitment from Microsoft to take part in the OpenID community as well as enable the technology for their future identity products.
There are a couple of points Iâ€™d like to make outside of the above announcement to hopefully address any concerns that the OpenID community might have:
- JanRain will never require users of our libraries or services to use Windows CardSpace â„¢. We offer support for this technology as another option for users much like using our Safe SignIn and Personal Icon technologies on MyOpenID.com. Weâ€™ll also continue to support the OpenID efforts going on with Mozilla and Firefox.
- Windows CardSpace â„¢ is shipping with Vista today and is a well thought-out technology that helps address many of the privacy and security concerns that people have had with OpenID. OpenID helps users describe their identity across many sites in a public fashion. The two together are very complimentary products and each has its strength.
- Microsoft did not cave in to the OpenID community and the OpenID community is giving nothing up to Microsoft. This is a collaboration on bringing the best technology to the marketplace as quickly as possible to help secure users and solve the single sign-on solution once and for all.
- Please reserve judgment on what this all means until you see it all work together. The technology is really quite simple and the ramifications for end-users is huge. It also goes a very long way to completely addressing the phishing concerns weâ€™ve heard so much about.