I just received mail asking why I hadn't answered the marvelous post by Marc Canter, father of Macromedia. I have to admit I was totally asleep at the wheel – could it be my day job?
Marc opines in his lovable blend of angel and baseball bat:
Here's where Kim tells us about how ‘Passport is dead’ – while simultaneously being used by 200M people. MSN Spaces sure uses it. ]
I'd bet that his new InfoCards technology super-sets Passport – making it just one of many identity systems – which all have to work together. So Sxip, Liberty and Passport/WS-* all using i-names, FOAF and XFN. To be exact.
So what I'd say to Kim is: “Hey Kim? Where's that all expense paid, guru fees junket, PR suck-up strategy session where Microsoft pays us to go up there, eat Oyster stew and learn about InfoCards?”
And we reply with even more open source ideas – for free.
Well, I've been trying to animate a discussion about the objective factors constraining what an identity system must be in order to be successful. And a bunch of the people you mention are looking at this deeply and thinking about the fundamental issues in identity that will make a universal system possible.
I don't personally think that Microsoft should operate an identity provider other than for its own properties – and I don't think that's in our plans. I do think we should provide great identity software – that interoperates with great identity software from others. I also think MSN properties should be able to use other identity providers if that's what people want – so Passport needs to be able to federate in that sense.
Further, I'm convinced no one will get out of this without reving what they've done so far. We all need to move forward. And I think this discussion shows many people are willing to move forward.
So yes, we need an open, inclusive system, but the constituent technologies all need to come into alignment with the laws of identity in order to succeed.
By the way, I want to organize some meetings. And I'll bet I can get Microsoft to spring for the oyster stew. But if I don't want the meetings to be PR junkets – and I don't – I'm worried we'll have to dispense with the all-expense paid guru fees part.