Phil Windley's piece on the Tuesday morning session at IIW includes this description of the fascinating work done by Chuck Mortimer (who had an entire InfoCard environment running inside FireFox) and by Gail-Joon Ahn.

The first session I went to was Gail-Joon Ahn from Univ. of North Carolina. Gail-Joon and his students built an open source implementation of InfoCards. They’re interested in creating potable, interoperable, and multi-modal identity card selectors (part of InfoCard).

Gail-Joon Ahn and students
Gail-Joon Ahn and students (click to enlarge)

Gail-Joon’s students demo’d a Java version of the InfoCard selector. The demo included logging into a site using a selected InfoCard, creating cards, and interacting with identity providers and relying parties in a couple of scenarios. All of the code is in Java. This is an impressive effort, but also illustrative of the fact that InfoCard

  1. doesn’t have to be just a .Net/Microsoft thing and
  2. is simple enough to allow multiple implementations.

Part of their work involves moving InfoCard beyond the desktop and to mobile devices. They demo’d what’s called an “i-button” that contains a secure token. The i-button could be on a ring or key fob. There was also a demo showing an InfoCard selector on a mobile phone. Chuck Mortimore did a 5-minute demo of a Firefox plugin he’s done for InfoCards. He created a card and then logged into Kim Cameron’s blog using the card. Pretty cool. Kim Cameron took over to show the code that Chuck was hitting on his blog. The relying party stuff he’s using is all written in PHP. Kim showed various debugging tools for seeing what’s going back and forth and demo’d the use of various InfoCard pieces from various players together.

I guess Phil turned his head for a moment, and in the general chaos that reigned all around us, missed Paul Trevithick's demonstration of early Higgins interoperability with InfoCard.  It brought about another round of whistles and applause, and I think represented one of the aha moments of the conference.

Paul, who has been a leader in the Identity Gang since day one – being instrumental in developing our shared vocabulary – and Anthony Nadalin, an inventor of WS-Trust and a leading identity thinker at IBM, were both 100% clear that their goal in Higgins was to produce an identity selector that would use the same InfoCards being employed in Microsoft's identity selector, and expose the user to a similar identity experience.  I think this clarity will be important in convincing the journalist community that we on the same identity train.

The demos made the growing momentum of the Identity Metasystem absolutely tangible.  People have now demonstrated all aspects of the metasystem running on both Windows and non-Windows platforms.  That's a real milestone.  Meanwhile, discussions about open source projects abound.  


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Kim Cameron

Work on identity.


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  2. …an entire InfoCard environment running inside FireFox

    I think it may be helpful to define an “entire” encironment as inclusive of the TPM-protected storage of credentials. That's an important feature of Infocard, one that will break some people's mental models (“what do you mean, the security of this web cafe in Phucket isn't good enough for me to access the web site?”) and one that should be promoted.

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