Just two weeks ago, Bill Gates was touting the InfoCard identity management system coming in Windows Vista. Today it appears that an Open Source alternative will be announced. Joris Evers at CNET:
IBM and Novell on Monday are expected to announce an open-source response to Microsoft’s forthcoming InfoCard identity management technology.
The companies plan to contribute to an open-source initiative code-named Higgins Project. The project aims to help people manage their plethora of Internet logins and passwords by integrating identity, profile and relationship information used across authentication systems on the Net.
The open-source project, managed by the Eclipse Foundation, is a response to Microsoft’s InfoCard identity management technology, Anthony Nadalin, distinguished engineer and chief security architect at IBM, said in an interview.
“This is a move to help get identity management out in the open source. InfoCard is one user-centric identity system…but the implementation Microsoft has is not what I would call open,” he said. “There are a lot of hidden elements.” One example, he said, is how it interacts with Active Directory, Microsoft’s identity management technology for businesses.
Microsoft has been taking pains to make sure that InfoCard doesn’t suffer the same fate as Passport, which was viewed as too proprietary, by touting its open nature (,,). It looks like they have a way to go. Also, all of these identity management systems require that Web site proprietors sign up to use them in place of their existing security arrangements. That alone guarantees a long, rancorous process.
Update: The IBM press release is here.