MS Goes Open Source to Boost Identity Management

 
 
By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2007-05-24 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Microsoft is launching four open-source projects to help sites identify users, putting out another identity spec under its Open Specification Promise, and working on an OpenLDAP adapter for Microsoft ILM.

Microsoft is launching a slew of initiatives to help Web sites identify visitors. First, the company is kicking off four open-source projects to support the development of ID cards for online users. Microsoft is also releasing one of its identity management specs, Identity Selector Interoperability Profile, under its OSP (Open Specification Promise), meaning the specification is clear of licensing fees or patent worries. Finally, Microsoft is responding to users requests for better direct synchronization of identity information between Active Directory and the OpenLDAP Directory using Microsoft ILM (Identity Lifecycle Manager) 2007 by collaborating on an open-source project with Kernel Networks and Oxford Computer Group to create an OpenLDAP adapter for Microsoft ILM 2007.
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Microsoft says information cards are the primary mechanism for representing user identities in what the company is calling the identity metasystem—an ecosystem in which personal identity information can be exchanged so people know with whom theyre dealing online. The company describes the identity metasystem as having three elements: people presenting their identities, a site or service needing proof of identity, and the identity providers who put forth information about those people. Those identity providers can be any organization that controls identity information, stored in directories or databases: insurance companies, government agencies or academic institutions, for example. The projects, announced on May 24, are geared to improving interoperability for those three elements and demonstrate what Microsoft calls its "Interoperability by Design" efforts. "Our customers expect us to enable interoperability between Microsoft-based solutions, as well as across other platforms and technologies. For this reason, we take a very pragmatic, customer-centric view of interoperability," Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., said in a statement. "Addressing the effective exchange of identity information is a perfect example of how we look at interoperability holistically in order to meet a critical customer need." The open-source projects will create code to specify Web sites security policies and to accept cards in Java for Sun Java System Web Servers or Apache Tomcat or IBMs WebSphere Application Server, Ruby on Rails, and PHP for the Apache Web server. In addition, the goal of one of the projects is to implement a C library that can be used generically on any site or in any Web service. Microsoft Windows already supports information cards with the Visual Studio development environment; the implementations created by the open-source projects will complement that existing ability. The projects will be hosted here on SourceForge.Net and here on RubyForge. Theyll also be aggregated for developers to access at here and here. As far as the Identity Selector Interoperability Profile goes, it will be joining 38 other Web services specs that Microsoft put out under its OSP in September. The purpose of this spec is to improve interoperability in the identity metasystem for client computers using any platform. Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEKs Security Watch blog.
 
 
 
 
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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