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[DotGNU]A mention from Sun

From: Bill Lance
Subject: [DotGNU]A mention from Sun
Date: Thu, 9 May 2002 12:57:30 -0700 (PDT)

in this article:

is the following mention of dotgnu.


 10) The future of Liberty Alliance
 by mydigitalself 
 I've been following Microsoft's .NET strategy for
quite some time and have been quite interested in the
Passport vs Liberty Alliance scenario. 

Firstly, what exactly is happening with Liberty
Alliance at the moment? I got the impression that the
iniative was started as a marketing oppositing against
Passport as there doesn't appear to be any visibility
of the implementation on the web site

Secondly, there is also an open source source
initially from .GNU for this central authentication
service []. Essentially both Liberty
Alliance and .GNU are trying to provide an opposition
framework to Passport - and yet the nature of the
concept and the existance of the two projects seem to
be self depricating. If everyone and their dog develop
a centralised authentication service that spans
services across networks - people would probably use
Passport purely because of its market share. 

Would it not be a good idea to somehow merge the work
done to offer a unified opposition to Passport? 

 I'm really glad you asked about the Liberty Alliance
because I recently attended a Web Services conference
in San Francisco and got really riled up about the
problem that the Liberty Alliance is trying to
address. The organizations in the Liberty Alliance and
the folks working on DotGNU have all recognized the
danger of allowing identity profiles to be controlled
or even exclusively architected by a single company.
As my friend Tim O'Reilly first said about Identity
last year, "There are some things nobody should own".
Sun took on the initial work to launch the Liberty
Alliance, but now that it exists Sun is taking a peer

Passport by design is a potential chokepoint for
Internet commerce. What's really concerning is that
passport has already been deployed and is collecting
membership from every user of Windows XP, Hotmail and
the rest of the WinTel stack! Lately Microsoft has
gotten pretty quiet about Passport, but that doesn't
mean they aren't continuing to execute a strategy to
dominate Internet commerce. As a technologist my
tendency is to want to hurry up and impulsively code
an alternative, but I recognize that it will be
difficult at best for even superior technology to win
in a horserace to achieve compelling membership. 

That's why the Liberty Alliance is so important. As
you notice there has been precious little technical
information released about any actual Liberty
implementation. If you look at the makeup of the
Liberty Alliance founding group they are
overwhelmingly organizations with large existing
membership databases. The first problem is to assemble
enough membership to actually challenge the "sole
architect" position of the dominant player. In my mind
this strategy is the only way to effectively mandate a
truly open and decentralized architecture. Last month
it was announced that AOL has joined the Liberty
Alliance and at this conference I mentioned above a
Liberty Alliance member confirmed that Microsoft has
been invited to join. 

I was very happy to see Apache in the list of charter
organizations endorsing the concept of the Liberty
Alliance because it effectively ensured that the
Liberty Alliance would have to accept non-profit
membership and indeed they have defined a no-cost
Affiliate membership level. This opens up the
possibility for efforts like DotGNU to join and bring
their perspectives (or their technology) to the table.
Since DotGNU is a Free Software project the
traditional challenges of working in concert with
profit-motivated organizations will definitely arise
but as your question points out the alternative is
diminished impact. 


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