Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Identity 2.0: We must federate and cooperate

Lorenzo Viscanti left a comment on my coComment post pointing out that they are trying to build a "a comment rating system based on identity20" over at ClipperZ. I wandered over and found out two things 1) they are running Drupal and 2) they're based in Italy. #2 is interesting because I'm sitting in the Vancouver airport right now, waiting to get on the plane to Torino, Italy. You can find out more about our Olympic journeys over at I'm also going to be in Bologna visiting my sister -- Lorenzo, Marco, Giulio, send me an email with your contact info and perhaps we can discuss.

But the creation of multiple reputation/identity/etc. stores is quickly going to become a problem akin to the multiple IM systems we have to deal with today: what if all these rating and comment systems use different, incompatible identity stores? We're back to the same problem of no single sign on, and no single view of our comments, rating, etc.

So this is a call to action. We have to work together to federate and cooperate. A particular identity protocol is not the area where value will accumulate: user experience, privacy rules, and other applications built around identity is what is valuable. Like I've said about social networks in the past, identity is a feature, not a business model. ClipperZ, coComment, what about it? Become, for example, SXIP homesites, and work together on educating the market about the value of identity. Heck, maybe SXIP can stop work on SXORE and just help you with federation and identity store issues.

I learned a lot at the identity session we had OSCMS Summit. We had knowledge shared about a variety of protocols and stakeholders, from simple consumer facing applications (the long tail of identity, if you will) to standards-based solutions around SAML. There was expressed a general desire by everyone to work together and to try and understand the issues that are most important to different use cases. Pointers specifically to Keith and Weston at SXIP, Eve Mahler of Sun, residing at XMLGrlll, and Kaliya the infamous Identity Woman.

Update: Eve put some very extensive notes online, covering the long identity tail concepts. Of course, what's immediately apparent is that there are *13* identity systems, never mind the coComment, ClipperZ, etc. which I maintain are actually identity proxies as well.