CardSpace, Higgins, Bandit & Co. – Projects & Trends in Open Source Identity Management
User-centric identity is probably the hottest topic in the IAM world today. With Vista, Microsoft has introduced its “OpenCard” personal identity system, but has yet to roll out many of its most important features. On the other hand, the open source community has been busy with its own version of an “open” identity system. One example is “Bandit” and the associated “Higgins” project supported among others by IBM and Novell (www.eclipse.org/higgins).
Both systems aim at giving users control over their own digital identities as they surf the web, but each take a slightly different approach.
Recently, in a development that has astonished many pundits, Microsoft and the Open Source community have reached agreement on a wide range of interoperability issues, raising the prospect of a seamless and open identity system for the entire Internet. However, critical questions must still be asked, such as: Just how far will compatibility go? Is there still danger of a “standards war” breaking out? If so, who will be the winners, who the losers? How long will it take for the various open identity systems to reach critical market mass? And what is the business model behind user-centric identity anyway?