Sun releases open source ID mgmt. projects; Identicentric develops single sign-on

* Catching up with recent identity management news

This is another of my so-called "catch up" editions of the newsletter in which I discuss some interesting tidbits that probably don't deserve a full newsletter of their own but do deserve to be brought to your attention. There are three developments to tell you about today but since one of them has two parts, I guess we can make that four things.

The first two are both Sun: the OpenSSO project and the OpenDS project.

Launched last week, OpenSSO hopes "...to provide an extensible implementation of an identity services infrastructure that will facilitate single sign-on for Web applications hosted on Web servers and application servers."

OpenDS went public late last month and is described as "... an open source community project building a free and comprehensive next generation directory service."

OpenSSO is usable without OpenDS, but they do work together quite well. And, unlike OpenLDAP, OpenDS includes much more than just a directory server - but also other essential directory-related services like directory proxy, virtual directory, namespace distribution and data synchronization. Both have been set free in the wild after being initially developed to a usable point by Sun. They deserve a look, if only as development or learning tools.

And speaking of development/learning tools, Identicentric has just released simAXS. This is not an open source tool (it's $399/seat after a 30-day free trial) but it is very useful. As described by the company: "Identicentric's simAXS is a better way to develop single sign-on enabled applications. It simulates the HTTP header based integration method common to access management systems (like Oracle COREid Access Manager, CA eTrust Siteminder, and Sun Access Manager) and eliminates the need to install and maintain a complex security environment for day-to-day application development." Anyone who has ever tried to develop a product that needs to be able to integrate with one (or more) of a number of different products will understand the problem this solves.

The third thing I want to mention is something near and dear to my heart. As a writer, I'm fascinated with words. But I'm also a stickler on correct usage of those words. Longtime readers will know that I frequently rant about the misuse of terms by unknowing marketing people - or even those who should know better. One reader, Allan Milgate way down in Sydney, Australia, has attempted to do something to help. He's been quietly building a dictionary of identity terms which I've now been able to convince him to put online. It's a fairly comprehensive and very detailed exposition and explanation of terms that get thrown about - often very loosely - in identity management circles. I don't agree completely with all of his definitions, but it's a much better effort than any others I've seen. Give it a look when you can.

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