Even as you read this, the Open Group's Directory Interoperability Forum is holding another of its gala Plugfests right up the road from me in Burlingame, Calif.\u00a0 Well, I'll actually be in Washington, DC for ComNet (say "Hi!" if you see me), but my office is right down the road from Burlingame.Plugfests are hush-hush events from which the press is barred (probably to keep the bar bill down). Plugfests are where application and service vendors see their directory-enabled products be put through their paces against LDAP servers from CA, IBM, Microsoft, Nexor, Novell, OpenLDAP, Oracle and Sun, in hopes of achieving the vaunted "LDAP Ready" (formerly, "Works with LDAP") award from the Open Group.Following the event, successful participants will be announced and unsuccessful ones will be allowed to slink away (back to the drawing boards) out the back door with no one being the wiser. Seriously, it's an excellent way to provide certification - there's no stigma associated with not passing and lots of encouragement is given as to what needs to be done to pass. The end-result is more and better LDAP-enabled applications and services and that's something we can all applaud.I will get to see the successful apps and speak to their vendors next week during the Open Group's meeting, also in Burlingame. Of particular interest is a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 5 concerning the Identity Management Initiative.The event will be a joint meeting of the Directory Interoperability, Messaging, Mobile Management, and Security forums to look at the options customers have, or will soon have, to deploy identity management solutions using off-the-shelf products. There will be presentations by directory vendors as well as application developers on the current state of identity management, which will form a baseline for ongoing work to ensure identity management offerings meet customer needs.I'll be at the event and, if you're a member of the Open Group, I hope you will be also. It's very important that we bring together existing groups in order to distill their activities and synthesize solutions that meet customer, client and user needs. There are still far too many special interests grouped as so-called standards organizations with the sole goal of declaring some proprietary technology as a standard. Initiatives such as the Open Group's Identity Management Initiative need to be encouraged by our active participation so that true open standards can be achieved.