OpenID & LID in a passel-world

Rob Lanphier robla at
Sun Jul 24 11:01:17 PDT 2005

On Sun, 2005-07-24 at 09:18 -0700, S. Sriram wrote:
> Large Email service providers have multi-million email accounts. 
> Which identity system can turn them into authenticable profile 
> data elements ?
> Passel is clearly well positioned to do this, the only
> challenge being providing a service that motivates the user to 
> 'download the plug-in'.

That's a huge assumption.  Getting end users to install client software
is not a step that you can skip over.  In fact, it's quite likely the
Achilles heel of the whole project.  The fact that they ask you to use
CVS to grab a Mono reference implementation means that they are in no
danger of taking over the world anytime soon.  

/If/ they can convince the Mozilla folks to include an implementation in
Firefox /by default/, they /may/ have a chance.  That's not the only
path to viability, but that's the only one I could envision actually
happening.  I doubt they would, though, because if I were in Mozilla's
shoes, I'd look instead to some small extension to their existing saved
form and saved password functionality, rather than the full parallel set
of functionality that this would seem to require.

Having played around with OpenID, I realize it has serious limitations.
However, it solves one problem well enough (and simply enough), and is
the only one I've seen with a viable bootstrapping mechanism so far to
actually catapult it out of obscurity.  The big limitation is the lack
of verified profile information.  While that can be solved at higher
layers, there probably needs to be a de facto standard for actually
doing it, which would involve a really compelling implementation
including the extended functionality. (e.g. .gif became the de facto
standard for images in HTML when it was included in Mosaic).


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