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Liberty Alliance courts open-source projects

Group aims to make it easier for open-source developers to use its specifications for sharing identity data in applications.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--The Liberty Alliance has announced an effort to spur adoption of its specifications in open-source applications.

The industry organization has created the "OpenLiberty Project" to provide tools and information for developing applications that use the Liberty Federation and Liberty Web Services standards, it announced Monday at the "Liberty 2.0" event here. Liberty Alliance was formed in 2001 to develop standards for online verification of identity.

"The idea behind OpenLiberty is to provide a community for open-source developers to communicate and collaborate on open identity standards," Jason Roualt, vice president of Liberty Alliance, said in an interview. "There are a few open-source efforts around identity, but the main thing that they are missing is the ability to support identity-based Web services, getting beyond single sign-on to sharing identity attributes."

For example, the Liberty Alliance specifications could let an application find an individual's calendar service to schedule an appointment or a person's wallet service to initiate a transaction, Roualt said. "That is part of ID-WSF, but that is not being addressed specifically by open-source efforts," he said.

Some of the open-source projects that could benefit from the Liberty Alliance specifications are Lasso, SourceID and OpenSAML, said Roualt, who is also chief technology officer for identity management at Hewlett-Packard.

The OpenLiberty Project notably does not open up the Liberty Alliance specifications. Anyone who wants to work on the actual specifications still has to join the alliance, which requires signing some paperwork and paying a fee, something open-source developers don't typically do.