Sun goes open-source for single sign-on identity management
By Matt Whipp
Posted on 14 Jul 2005 at 12:45
Sun is to open-source its single sign-on Java technologies for authenticating users remotely to a variety of websites and services.
It will also open-source client-side software that connects and authenticates against the Sun Java System Web Server and Sun Java System Application Server.
In order to drive development of these technologies, Sun has set up the Open Source Web Single Sign-On (OpenSSO) project with the goal creating an extensible infrastructure for identity services including authentication, session and logging. And just like Java, Sun's idea is to have this used everywhere: part of Sun's 'participation age' vision.
'Sun is committed to removing the barriers to participation by open sourcing the most widely used building blocks within the Java Enterprise System,' said John Loiacono, executive vice president of Sun's Software Group.
Mike Neuenschwander, associate research director at Burton Group, said: 'We have to get beyond talking about retrofitting existing infrastructure and begin making identity inherent in everything we do. Sun's contribution to open-source will help accelerate the industry in that direction.'
The code will be released under Sun's own Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). Although the company is at pains to point out the licence is approved by the OSI (Open Source Initiative), it contains caveats that forbid such code being intermingled with code licensed under the GPL (GNU General Public Licence) used with Linux.
Novell will have to look to its laurels in the Linux/Open Source space. Identity management was once its distinguishing speciality. Now that space is getting crowded. Red Hat, too, announced a Directory server just last month. With Sun's setting an open-source precedent in single sign-on technologies, Novell, which keeps its identity management products closed source, will be facing some pressure balancing the good news story and lifeline that is its Linux strategy, and an understandable desire to keep its identity heritage intact.
Sun says it will initially provide documentation for the OpenSSO project, and follow this up with buildable but read-only code for Session Module, Authentication Module and Early Access (single-sign-on agents) over the next six months. It plans to make the code fully open source in April of next year.
For more information, visit the OpenSSO website.
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