Give Me openLiberty

The Liberty Alliance wants open source developers to use its protocols, though it isn’t about to open source the protocols themselves.

The Liberty Alliance today announced the openLiberty Project, an open source initiative designed to offer developers tools for integrating the privacy and security capabilities of Liberty Federation and Liberty Web Services into identity-based services.

The initial focus is to enable open source developers to take advantage of the ID-WSF Web Services Consumer (WSC) libraries, which were ratified in October.

“Although the Liberty Alliance is sponsoring the launch of openLiberty, it is a distinct and separate effort from the Liberty Alliance,” Jason Rouault, vice president of the Liberty Alliance Management Board and CTO of identity management software at HP, told

“openLiberty is strictly about developing code and toolkits based upon the Liberty protocols. The Liberty Alliance is about defining federation- and identity-based Web service specifications.”

In short, Rouault said users who want to develop or use Liberty-based open source code should participate in the openLiberty community; to define specifications, users or organization should become a member of the Liberty Alliance.

“The reason that this is happening now is to address the need for secure and privacy-friendly, identity-based Web services, which is the main focus of Liberty at this point in time,” Rouault said.

“Developers and implementers are getting past the initial stages of federation that deal strictly with single sign-on, and are now looking at the additional value of secure discovery and attribute sharing.”

Rouault also noted that openLiberty Project was created because there are no existing open source efforts addressing developer needs in this particular portion of the federation space.

Rouault does not see the Eclipse Foundation’s Higgins framework as a competitive effort. Higgins provides an open source framework for managing identity online; Rouault called Higgins’ “complementary” to openLiberty.

“I can envision an effort to develop an Eclipse Higgins plug-in taking place at openLiberty,” Rouault said.

Moreover, Rouault is hoping more application developers will take advantage of the security and privacy benefits of ID-WSF when identity-enabling their Web service applications.

Associate membership in the Liberty Alliance will set you back $2,500, though non-profit organizations can join for free.

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