Just learned from Craig Burton that Microsoft has killed off Windows Cardspace. Here’s the report from Mary Jo Foley. Here’s the Twitter search. Plenty of pointage to follow there. Here are Mike Jones’ reflections on the matter.
I don’t have time to get my thoughts together on this right now, but here’s my brief take at this early point. As almost always with me, it’s optimistic:
What mattered most about Cardspace, or about Infocards (the non-Microsoft term) was the selector, which was something that the user operated, that was under user control. As Craig just put it to me on the phone, the selector tells a service that the client is not a machine, that the client has control, that there is human being who makes his or her own choices about identity and other variables that have always belonged under the user’s control, but that the cookie-based system to which the commercial web has been defaulted from the beginning can not recognize.
What we (that is, developers) should do now is look at what Microsoft has abandoned, and use what we can of it to do what Microsoft did not, and apparently will not.
Frankly, for all the great work that Mike, Kim Cameron and other Microsoft folks did in this space, the biggest problem has always been their employer. While Microsoft deserves credit for giving these good people lots of support and room to move — including open source development, no less — the legacy was always there. Microsoft was a hard company for the rest of the world to trust as a leader in an area that required maximum openness and minimum risk that BigCo moves would be pulled. Which is what Microsoft just did.
So let’s move on.
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