This Week in Open Source News Feb 27 – Mar 5

Open Source ID Management Solution

IBM and Novell along with Parity Communications and Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society are leading an effort called the Higgins Project to create an open source identity management solution that will compete with the recently announced InfoCard technology from Microsoft. It will allow users to control the personal information shared with sites using this technology. The Eclipse Foundation will coordinate this effort, which will support Windows, Linux, and other operating systems. This has a good chance of succeeding for a couple of reasons. First, Novell and IBM tend to have more credibility than Microsoft for security solutions. Second, by making this technology open source, I would expect more companies to participate in the project in a manner similar to the way that other Eclipse projects have been able to get participation from many key players within the industry.

British Agency Supports Linux Usage

Starting last year, the Open Source Academy (OSA) replaced software on 300 PCs in British libraries with open source solutions made up of Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox and Gimp as a learning experiment and found that the solution was stable, secure, and positive for users of the systems. The OSA, funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, was designed to promote open source adoption in local governments, and other OSA projects involve providing guidance on recycling old PCs, running a testing lab for open source solutions, and additional open source government outreach efforts. This is only one example of a successful government effort to promote open source software. I highlight this not because 300 PCs make up a significant deployment, but because it provides an example to illustrate how open source desktop solutions can be effective and to show how governments can drive open source efforts.

Firefox Announces Extension Winners

The winners of the extend Firefox competition were announced this week. The best new overall extension, Reveal by Michael Wu, provides a way to see thumbnails of session history pages along with a magnifying glass to help you find previously viewed pages quickly and easily. The other grand prize winners included: Best Upgraded Extension, Web Developer by Chris Pederick, and Best Use of New Firefox 1.5 Features, Firefox Showcase by Josep del Rio. For more best in class winners and more details visit Spread Firefox. This is a great example of open source user innovation at work!