InfoCard a Hit at BrainShare

I tend to dismiss whatever Novell does these days, and I shouldn't. As institutionally incompetent as Novell has been the last 10 years, they've always built pretty innovative products. Pam Dingle mentioned the other day that Novell had demoed a CardSpace card selector running on Linux and MacIntosh at BrainShare last month. That is cool, and is most excellent news.

The demo is actually an outstanding example of the security inherent in the CardSpace architecture. A user started a browser-based shopping transaction on an Apple Mac (authenticating with an InfoCard from the Mac-based card selector), filled the shopping cart, then logged off and completed the transaction from a Linux box, using a Linux-based card selector. The coolest thing is that the actual card storage was on the user's cellphone, which communicated with the Linux box via BlueTooth.

There are two great things about this:

1) You don't have to store your InfoCards on the desktop machine that you do your shopping from, where someone could potentially use them without your knowledge. You can store them on your cell phone, or on a key fob flash drive. Your cell phone becomes the moral equivalent of your wallet.

2) Note that the vendor site never sees sensitive information like your credit card. That's the beauty of the CardSpace architecture. The IdP (identity provider) in this demo was American Express, and all they did was provide a token containing the assertion that your account was authorized for the amount of money the vendor specified.

Very nice!

From the "It Really is a Small World Department": Dale Olds (the Novell Distinguished Engineer mentioned in the article) was the guy who pushed us in the direction of building directory management products for NDS (now eDirectory) way back in 1994, when I first came on board at NetPro.