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"Rift" in Liberty Alliance? Greatly Exaggerated, say Sun and Liberty
"Rift" in Liberty Alliance? Greatly Exaggerated, say Sun and Liberty

(December 9, 2002) - Is there any substance to a recent report that the Liberty Alliance Project is waving a flag of surrender to Microsoft's Passport? "Absolutely not true," affirmed a Liberty Alliance spokesperson, speaking to JDJ-IN in the wake of an eWeek article claiming "a growing rift among members." eWeek also stated that Sun Microsystems "went so far as to concede defeat to the Passport authentication service on the Windows platform." "This is inaccurate on a number of levels," responded Liberty Alliance, noting that "eWeek seriously confused a few issues and took some things out of context."

In an exclusive statement to JDJ-IN News Desk, Liberty Alliance explained that eWeek is "confusing the difference between a standards group (Liberty) and a vendor (Sun and Microsoft). Liberty is a group developing open specifications standards that vendors like Sun and Novell can choose to implement into whatever products and services the want. The Liberty specs are platform and technology neutral, so companies can implement them in any environment - desktop, enterprise, Windows, mobile, etc. The Alliance's direction has not changed. It is up to the companies themselves to determine which platform to focus on and there are quite a few members looking at incorporating Liberty into each of these environments."

Liberty Alliance also affirmed, "The Alliance does not intend to offer digital identity services in the same vein as Microsoft Passport or other vendor services. Rather, our member companies (and non-members) will offer implementations on whatever platform(s) they believe offer sound business opportunities. The Windows platform is a significant one for a number of our members. Therefore, we expect that there will be Liberty implementations for it, which our specifications will make possible."

As to a possible rift in the ranks of the over 140 Liberty Alliance members, the spokesperson noted that the mere expression of the difference of opinions does not constitute a rift in the Alliance, as eWeek had concluded. "Membership continues to increase, we continue to hear about new Liberty implementations planned and we expect the version 2.0 specifications to be on target for the first half of 2003," stated the Liberty Alliance representative, confidently.

A Sun Microsystems spokesman observed, "Sun is committed to working with the Liberty Alliance to offer an open network identity standard to run across all platforms. This would provide an open standard across the wide range of Internet-enabled devices emerging today. As a founding member of the Liberty Alliance, Sun is committed to helping the Alliance develop an open standard that will span all devices, not just those based on Windows."

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JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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