[OpenID] is openid 2.0 a lightweight identity system?

Bob Wyman bob at wyman.us
Thu Feb 8 18:55:31 UTC 2007

On 2/8/07, rob <robyates70 at gmail.com> wrote:> [OpenID] 2.0 ... is not as
intuitive as either of its
> predecessors and I wonder whether it can still coin
> the phrase "lightweight".

When and why is "lightness" useful? If no one adopts a "lighter" spec has
anything useful been accomplished? Is it useful in non-academic contexts to
build or define systems that are easier to understand but that will never be

I think that the appropriate measure of "lightness" is not, in fact, some
pseudo-objective measure such as page count or measure of technical
complexity. Rather, the question should be whether or not a "more
lightweight" system would be provide substantially the same capabilities
with substantially the same or greater likelihood of acceptance. (The
"lightness" measure is one that is very context dependent.) Of course, the
second qualifier (probability of acceptance) is the important one....

The reality is that it appears that OpenID 2.0 has a very high likelihood of
being widely accepted. This is because a number of otherwise warring camps
have consolidated on this one common set of capabilities, syntax, etc.
Unless someone is very creative, it is unlikely that simplifications to the
base spec will accomplish much other than the disaffection of one or another
of the members of this "union" of interests. Oddly, at this point, it may be
that the likelihood of acceptance, and thus utility, may be best improved by
*increasing* the complexity of the spec -- i.e. by incorporating solutions
to the primary concerns of even more interest groups. The current
CardSpace/OpenID devil-dancing may be a case on point...

bob wyman
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