RIP, Windows CardSpace. Hello, U-Prove

Summary:For a while, had been wondering when Microsoft would ship CardSpace 2.0, the last, un-delivered piece of its Geneva set of security wares. The answer, it turns out, is never.

For a while, had been wondering when Microsoft would ship CardSpace 2.0, the last, un-delivered piece of its Geneva set of security wares. The answer, it turns out, is never.

CardSpace, which got its start as "Windows InfoCard," attempted to represent an individual's digital identity that the user could use to communicate with a third party entity.

From a February 15 post on the Microsoft "Claims-Based Identity" blog (which I found via a tweet from @Carnage4Life):

"Windows CardSpace was initially released and developed before the pervasive use of online identities across multiple services. Perhaps more importantly, we released the user component before we and others had delivered the tools for developers and administrators to easily create claims-ready services. The identity landscape has changed with the evolution of tools and cloud services.  Based on the feedback we have received from partners and beta participants, we have decided not to ship Windows CardSpace 2.0."

According to the blog post, in spite of the elimination of CardSpace, Microsoft is still a big proponent of claims-based identity concepts, and the company has baked support for these identity solutions into SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics CRM, and Windows Azure.

"Microsoft has been a leading participant in the identity community and an active contributor to emerging identity standards.  We have increased our commitment to standardization activities and added support into our products for the SAML 2.0, OpenID 2.0, OAuth WRAP and OAuth 2.0 protocols," the blog post noted.

Microsoft also is putting its weight behind a new Microsoft claims technology called U-Prove, according to the post. U-Prove is "an advanced cryptographic technology that, combined with existing standards-based identity solutions, overcomes this long-standing dilemma between identity assurance and privacy," according to the test page.

Microsoft has made available to testers for download a second Community Technology Preview build (via the Connect site) for its U-Prove Agent. The Agent is "software that acts as an intermediary between websites and allows sharing of personal information in a way that helps protect the user’s privacy," the U-Prove Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document explains. U-Prove is based on technology that Microsoft bought when it acquired Credentica in 2008.

“Geneva” was the codename for a number of Microsoft identity wares. It became the codename for the most recently delivered version of Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) and Windows CardSpace, as well. The programming framework supporting the current version of ADFS originally was codenamed “Zermatt,” then, later, also took on the “Geneva” codename.

Topics: CXO, Enterprise Software, Windows, Developer


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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