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Passport for Linux On the Way 341

mrsam writes "PCWorld reports that Microsoft comissioned Ready-to-Run Software, a small software vendor, to port the Passport server software to Solaris, Red Hat Linux, AIX, and HPUX. Oh, joy."
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Passport for Linux On the Way

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  • not surprising (Score:4, Informative)

    by DrSkwid ( 118965 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:46AM (#4468023) Homepage Journal
    what will be surprising is that once the fist iteration is shipped Microsoft keeps the updates flowing - Frontpage extensions for Apache on Unix anyone?

    • Re:not surprising (Score:2, Informative)

      by cscx ( 541332 )
      Frontpage extensions for Apache on Unix anyone?

      They've existed for years.
      • Re:not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cyberlotnet ( 182742 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:06AM (#4468097) Homepage Journal
        You morons, hie is not saying they don't exist, his statement is more directed at there poor support and reliability under any OS other then Microsoft.

        They are rarely updated, and they often break.. From my exp FP ext's are the bane of most linux based hosting companys and cause a majority of the support load..

        I once worked for one of the largest free hosting provides online, they bought out a Windows based company, The original plan was to switch them over to there linux based system, But after seeing the numbers keeping the windows servers ONLY for people that required FP was considered,

        It is pretty much a known fact to anyone in the webhosting industry that FP ext's on linux are flaky to say the least
      • by DrSkwid ( 118965 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:14AM (#4468496) Homepage Journal
        I know they exist, I installed them on day 1.

        The updates fell out of step with the IIS versions.

        And so many things didn't work compared to the IIS version that we dropped the whole 'we host frontpage' idea because it was too much time in support explaining the differences to frontpage users who, quite reasonably, just wanted it to work like it says in the instructions.

        And then you still have "why don't my database controls work" to contend with.

        fp on Unix was a poisoned chalice as far as we were concerned.

        Poison on IIS too but that's another story!

    • by cwernli ( 18353 )
      It allready exists, also from Ready-to-Run: http://www.rtr.com/fpsupport/ [rtr.com] - note that Digital Unix, FreeBSD, BSDI, Linux (RedHat), Solaris, HPUX and IRIX are supported.
    • Re:not surprising (Score:2, Informative)

      by OpCode42 ( 253084 )
      Already there, and has been for quite some time. See this page for a how-to. [faure.de]
    • by Fastball ( 91927 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:42AM (#4468294) Journal
      fist iteration

      Where do you want it today?

    • Re:not surprising (Score:5, Informative)

      by GweeDo ( 127172 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:50AM (#4468327) Homepage
      These have been around for quite some time. I have had to install both the Frontpage 2000 and the new Frontpage XP (I think that is ext 5.0) on a linux box running apache. The interesting thing to note is that Ready to Run ported these as well. Seems like Microsoft likes them for their porting for crappy software. The FP extentions really suck to install, they required you to give apache greater privledges then it deserves over certain directories...but what do we know...I am sure Microsoft has a good reason for make FP seem like a huge security hole!
    • Re:not surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

      by optisonic ( 202402 )
      I'm an ex Microsoft IIS/SiteServer/FPSE engineer and used to train Microsoft staff on these products. While FPSE on Unix has a fairly unusual implementation, they can easily be configured to work on Apache or IIS in most situations. I personally handled over 7,000 calls on FPSE alone and was unable to resolve four of them. If the product was truly broken, I wouldn't have had such results. RTR does a good job (they port FPSE to all desired platforms). I personally think that *AssPort on unix is good because you can configure systems to report false imformation easily and I don't think Microsoft has the capacity to handle the implementation and security required. IF they put passport on a unix box, it will likely blow up which will be reported to the world. They may be able to handle initial development but if you ever have a serious issue, you will likely be directed to RTR heh. For the same reason SharePoint on Unix was dropped after over a year of development, Microsoft is likely not equipped to handle the support and problem resolution needed to keep this product alive.
  • spyware (Score:5, Funny)

    by den_erpel ( 140080 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:46AM (#4468025) Homepage Journal
    I guess with the usual EULA that gives the permission to send all kinds of information to Microsoft about your usage habits and possibly automatically removes your linux partition and install Windows X-whatever on it, after automatically getting the money from your credit card.

    No thanks.
  • by eellis ( 112890 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:49AM (#4468032)
    Microsoft are going to share some of their source code with the developers. Could this be the start of a new style of policy from microsoft?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Microsoft are going to share some of their source code with the developers.

      Remember folks..
      Developers! Developers! Developers!

    • Re:Biggest part is (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:14AM (#4468141)
      Actually, seeing Microsoft source code, but under a dodgy "pseudo-open" license is actually worse than not seeing it at all. You become "tainted" and MS may well sue you if you work on a conceptually related project. They have taken legal action in the past. NTFS driver development in the Linux kernel was effectively halted, for example, over such an issue.

      That's why most MS releases are WORSE THAN USELESS.
      • To be fair... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 0x0d0a ( 568518 )
        MS's release of technical information and source (even, as was mentioned recently, on demand from the courts) *is* a joke, as you've pointed out -- it pretty much is a legal ploy to entangle people in legal barriers preventing from them from working on competition.

        But, let's also be fair here. This is *Microsoft* and *Slashdot* we're talking about. If Microsoft BSD-licensed Windows and released the source, there'd be a ton of people on here talking about how it was an attempt to crush Free Software by making BSD licensing more popular than the GPL. :-)
    • Re:Biggest part is (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aj ( 608 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:41AM (#4468286) Homepage
      Yes, think about it, *why* are they sharing the code?

      They are fighting fire with fire, all we, as coders have to do, is to see the code, and we are now tainted, and can not legally implement a competing code base.

      The same as if they use GPL code, it taints their talent pool, if we *see* their code, it taints ours.

      be very careful when offered a bite of this apple.

  • by E_elven ( 600520 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:49AM (#4468035) Journal
    It truly seems that MS has 'alienated' a lot of the computer-folks, as it becomes apparent that said computer-folks should now aquire a Passport.

  • by SanLouBlues ( 245548 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:49AM (#4468036) Journal
    Or is microsoft trying to prove that *nix really can be cracked as easily as windows?
  • Hmmm... as if there weren't enough authentication schemes for Linux/Solaris already!

    Now will I see "how do I set up Passport" in all my favorite mailing lists? Hardly. People get flamed enough for Active Directory postings :)

    • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 )
      Hmmm... as if there weren't enough authentication schemes for Linux/Solaris already!
      But can any of those schemes authenticate an online Windows user? Serious criticism only, please.
  • by the_other_one ( 178565 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:51AM (#4468042) Homepage
    When they are done we will be able to see the prices for the communication protocols. Probably only a soul or two.
  • by guidemaker ( 570195 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:53AM (#4468047)
    ...it keeps crashing on Windows.


    Thanks, I'm here all week.

    Seriously, though - why passport? Why not something people might want to use - like Office. Oh yeah - because then there'd be *no* excuse to stick with Windows.
  • Okay, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elodan ( 601886 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:53AM (#4468051) Homepage
    Does it really matter?
    The fact that Passport server software will now run on (some of) the unices isn't really a cause for dismay; although it may speed uptake of Passport, it also removes another reason for a web service provider to use IIS.
    Any company that really *wants* to run Passport WILL. It's just a matter of what platform they run it on.
  • Hey (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spackler ( 223562 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:54AM (#4468053) Journal
    As it was originally designed, Passport Manager could only be installed on Microsoft server software. However, prompted by requests from large Passport customers that manage user authentication on Unix or Linux servers, Microsoft has worked with a company called Ready-to-Run Software, in order to port the software to non-Windows systems.

    Ok, who is the idiot, stock photo posing, Microsoft "freelance" idiot that asked for this thing? Come on, own up to it. You can't hide forever. We know you _THOUGHT_ it was a good idea.
    • by grub ( 11606 )

      Ok, who is the idiot, stock photo posing, Microsoft "freelance...

      Her name is Valerie Mallinson and she certainly has me convinced that XP, and presumably Passport, is the way of the future!
  • by LarsBT ( 580206 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:54AM (#4468056)

    Is it just me or is the idea of centralising security bad?

    It seems to me that a spread of security/password systems is better, since a comprise of one does not comprise the others?

    Somehow the buzz to make everything easier overrules normal safety practises. Do we not get told not to have the same PIN for different credit cards?

    • by blueroo ( 553454 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:11AM (#4468125)
      How many PINs do you have? (2)

      How many computer authentication usernames and passwords do you have? (28)

      Do we see the problem here yet?

      • How many PINs do you have? (2)
        How many computer authentication usernames and passwords do you have? (28)

        I keep all my passwords and other info in a PGP'd file so if I ever forget one I can retrieve it in a moment.

        "but what if you forget your PGP passphrase?"

        Then I'm fux0red, but at least I am to blame, not another MS screwup.

      • How many PINs do you have? (2)

        How many computer authentication usernames and passwords do you have? (28)

        How many keys do you have for your house? (4: front door, deadbolt, back door, side door)

        How many keys do you have for your office? (12: front door, deadbolt, back door, back deadbolt, personal office, server room, HR file cabinet, front corridor, upstairs offices, conference room, supply closet, second supply closet)

        Is it annoying to have to dig through my keys for the right one? Yes. Would I get rid of some of that annoyance by having a single key for all those doors? Not on your life

    • by bastion_xx ( 233612 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:17AM (#4468154)
      Is it just me or is the idea of centralising security bad?

      There is a trade-off between better system security and user security. Single sign-on is very helpful to users. Security personnel can focus on reviewing a smaller set of audit logs, account policy can be applied once, effective everywhere, etc., etc.

      On the other hand, yeah, there is a higher risk that compromising a user's account can allow access to numerous systems or services. But with good administrative practices in place and security reviews, the risks can be identified and managed accordingly.

      After building a server and applying vendor patches, configuring for AD access is a snap and allows the users access without having to tell them anything more than server name.

      Somehow the buzz to make everything easier overrules normal safety practises. Do we not get told not to have the same PIN for different credit cards?

      Sometimes I wish I had as many credit cards as user accounts (even within the company). :>
    • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:32AM (#4468231) Homepage Journal

      A properly set up centralized security server does nothing but run the authentication services and possibly the authorization services. It should not be running other services such as NFS, print services, HTTP servers, etc.

      That is not to say that different applications can't use secondary passwords to authorize certain facilities, or to mandate a seperate security ticket for the duration of a special session (e.g. starting an admin tool to add new users to the application's authorization set, or changing their authorization lists.)

      Many authentication and authorization services also support facilities like session limits (the place I work at right now only allows each id to be used for a single client station at a time; development and support staff are a special case.)

      Centralizing security also means that you only have to deal with hardening one set of authentication servers (gotta have redundant server clusters in a large environment for something this critical!) When patches are needed, you know they've been applied because you don't have to run around to all the application, data, and web server systems. Some application/web servers might break if they aren't patched to work with the updated security server, but that is a good thing -- you don't want outdated clients being authenticated when they're running software that has known security issues.

      However, there are far better products out there that aren't limited to Microsoft clients. Tools like Kerberos, Verisign products, Netware, etc. I just cannot fathom why anyone would voluntarily limit their options rather than just using a non-Microsoft product.

    • Is it just me or is the idea of centralising security bad?

      I think you got your word order slightly askew. We are talking about Microsoft so 'is it me or is the idea of centralizing BAD security bad?' I think that is what you meant ;-)
    • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:56AM (#4468379) Homepage Journal
      I totally agree with you there. If i have a centralised account on one company and they mess up all my accounts is screwed. Dont put all your eggs in one basket. I would much rather have an application that held all my accounts in it encryptet on the HD like in Mozilla. Then they have to break into my computer to get them. If they do that no Passport or liberty in the world will save me anyway since they can look at what i type and then logon by themselves with my account.

      To centralise all passwords is just plain stupid and as i pointed out above it can be solved in better ways. A smartcard with all your accounts that you use with a single password or something.
  • by eggstasy ( 458692 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:55AM (#4468058) Journal
    One wonders what MS's true intentions are in porting this to Linux... embrace and extend?
    Can you even do that to something as complex and loosely-coupled as the open source community of linux developers?
    They probably just realized how large a marketshare Linux is getting on the server side and want to attain total market dominance for their worthless Passport product, lest we develop a better, more secure alternative. Hint, hint: won't work, MS. Much like Gnome, KDE and the other 10 or so windows managers, we are all about freedom and choice and will code alternatives to the alternatives to the alternatives until sourceforge runs out of disk space. Just because we can, just because we love coding and have common ideals for what life should be like: Free, especially of YOUR control.
  • Incredible! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:55AM (#4468060)
    I didn't realise there were Visual BASIC ports to Solaris, Linux, AIX and HP/UX :-)
  • FrontPage - these are about the only guys left still running that stupid logo. Still, if it keeps fat contracts from MS coming in, it's probably worth it. :)
  • Why... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mikelikus ( 212556 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:59AM (#4468075)
    Why did MS comissioned a small company to port Passport server software?

    I'm not an expert in corporate tactics but could it be that they're already forseeing the flop of those ports and rather ask a small company to have the trouble, the (possible) losses, etc... ?
    • Most likely it's because Microsoft has no expertise in the unix programming field. Just the retooling of meat-puppets would have been cost-prohibitive.
  • Ready-to-Run (Score:3, Informative)

    by 1010011010 ( 53039 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @07:59AM (#4468077) Homepage
    "Ready-to-Run" is a misnomer. I had to deal with the unix FrontRage extensions at my previous company (a web hosting provider), and Ready-to-Run's software was total dreck.
  • by Slycee ( 35025 ) <rick&vroop,com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:02AM (#4468079) Homepage
    I believe we in the Linux community should return the favor, and port Wine to Windows.
  • i'm sorry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dlasley ( 221447 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:02AM (#4468083) Homepage
    that list of *NIX platforms already has an answer to passport - liberty. i may have my negative opinions about IBM and Sun at times, and don't get me started about RH, but i place a lot more faith in their stability and security, and i know they'll answer answer the phone when we have a security issue that has to be fixed 30 minutes ago. i don't feel comfortable ever saying that about Microsoft.
    • Re:i'm sorry (Score:3, Informative)

      by pldms ( 136522 )
      For the uninformed:

      Liberty Alliance Project [projectliberty.org]. Sun, Novell, RSA, HP, IBM... the list goes on and on.

      It's attempting to do exactly what passport does (which you may or may not like). The specs are available [projectliberty.org], and Sun have released an opensource Identity Server [sun.com].

      I dunno. If you need a server to tell you your identity...
      • Re:i'm sorry (Score:3, Interesting)

        At the PingID project we're dropping support for Liberty for now. At the DIDW conference I had good long chat with John Beatty, the guy who wrote the Liberty specs. He was an extremely cool guy, but unfortunately Liberty the organization is pretty pathetic when it comes to openness.

        For instance: they charge $120,000 for one level of membership (i forget which). We were told in no uncertain terms that there was no reason for this other than to keep the little guys out, and that virtually all the money would be returned. He joked they'd have to live in Hawaii or something to spend that much.

        Even more worrying was that quite a few of our questions were met with "Sorry, we can't tell you that". A lot of stuff they're doing is "commercially sensitive" apparently. For instance, they demoed a true single sign in/federation demo at the conf, the open sourced reference server doesn't have any web front ends or demos like that. I asked whether I could have copy at the end - no can do, it's based on Novells own authentication engine. Maybe if we can convince the management they said. That's just great.

        Finally it's worth remembering that Liberty is a group of companies each with lots of accounts. They want to "federate" those accounts to streamline their websites and business processes, to make it easier for the customer to have "relationships" with them (a common term at this conference). Hence the fact that they now refer to "Simplified Sign On", not Single Sign on. Only time will tell, but I think our ideas are better.

  • by Vortran ( 253538 ) <aol_is_satan@hotmail.com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:06AM (#4468094) Homepage
    Making mink coats for PETA members?

    Vortran out
  • So what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Vilim ( 615798 )
    The fact that Passpoer is being ported to linux means nothing, really. For a system to exist people have ot use it. The base of linux users who actually register for passport (especially those who use linux because it isn't MS) will be very small. The people who use linux are not idiots. They read thier EULA's, they know what rights MS gives itself with the passport system. Although it is nice that mainstream software is being ported to linux.
    • In fact the base numbers of all users who actually registered for Passport was comparatively small.

      Passport is essentially dead technology in the way that MS wanted to use it. It just hasn't laid down yet.
    • Re:So what? (Score:2, Informative)

      The fact that Passpoer is being ported to linux means nothing, really. For a system to exist people have ot use it. The base of linux users who actually register for passport (especially those who use linux because it isn't MS) will be very small.

      I didn't see anything in the article about the Passport client being ported. MS is only porting the Passport server because people have asked them to.
  • Wait a minute.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bricriu ( 184334 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:07AM (#4468103) Homepage
    So let me get this straight. Their productivity software, Office, that uses de facto document standards and which can currently be sold for a profit, they have no intention of porting to Linux.

    But a broken, hole-y DRM/anti-privacy schema, accepted by only a few and generally looked on with suspicion, being developed with no profits in the near future to -- that, they're porting to Linux.

    Uh.... HUH.
    • by technix4beos ( 471838 ) <cs@cshaiku.com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:15AM (#4468146) Homepage Journal
      Do you not see what Microsoft is trying to do here?

      They want to do two things:

      i.) Establish a foothold in the linux world with their server software, so that when they DO decide to leverage their R&D, IIS is ready to roll, extensions done, .net connectivity done, passport working, etc.

      ii.) Maintain that their win32 platform is superior by toutint rethoric that linux fails and has as much downtime as win32 because look "Even our great software fails due to network overload, and those darn hackers...".

      This is, in my opinion, the start of a series of last ditch maneuvers currently cooked up by the cross-breeding, pollinating executives who work in marketing and network security division, as a way to show the world that they can play nice with that "other" OS, and provide the tools to do so.

      It's not going to work, if for only one simple reason: Apache. This will only push the apache developers harder to do it right, to polish 2.0 so much that it shines, and allow third party developers to create very excellent front end management software when the server market usage by Apache products explodes as a result.

      Mark my words. Microsoft may think they're being cheeky, and clever, but like so many of their previous failings, this one too will come back to bite them in the ass.
      • I agree with you for the most part, however your second point is an interesting one. I can't imagine Microsoft why would try to compete on an "all things being equal Linux is just as unstable and insecure as Windows." stance -- although all evidence would suggest they are attempting this. All things being equal, Linux is still Free (in every way), and if both perform equally, as this stance supposes, then there is no reason to pay out the nose for restrictive licenses to maintain a Windows platform.
      • Re:Wait a minute.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:32AM (#4468609)
        Wow, what an over hypothesized, under-thought, convoluted conspiracy you have there.

        How about a simpler solution? Try this:

        Microsoft, knowing that IIS isn't anywhere near as accepted as Apache for web serving has decided that porting Passport to the OSes that run the majority of web servers would help with adoption rates for the technology.

        or, possibly:

        Companies that want to use Passport have told Microsoft that they are unwilling to switch from their Unix based web servers to Win2K Server w/IIS just to be able to use Passport. Microsoft has listened and has decided to port Passport to various Unices so that it will be accepted.

    • So let me get this straight. Their productivity software, Office, that uses de facto document standards and which can currently be sold for a profit, they have no intention of porting to Linux.

      Port office to linux now and theres much fewer real reason for people NOT to switch to linux from windows

      But a broken, hole-y DRM/anti-privacy schema, accepted by only a few and generally looked on with suspicion, being developed with no profits in the near future to -- that, they're porting to Linux.

      Linux is a threat to Microsoft - if they can persuade people to use their authentication services, then in 5 years support can be slowly withdrawn because linux "isnt as secure" as their palladium future... Guess what? So many services use passport that people feel they have no choice but use windows

      Passport being on linux isnt going to persuade people that a move to linux is viable - but it might just persuade a few linux users to sign up - which just increases microsofts power for the future
  • by Kj0n ( 245572 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:08AM (#4468110)
    I'm certainly Ready-to-Run away from it.
  • by mhesseltine ( 541806 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:17AM (#4468151) Homepage Journal

    For companies that already have passport for certain things, you can setup a secure, fast, *nix server, and allow the few half-wits that use passport to authenticate. How many people got excited by the prospect of being able to do groupware, email, and calendar funtions like Exchange, but without using an Exchange server? This could be the same thing; a way for *nix admins to use their current systems, and support their users who choose to use this thing.

  • by uohcicds ( 472888 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:19AM (#4468160) Homepage
    It's really very simple:

    If you don't want to use it - don't install it. If it's installed - turn it off.

    (I also encourage people not to use Passport in my academic capacity - and I tell them why).

    I fail to see why MS is providng ports to platforms where the user base is so hostile to the concept of the massively insecure single sign-in

  • by sisukapalli1 ( 471175 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:22AM (#4468175)
    For instance, the unix utils (a2ps to top) are included in a distribution that costs $399.
    Here is a blurb from their site:
    Ready-to-Run provides you with software ready-to-run immediately for much less than what you would pay to acquire the same software in non-executable source form from a bulletin board. And only for a fraction of what you would pay for most of the commercial software available!
    So, are they charging for service (giving us the freedom to redistribute?) Anyone knows the answers? Would M$FT's system be really free (as in speech?) S
  • Two words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Keck ( 7446 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:22AM (#4468177) Homepage

    chroot() jail
  • the whole i want to be a better bank then the banks (ie take a little bit of money for each transaction / authentication or whatever) works out. If it does work out then the whole software development thing that Microsoft does will seem pretty unimportant MS wont care if you are running win or lin or whatever... MS will be raking it in anyhow and will no longer have to maintain a big pile 'o code known as an operating system.

    Of course if it doesn't work out then they will be glad that they didnt port anything else and help linux gain popularity and market share at the expense of windows.

  • by PinkX ( 607183 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:30AM (#4468219) Homepage
    First of all, everyone is gonna love Microsoft for porting its great universal authentication solution to the *nices platforms, making it more universal. Big *NIX companies will buy the software and will offer Passport support to their clients. Then, after a couple of (outdated) versions, specifications will change without previous notice and the implementation will be worthless, the performance will go much below that the native winXX version, big companies customers will start bitching around about lack of support and functionality, and the final response from M$ to big compianies will be 'our passport system was created to work from the ground up on the .NET framework, which uses native winXX functions not available in any other working environment, thus we cannot guarantee the correct behaviour on other platforms'. End result: big company will migrate its *NIX servers to M$ platforms, and big company customers opinion about how *nix sucks, and how far winXX is superior at accomplishing the same tasks. Don't you see it's all but just a FUD game the M$ people is trying to play with you?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:31AM (#4468226)
    (*) 1 month
    (*) 6 months
    (*) 1 year
    (*) 2 years
    (*) Never
    (*) Coyboy Neal passport rules :-)
  • One word, twofold. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:34AM (#4468242) Homepage Journal

    Why Passport?? *shudders*
  • subversion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JDizzy ( 85499 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @08:39AM (#4468271) Homepage Journal
    It just goes to show, if you cannot beat them; blur, subvert, entagle, go to bed with, and later on take a knife to their neck. This is one good way to get their roots into an otherwise concreate group who seem to stand firmly on open source. Heck, making Internet Explorer free (as in cost) utterly destroyed Netscape in the end, and now free (as in freedom) software is starting to destroy Microsoft. Kinda Ironic huh? Well it won't be so easy on this side of the camp for them to subvert. We can see it coming, and if Microsoft is so anti Finux, then why have a company contribute to that very same agenda they are scared of? Is this an "embrace, and exploite" method we have not seen before? Who knows, maybee MS will write their own Finux distro in the end! har... har..
  • by Anonymous Coward
    and customers that don't understand their technology or options.

    honestly, u can use ldap with pam and smb for win authentication that will work across windoze and *nix. i love ldap and it's amazing how once company just kinda doesn't wanna push something that's a standard in light of their own crap.

    it's too bad. but this is typical and unfortunately only the companies and groups that really 'get it' will ever implement things the 'right' way. this is true with probably every software solution.

    i can see those guys at that company thinking this is a great idea, but it's not. bad ideas should be shot down and buried. passport has numerous problems and needs to be put in a hole.

    of course, like everything m$, they won't bury it. they'll keep bolting on to it until people give in or roll it into something else (read: sneak it in the back door).
  • Yay! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:11AM (#4468468) Homepage Journal
    Pretty soone I'll be able to...

    apt-get install pam-passport clippy ntkernel msdllmgr mslicmgr msautopay msextraviruses mssolitaire

    I so look forward to being able to read those Word attachments management keeps sending me!

  • by gmezero ( 4448 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:16AM (#4468513) Homepage
    ...please forgive my pseudo-rambling, It's going on 24hrs since I last slept ;p doh! ...

    Look, the primary reason for passport logins is in order to attract customers. PERIOD. If MS can offer passport security (sic) login support across nearly all commonly used platforms, then they can potentially approach a company with large volume customer interaction such as AT&T, FedEx, etc... or even our Government and use the sell line of "XX% of the US internet population has access to Passport, and XX% of internet users already have accounts created, reducing your sign-up/registration headaches. We would like to offer you this secure (sic), unified login solution for your customers as a convienence to both you and them. We can even integrate all of your customer service functions into this login for you as part of your initial installation! We'll even support your internal *nix environment so that you don't have to change servers (!for now!)."

    So, then say, FedEx says hey, that sounds great, we can integrate everything into this, and it looks like everyone already has a Passport account, and there's no change in equipment on our end, and wow this will really make it easier for our customers to login and issue shipments, track shipments... We'll take it.

    Microsoft never abandons a product, period, they just repurpose it a few years later. The MSN network never died, MS is just trying to co-op the internet under their wing. They want all data to come through them so they can get on with the subcription model they have been trying to migrate to since 1995. Passport has one primary purpose, it is the login mechanism of MSN, and the leverage to get companies to chanel data through MSN, which get's more customers, then more companies, etc...

    Once MS has "critical mass" on Passport, they can leverage it even harder as part of their DRM initiatives. This isn't to control what you see and here per se. Remember, MS is about one and only one thing, maximizing the profit of the shareholders. PERIOD. If every piece of data has to pass through a piece of MS technology, even a nominal toll of cents becomes a tremendous amount of money.

    What do you think the X-Box is all about. It is about marginalizing the PC. Just wait till next year when the data/streaming formats that are only X-Box compatible, or X-Box first start to role out. Just wait until you can subscribe to Office on your X-Box variant... Not only does this completely elimiate anti-trust issues due to the large volume of established law supporting the rights of hardware manufactures to control the content on their systems. The consolidation of all of these technologies over the next couple of years will give MS even more leverage in pushing their protocols to prospective clients... thus feeding the loop. ...and don't give me that crap about "nobody is buying X-Box systems". You're right, nobody is buying them. That's not the point. If MS was worried about sales, they wouldn't be giving away litterally hundres, if not thousands of consoles regularly. Pepsi shortly ends yet another "500 free X-Boxes" promotions this month. Who as ever heard of a console manufacture regularly givining away thousands of systems as much as a year after launch? MS only cares about

    DRM components on a PC may or may not ever happen, but I believe the whole discussion will be mute in a number of years anyways...
    • What do you think the X-Box is all about.

      Interesting you should mention that. Apparently Passport does indeed now have a Kerberos stack (I had previously thought that would be too hard to do), and the XBox service uses it. They are cross tying their products already.

    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:07AM (#4468851) Homepage Journal
      I've been attending M$ seminars for several years now, and from what they themselves say, you're dead-on. They really do want to move to a purely subscription model.

      Subscription-based *software* won't cut it, tho -- because the user CAN escape that, so long as there is some way to port their data elsewhere. But making *access* to your data a subscription feature -- THAT will lock people in for all time, unless they decide they can do without any data already committed to the system. And what's locked in can be charged on a regular basis (either per timespan or per-use, or both).

      M$ understands this perfectly, and is working to achieve it.

      "Once you pay the danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane." -- British proverb (ca. 600 A.D.)

    • > Remember, MS is about one and only one thing,
      > maximizing the profit of the shareholders. PERIOD.
      Whoa whoa whoa there cheif! I hate to point this out, but you're wrong. Seriously. I know we all have the little capitialist mantra in our heads about profit. However, MS has constantly and routinely screwed their shareholders out of divedens they rightly deserve. The majority stock holders aren't interested in giving anything back and sharing their gains with the rest. Instead, any and all profit goes to continue lining their 40 billion dollar treasure chest. At this point, MS could buy and sell the world if they'd like - hell, they could stop wars, yet they're to frugal to give a penny back to their investors. And this is the REAL reason why MS will be in the very bottom of hell -- Malice toward benifactors.
  • Yawn (Score:4, Informative)

    by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:29AM (#4468590)
    Old news guys. There has been an Apache/Linux module for Passport for years. At Digital ID World 2002 I chatted with some of the Passport guys, and pretty cool they are too. They told me that they were going to rewrite it, as they didn't have many (read, any) skilled Linux coders, and their present Apache implementation sucked dogs balls.

    Second point, so what? Passport has practically zero penetration, even less since the screwed over doristheflorist.com and removed the Wallet functionality (for being unnecessary bloat). Now don't me wrong, I'm sure MS will push Passport until it gets bigger and better, but at the moment that isn't an issue.

    Final point, digital identity is a good idea, and the world will be an easier and more secure place for those who want it to be when we can have digital identities. So, what are we doing about it?

    The PingID project is developing an open royalty free set of protocols, with an open source (though unfortunately non-free) reference implementation of the server. This will be something you can download and install onto your server for free, that will then let you sign in to various accounts that support the protocols, manage your personal document store and any authorizations you have given out (at least, in the beginning). The url is pingid.org but I'm not linking to it, because we're going to be putting up a new site that more accurately reflects the new open source nature of the project in like 3 or 4 days, so I don't want people to go look and go "huh, he was talking out of his ass". Code for v0.1 will be coming in a few weeks hopefully, I get paid to hack on it part time. Join the mailing lists to help out and track its progress. So far, this is really the only open answer to digital identity we've found, so I'm pretty glad I'm a part of it :)

  • Look folks ... it's all well and good to dis passport (and I'm with you in hating it), but if no one comes up with something else that will work, this battle will be lost. Where are the comparable alternatives to passport? (I'm sure they exist, but I'm not familiar with them.)
  • by cbreaker ( 561297 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:49AM (#4468736) Journal
    Really, it's the OS that we don't want Microsoft controlling right?

    If this is a move on their part to start supporting Linux as a "valid" operating system, and start developing applications for it, I'm not upset with that one bit.

    You can "OpenOffice" all you want, but personally, I *do* like Microsoft Word. And I like Outlook. If they started making these applications available in full form to Linux, I would run them.

    Personally, I think that down the road sometime (probably not very soon) Microsoft will be developing real products for alternate operating systems. On one hand, they want everyone to use Windows. On the other hand, there is a growing amount of users switching to alternate systems, and Microsoft would love to sell you software. At some point, unless something goes horribly wrong with Linux, the community won't be able to be ignored.

    Ahh well. Who cares what I think anyways.
  • by chrysalis ( 50680 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:58AM (#4468795) Homepage
    Why did Microsoft _pay_ a company to port Passport to _some_ operating systems?

    They'd better :

    - Release the source code and the protocol description, so that anyone can freely create Passport compatible software for every operating system.

    - Keep their cash for marketing, so that people understand what Passport could bring.

  • Passport? (Score:4, Funny)

    by SupahVee ( 146778 ) <superv@@@mischievousgeeks...net> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:26AM (#4468967) Journal
    "Hi..my name...is...Werner Brandes...my voice...is my...PASSPORT...verify..me."

    Sorry, couldnt resist, carry on about your business folks, nothing to see here.

  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <ed@membled.com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:32AM (#4469042) Homepage
    They're not porting it to XENIX? This is an outrage!
  • by Tim Macinta ( 1052 ) <twm@alum.mit.edu> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:47AM (#4469213) Homepage
    Remember when Microsoft announced they were releasing Internet Explorer for the Mac and for "Unix" (which turned out to just be Solaris and HPUX, I think)? They did this when Netscape was the dominant web browser because many companies were reluctant to switch from Netscape to IE because IE was not a cross platform solution. I said at the time [kmfms.com] that they would yank these other versions as soon as Netscape started to die out. Guess what happened? Internet Explorer now has the lion's share of the browser market and Microsoft recently yanked the Unix version [mozillazine.org].

    Everybody please avoid Passport for *nix when it comes out - they are in all likelihood doing the exact same thing. They will abandon you as soon as they get what they want (i.e., a monopoly position).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2002 @11:28AM (#4469630)
    I used to work for them a couple of years ago as an intern- and am still friends with many of them. They're a great small company- I loved working there over all the other places I've worked since then.

    They're good folks- diehard unix people(the president, Jeff, is one of the most experienced unix people I've ever met) who have been, for years, making various open-source software easier to install/use, backing the packages with support, and folding changes back into the community. They've been doing this since the very early 1990's.

    One could argue that RTR helped, in a major way, bring open source software into the corporate world. Not with Linux- but with all the commercial unixes. Solaris. HPUX. AIX. Irix. etc.

    Their ReadyPaks, at the time, were practically revolutionary- with one command you pulled a full installer off a tape, installer asked you a whole bunch of questions, and boom, you got a working installation. It was exactly what many large companies were looking for- open-source software fixed up, given a good installer, and a commercial company to stand behind it for support.

    Whereas you'll see other people talking about how to bring free software to the business world- RTR has been doing it for over 10 years.

    So if you're going to grumble about a company- please don't grumble about RTR. Much of the open source GNU packages you use today, especially on the non-free unixes, work better(or at all) on those platforms in part due to RTR.

    That said, they are a very small company, folks- please use google caches and stuff to keep from swamping their line/webserver....
  • WHoa! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Maskirovka ( 255712 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @02:04PM (#4471171)
    Damn! I saw a beta of this on kazaa last week, but thought it was fake.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982