I don’t think I’ve ever met Paul Madsen in person. I have often found his blog posts to be humorous and insightful, and I enjoy it when he makes a good jab at a misunderstanding or weak spot of various identity systems. It appears to me the he really wants to find the most useful answers and is having a good time doing it. My favorite post from Paul (that I can think of right now) is about a taxonomy of Internet identity projects and groups. I don’t always agree with the specifics (e.g. I don’t think the Identity Commons is a Spec Definition Body) but the approach is very cool. We need it. I’m just going to refer people to that post every time they ask “why do you make this so complicated — do we really need [Specification] A and [OpenSource Software] B?”
On the other hand, I have met Ashish Jain. You can’t find a more pleasant, approachable, and engaging guy. It appears to me that the only time Ashish detaches from a collaborative conversation is when the hype to implementation ratio is too high — a valuable trait. Ashish likes to make things work. Like Signon.com. And he also publishes very funny things, like the baby covered with logos before the first Burton/OSIS interop event.
Over a year ago the OSIS working group followed a time-honored tradition of changing a word in its name while maintaining the same acronym. It was originally the “Open Source Identity Selector” but became the “Open Source Identity System”. And it has been made fun of incessantly for that change. If we are ever foolhardy enough to change the name again, I definitely vote for “Open Source Invitation for Singles”.