This is actually a precursor to the another post. While typing that post I became increasingly tired of typing “Identity Metasystem” and “Information Cards”, and have decided to revert to infocards. This is why…

I’m tired of trying to figure out what to call a system of software agents that support a particular style of interactions and data exchanges. Exchanges which are in the style of WS-Trust, use security tokens and security token services, employ an information card metaphor, and are probably to some degree compatible with Microsoft’s Cardspace implementation of an identity selector. What is that system called?

I have read that some feel this system should be called the Identity Metasystem and on my last rereading of Kim’s paper, I mostly think that’s his intent. Mostly. But I’m not sure. And certainly others tell me that the metasystem can’t be meta if it relies on specific protocol exchanges. Protocol exchanges define an identity system, not a metasystem. Also, how can a protocol encompass future systems? It would have to be incredibly fuzzy and abstract (perhaps as fuzzy as WS-*).

So a metasystem should encompass other systems — but does that mean other distibuted systems or other host based systems? Put another way, is a metasystem a conceptual thing only, since actual communications between agents would involve a specific set or system of protocol exchanges. Or is it a metasystem if it is a protocol system that is so incredibly felxible, extensible, and general that connectors can be written to connect all host based identity systems into it?

Reading the paper again just now, I think that Kim’s intent is that the “Identity Metasystem” is a set of protocols and profiles — based on WS-Trust and sometimes called WS-*. But I don’t think it’s commonly understood that way, and I’m not at all sure I’m right.

There’s also the concept of the MetaIdentity System.

And I’m still tired of dancing around what to call it. So, in the posts that follow (until I’m corrected or change my mind) I intend to call it by name of infocard. Using the Microsoft code name as a generic term for the overall paradigm. I know most people now call them “Information Cards”. But that’s so LONG and I’m an old coder that doesn’t type well. It’s as long as “Identity Metasystem”. I like short, but specific names. Preferably all lower case. So I intend to refer to the specific visual metaphor as infocard, and the system as infocards, or perhaps, “an infocard system” when necessary.