OpenID adds Microsoft's Live ID to its list of providers

Microsoft announced on Monday that the company's Windows Live ID will support the OpenID digital identity framework, releasing a Community Technology Preview (CTP) at this week's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.

The CTP allows relying-party sites and the developers of relying-party libraries to test their setups against the Windows Live ID OpenID provider endpoint. Testing now will help them to knock out bugs before the system goes live, most likely sometime next year.

Once it's ready, users of Windows Live will be able to use their IDs on that service to set up an OpenID alias. OpenID is designed to allow users to have their identities authenticated through familiar providers such as Windows Live or -- currently -- Yahoo, Google, AOL and others.

Sites that allow OpenID authentication -- known as "relying parties" -- communicate with the provider service to authenticate the visitor, rather than requiring yet another username and password.

Microsoft made a high-profile commitment to OpenID support back in February, when Bill Gates spoke at the RSA Security conference in San Francisco. In his keynote address, he warned that the username-password system currently ubiquitous online wasn't going to scale in the years ahead, and indicated that Microsoft would support OpenID 2.0 in conjunction with CardSpace, which is built into Vista.

Microsoft is inviting interested parties to try out the test system; instructions are available on the Windows Live blog.

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