I’m a little disappointed to read this article quoting Sai Allavarpu, HP’s director of product management and marketing for security and identity. The article says
According to Sai Allavarpu, […] despite the labeling and promotion, the specs do not promote interoperability at all.
This is pretty disingenuous stuff. Yes, several vendors support multiple protocols, but, and this is the important bit, without this effort, Microsoft would likely have brought Longhorn to market supporting only WS-Federation. Clearly these specifications promote interoperability between Microsoft and the rest of the identity management industry.
Yes, it is possible to support multiple protocols at the identity provider without these new protocols, and Sun’s Access Manager does just that with its support for multiple versions of Liberty ID-FF and SAML, but the “negotiation” specs, as Sai terms them, do have real value in a world where federation standards are evolving and identity and service providers will change their sets of supported protocols over time.
It’s a mistake to see these two specifications as the end of Sun’s interoperability efforts with Microsoft. To quote one of the greatest Britons of all time: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”