Sun offers Liberty development tool

Sun Microsystems has released an open-source tool for developers that will allow them to begin testing network identity applications that use the Liberty Alliance specification, the company said Wednesday at the SunNetwork conference here.

Aimed at large companies and independent software vendors, the tool is designed to help developers learn how to make use of the Liberty specification, and also to let them test applications in an emulated Liberty environment, said John Fanelli, Sun director for network identity and portal products.

Launched in July, version 1.0 of the Liberty specification should allow users to sign on once to a Web site or network application, and then visit other sites without having to re-enter their password. Later versions will also store a credit card number, address and other information, making it more convenient to shop and use other services on the Web, proponents say.

The specification was developed by the Liberty Alliance Project, a group led by Sun that also includes prominent businesses such as United Airlines Inc., American Express Co. and General Motors Corp. It was developed as an alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s Passport, which provides single sign-on access to Web sites that support that technology.

Called the Interoperability Prototype for Liberty, Sun pitched the tool as the first open-source implementation of the Liberty Alliance specification based on Java. Applications tested with it will be compatible with Sun's Sun ONE Identity Server 6.0 product, which is in beta now and will be Sun's first commercial product with built-in support for the technology when it is launched later this year.

"(The tool) will allow for migration to the productized version of Liberty, which we will deliver with Sun ONE Identity Server 6.0," Fanelli said.

The tool is available now for download from the Web, at It consists of sample Java source code libraries implementing the Liberty version 1.0 specification, and is not designed for commercial deployment, according to information on the Web site. It is licensed under the Sun Microsystems Open Source License.

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