Sausages in Atlanta

I recently attended the REFEDS and Internet2 Member meetings in Atlanta with both of my new hats on – as coordinator for REFEDS and consortium manager for the Shibboleth Consortium. I was there in part to talk about sausages 😉 Well, actually to present the eduID business case at REFEDS.

We have had two main problems with the eduID concept: 1) people fixating on the term ‘eduID’ and 2) purists who would prefer a solution that totally changes the authentication flow to something more akin to the Kantara or Shibboleth Discovery Service approach. I am sympathetic to both these views.

For the people who like the basic concept of something which means ‘click here’ but had problems with ‘eduID’ I have simply started referring to eduID as ‘sausages’ to drive home the point that it doesn’t matter what the word says, what matters is that we gain some traction from it. Strangely, this seems to have gained significant traction as we have taken the elephant out of the room – so now we can all live in fear that it really will be ‘sausages’ 😉

For the purists who say we must achieve the changes proposed by Kantara, yes I hear you. Regrettably I am a pragmatist and see this will be for many providers simply a step too far from the path they are currently on.

So the current proposal for how we take this work forward is thus:

1. Create a website something along the lines of:
2. Work with Kantara and the Shibboleth Consortium to make this an easy to use guide (both for managers and technical types) which promotes the kanatara / shibboleth approach as the optimum discovery solution.
3. ALSO on the site, recognise that this may be a step too far for many providers and provide an alternative in the form of ‘sausages’ with a best practise guide on how to take this forward.
4. Get some experienced people to make ‘sausages’ in to a slogan that people can identify with and effectively use.

Over the next couple of months, I will be writing this up for REFEDS, hopefully getting approval (will probably be the first formal REFEDS vote!) and looking at how we might fund this initiative.

So the question then remains, will you be drinking kool aid or eating sausages?