The open source project is the Higgins Trust Framework, which is being developed by the Eclipse Foundation, makers of the Eclipse IDE. Higgins will be a client that interfaces with participating web sites to manage your logins, supply credit card payment info, and so on. It'll be an open specification that can be implemented on a variety of platforms and languages. IBM and Novell are two of the main participants in this project.
Microsoft's project is InfoCard. This is the successor to their largely unsuccessful Passport project. InfoCard will be proprietary and only available in Windows.
IBM has a couple of podcasts that help explain why user-centric identity management is becoming more important:
A few articles on Higgins and InfoCard:
- "Group backs new identity manager tool" (Computerworld)
- "Manage Your Own Identity Online " (InternetNews)
- "Open Source Initiative to Give People More Control Over Their Personal Online Information" (IBM press release)
- "Microsoft's InfoCard draws open-source response" (ZDNet)