As many of you know we have a beta implementation of the Shibboleth
Identity Provider (IdP) available for use. You also may have heard
about Bill Gates' recent announcement about Microsoft Dreamspark:
In a nutshell this initiative by our buddies in Redmond lets students
download their developer tools and use them free of charge.
Microsoft's quandary was (and is, to a degree) that they don't have a
good way to verify a person's "studentness" easily. Well, the
Shibboleth technology that we've deployed, and the InCommon Federation
for Higher Education, which we joined last year, allows this to
happen. We can authenticate students locally, and assert their
affiliation (student, in this case) to the Dreamspark download
application so that Microsoft can provide the software to folks who we
say are students.
Microsoft has decided to allow anyone who authenticates through an
InCommon IdP to be allowed to download the software. I'm not sure
when they'll change this policy to strictly require student
affiliation to come from the IdP, but we're ready for such an event.
In the meantime, my understanding is that it will be downloadable by
anyone successfully authenticated by our IdP, though the license only
allows students to use the software for free.
Another weird Microsoficity is that you must have or obtain a Windows
LiveID to download the software. THe LiveID is free, and fairly easy
This is a great real life example of Shibboleth at work, and I'm very
excited to be in the first group of schools to offer this service.
The download URL is here, and I would encourage you to direct students
who are interested to it:
Matt Kolb <[log in to unmask]>
Academic Computing & Network Services
Michigan State University