OpenID fills a similar role to the email-based authentication found on many sites (such as LWN)
I am aware of the niche that OpenID is trying to fill, and it is certainly not a terribly bad solution for that specific problem, certainly it is a better solution than using just email. Though it remains to be seen if some infocard-derivate could become a reasonable competitor for that specific problem.
I was not clear on this but I think the main reason why I am disappointed in OpenID is that I find that it is aiming too low. There are a lot of interesting problems that can be handled with SAML 2.0 and similar stuff, but for which OpenID is inadequate.
So I do prefer OpenID rather than the current situation where every site has completely independent accounts and email verification and captcha's and all. But I would much rather see more widespread use of Liberty and SAML 2.0 protocols and I have a slight fear that people will just settle for just plain OpenID instead because it solves a small part of the bigger problem.
On the other hand it should be noted that OpenID and those other protocols are not exclusive and propably it is not very difficult to add support for one of them to a site once the other has been implemented.
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