Thursday, 12 October 2006

Portable User Accounts
Leading on from this article on slashdot, that talks about a patent lodged by apple for storing/carrying user profiles on portable devices, I'ld like to see it go a step further --> portable licences attached to a person, rather than a PC.

Similar to the Steam platform (gaming), where you buy a steam account, associate any Steam game licences with it (half life, counterstrike yadda yadda), and wherever you install Steam you can log on with that user account and have the relevant games unlocked. Probably similar to the
Microsoft 'rent-an-app' thing they keep bandying about (cant be bothered reading up on it tho!). My idea would be that application (and possibly even OS) licences would be stored either on a portable device (usb key,ipod etc), or on a central server along with your identity, so no matter
where you are, you can get to your apps. Ideally, the app would 'install' automatically on trying to start it (from the internet somewhere I guess), and uninstall again on removing your authentication (unless it's chosen to be permanently installed on that PC).

Sound good? Flawed? Could be an extension to the current single 'Identity' protocols out there... however it could still work with multiple logons to different sites/vendors, as long as you had a single sign on mechanism of some form (ie a USB key which contained all the logons or something). Hmmmmm

Drives me mental that I can purchase some software (like say MS Office or Photostop), but not use it when I'm away from my PC - would mean internet cafes and even home PC's become more like bare bones 'terminals' - turn up and either drop your own profile/licences on them, or 'rent' a profile from the internet cafe.


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