[Linux-aus] OpenID - Linux Australia member service?

Jeff Waugh jdub at perkypants.org
Mon Feb 18 02:10:00 UTC 2008

<quote who="Paul Wayper">

> What do people think?

The biggest challenge for OpenID at the moment is lack of *consumers* rather
than lack of *providers*. Everyone wants to be a provider, because then they
"own" your ID. Few (commercial interests) want to dive wholeheartedly into
consumption, because they're challenged by the usual open vs. closed issues
of attention and commitment they should've learnt from subscriber vs. public
availability publishing models.

This is why for one service that I run (blogs.gnome.org), I spent a lot of
time porting the WordPress OpenID *consumer* plugin to WordPress MU. Plus,
blogs.gnome.org doesn't have the WPMU OpenID *provider* plugin at all, it
just has a simple plugin to set up delegation to another provider. It's more
important to create consumers than providers -- install the WordPress OpenID
consumer plugin on your blog today! [1]

So it turns out that it's vastly easier to get or host an OpenID than it is
to actually use one. For a simple self-administered solution, try phpMyID.
You can also use delegation to stay in control of your identity even while
using third party OpenID providers.

I agree that it would be cool for LA to offer this service, but I think we
are already very close to the point that offering OpenIDs is like offering
email aliases: Cute, but administratively distant (almost all of my spam
comes through via aliases on foreign machines -- not immediately relevant to
OpenID, but administrative distance has many forms), and ultimately falling
dramatically in value as availability increases... I have X number of email
addresses, of which I regularly use two -- personal and work; I'm finding
myself in much the same situation with OpenIDs and Jabber accounts, and the
ratio of use is even less positive for those!

Perhaps counter-intuitively, making MemberDB consume OpenID (and encourage
it by default) might actually be a more substantive contribution than giving
members free OpenIDs. Much like having a mailing list is a more substantive
contribution than giving members free email addresses? :-)

- Jeff

[1] http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/openid/ -> check trac for my patch
to support WPMU if you're using it.

GUADEC 2008: Istanbul, Turkey                         http://www.guadec.org/
       "Having strings in a language seems to be a case of premature
                        optimization." - Paul Graham

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