Wednesday, March 12, 2014

OpenId's big problem

If you really look at the comment box at the bottom of any of my posts, you'll find a whole bunch of ways to say "I'm a human". One of these is OpenID. I like OpenID, and its cousin OAuth, on general principle. People shouldn't have to be hooked up to some suspect overlord like facebook or google to participate, you know?

(On consideration, my "reasons" for not allowing "anonymous" comments may be suspect. Maybe I should allow that. But that's not related to my point.)

Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror made a recent post about "install our apps" pop-ups. You know the kind:

One of the points he makes is that with so many apps, apps kinda need to be free. Otherwise, they're overpriced. But that brings us to this old privacy-freak adage:

When apps are free, you are the product.

OpenID and OAuth are intended to help solve this problem. And that, in a fit of paradoxical irony, is their problem. The very thing they're supposed to do, is the very thing the people who'd have to adopt it don't want.

Without huge, hyper-driven use demand, they're doomed.

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