Thursday, October 30, 2008

Continuing to Not Quite Get It at Google...

So, Google made a big announcement about how they're now supporting OpenID from Gmail. Except it turns out that they're really not. They're using an extra-special Googleplex fork of OpenID, incompatible with the standard. It's not OpenID, it's GopenID, or GoogleID, or Andro-ID, but whatever it is, it's not what they claim it to be.

I know the folks at Google aren't stupid, and I'm unable to understand what it is about actually working with a community--one that isn't contained within the Googleplex, anyway--that they find so scary. They did it with Android (and then spent the better part of a year publicly running down mainstream mobile open source development as "not good enough", "too desktop oriented", etc.) and now they've gone and done it again with OpenID.

Let me try to explain this to you, guys: a standard only has value when everyone uses the same one. If you decide to have your own version of a standard, it's not a standard any more, it's just pointless fragmentation.

Google's pretty good at things that simply involve writing a check, like the Summer of Code, like sponsoring GUADEC (and then not showing up), like joining the GNOME Foundation Advisory Board (and I certainly hope someone's planning on showing up for that), like Android. They're consistently terrible at actually getting out into the community and simply working with people and projects that don't happen to be Google-driven.

I don't get it. Or if I'm feeling especially cynical, maybe I do. Like we used to say at Apple, if you think you're too cynical, you're not cynical enough.

13 comments:

behdad said...

Hey,

The GUADEC no-show was unfortunate. Leslie loved to come to Istanbul, but she somehow managed to schedule their GHOP final ceremony for the same week.

Lefty said...

I love Leslie, and I missed seeing her.

Why is she the only person they'd send, though?

Anonymous said...

Read the comments at your link. The story is false.

James Henstridge said...

That blog post you've linked to seems quite misguided. I wrote a bit abou it here.

It doesn't look like they're doing anything that others haven't done before (in fact I've done an OpenID rollout that ended up looking quite similar).

You sound like you've got an axe to grind.

Lefty said...

Not quite, although not as bad as first painted. As David Reardon points out in the comments there, "The piece that Google is currently doing differently is requiring pre-registration of each OpenID Relying Party before users can login to a given site. This does break the common deployment of OpenID on the web today, but Eric Sachs of Google has said on the OpenID mailing list (http://tinyurl.com/562mec) that this is temporary as they work to stabilize their OpenID Provider: 'We just need to do the standard scaling, stability, translation quality, etc. evaluation to make sure there are no major problems. If we are lucky, that won't take much time. However it is more then likely that we will need to tweak things in our user interface to make it easier to understand, and unfortunately translating any such tweaks into 40+ languages takes awhile.'"

They still should have come up with something that was actually interoperable before announcing it as "OpenID"--it simply confuses matters...

Lefty said...

James, see my comments at your blog. Thanks for the additional information...

Stoffe said...

Hello, they are supporting OpenID 2.0. Yes, it's incompatible with 1.0, but that's hardly their fault.

(Funny that you seem to have a beef with the company providing your blog...)

Lefty said...

Really? What's funny about it? My having a blog on a site that happened to be acquired by Google means that I shouldn't criticize them...?

Now, that's funny.

Anonymous said...

Gnome is antiquated. KDE 4.1 is the future of the desktop.

Lefty said...

Wow. That's a cogent analysis, especially when unsigned.

Stop being an anonymous dimwit. If you think you've got a case, make it, and put your name to it.

Anonymous said...

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080729-kde-4-1-delivers-a-next-gen-desktop-linux-experience.html

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Linux-and-Open-Source/KDE-41-Pushes-CrossPlatform-UI-Support/

In terms of stability, UI innovation, performance and robust cross platform support KDE 4.x makes Gnome look outdated and irrelevant. Its a pure QT desktop, Gnome is a hodgepodge of kludgey libraries and old junk. The GTK is a crusty booger in comparison to the QT library, which is more of a Ferrarri in terms of elegance and design.

Anonymous said...

Some bad blood between Linus Torvalds and GNOME developers is flaring up again. Previously, Torvalds has said that Linux users should switch to KDE instead of GNOME because of the GNOME team's "users are idiots" mentality. Now he has "put his money where his mouth is" by submitting patches to GNOME in order to have it behave as he likes.

This week, on the Linux Foundation's (formerly OSDL) Desktop Architects mailing list, the two sides are going mano a mano. On Monday, Marcos Pérez López replied in Spanish to an earlier message from Torvalds in which Torvalds lashed out at the GNOME crew, claiming GNOME developers believed their users were idiots.

http://www.linux.com/articles/114231

Lefty said...

That article is more than a year and a half old. No wonder you didn't have the cojones to sign this.