Wow. It's bad enough that this 25-year-old college-drop-out-turned-tyrant Zuckerberg is about two steps away from world government -- now there is a serious drive to have OpenID established in government, with DOD and Nation socialist geeks nodding in unison at #tcamp909 that it would be great to have. Facebook taking over the world isn 't *that* bad -- world government never works, and perhaps the FB World Parliament will be so busy vampire-biting each other and looking at pictures of each others' cats that they will stay out of our way. But OpenID in *government*. As in...the government of the United States of America?! Are you friggin' on *drugs*?
I should explain for those watching at home -- actually, we're *all* watching at home now because only about 277 people on the East Coast still have big expense accounts to go flying around to conferences or even take the Acela to DC -- that #tcamp09 is Twitter-speak for Transparency Camp (groan) a New New Authoritarian Left concoction that had the Personal Democracy gang all salivating along with wonky Clintonite geeks who have been in the wilderness for 8 long years inside government agencies and now at least have been free to do some real damage. "Camps" of course come from the early Silicon Valley new media meet-ups called "barcamps" which were sort of "happening unconferences" where the topics were made up as they went along and everybody just kind of hung out and chilled and drank at the bar, I guess, while they thought up stuff and noodled on their laptops.
But what's wrong with OpenID, you ask increduously? Why, it's the perfect thing. Why, it's free. Why, no one owns it. Why, it's opensource! Why, you'll be able to have one log-on everywhere and never have to make up new user names and passwords for every site! Why, it's so convenient!
To which I say, no, no, no and -- no. It's deeply fucked. And here's why.
First, any opensource project that claims "it is owned by no one; it belongs only to the community" is deeply lying. Because it belongs *to them*. To the small group of coders who originated it and divulged it only to others like themselves, not explaining themselves. Not to the general public, with its institutions of accountability. But to a bunch of unaccountable and often no-show geeks who run it. The community isn't a geographic location where you can see the people next door; it's not an agency accountable to Congress. It's just a bunch of geeks. On the Internet. Who take over...just because. Because they show up. Something as monumental as forcing a log-on identity system on to the United States of America should have been (and perhaps it's not too late to make it so) something that is debated, and which becomes *legislated*. Yes, *legislated by our representatives that we elect?* Remember them? And then signed into law by you, know, that guy in the White House we elected? Through a process. Not off his Blackberry to his friends in SiliValley.
Opensource always = closed society as I've often said precisely because while it claims to be "open" and "anyone can join" and all the other shills, in fact, it's closed if you are not a coder, and if you are not prepared to join the hive-mind IRC coding culture. Don't even THINK of criticizing ANYTHING about OpenID EVER, because here's what happens: you are told, as in SL on the JIRA, to "Patch or Get the Fuck Out". In other words, as a user, as a member of the public, unless you are willing to go spend 2 years or more aquiring a degree in computer science and learning not only how to program in a bunch of languages but negotiate the really arcane rules and regulations which ABOUND in any opensource project (as anybody who has spent one second in AWG or MMOX could tell you), you can't demand that it work.
Here's how the geeks on Twitter answer me. I note that OpenID is wonky and not user-friendly and adverse to criticism. Here's the answer I get from Daveman692 (sigh) on Twitter.
"OpenID is getting simpler as is natural for any technology that is less than 4 years old. What are you doing to help fix it?"
In other words, we get to fool around for four long years and never have to explain ourselves -- we're freeeeee! We're the commuuuunnnnity! And if you don't like that, "patch or GTFO". Go and mix it up with the freaks in the dev groups and join the other nasty and insolent asstards like that Tweeter, and try to make headway. Hey, good luck with that?
So in a defensive sulk, he tells me that OpenID has had only 4 years to develop, and it will be getting better.
Hahahahahahaha. No. That's no good. I don't mind if a multi-user 3-D streaming virtual world takes four years to develop, but...this is just a thingie to log in to a friggin website for God's sake. You need four years to do *that*? WTF is wrong with you? What the HELL have you been UP TO for four years? Could your vast global domination fantasies about making this "everywhere" yet "decentralized" um, maybe have something with why it's taking too long lol?
I persist in trying to explain how the opensource culture of insolence, defensiveness, wonkiness makes it so hard to get simple concepts across about why OpenID doesn't work. So I get a slightly more polite geek than Daveman692, @ilabra, where I explain the 4 or 6 things wrong with OpenID. He plays dumb, saying how isn't it open? The dev process isn't open? The licenscing process isn't open? But, despite making it very simple -- it's not user-friendly, you freak -- I still get a geek who keeps being unable to grasp the obvious -- he golf-whispers in an aside to his pals that he is going to play naive because he suspects I am "polemicizing". I tell him he's still not getting it. Answer:
"Thanks for your attempt at communication".
Like...I'm the problem and tongue-tied and incoherent because I explain in simple English why OpenID is hard to use and not worth replicating? The absolute insular, cynical refusal to listen to people with feedback, which should be heard in any scientific project, is astounding. Stunning.
Let's go over it again, shall we? Here's why OpenID is not only a pain in the ass to use, but threatens privacy and freedom: