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RE: [Auth]A simple serverside authentication scheme

From: Nick Lothian
Subject: RE: [Auth]A simple serverside authentication scheme
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 12:49:33 +0930

> Don't overlook the problem that this approach requires
> server-side resources (such as bandwidth, hardware, sysadmin
> time).

You are joking, aren't you?

We could use sourceforge to set up an initial implementation. That would
support many thousand simultaneous login validations, and once we require
more power we just use other free server, or someone spends $20 a month to
get some space on a shared server.

The bandwidth is pretty insignificant - we're just doing posts
username/password pairs and urls. The HTTP headers will be bigger than the
actual data transferred.

> We need an approach that can quickly scale to a significant
> percentage of all ecommerce transactions - anything else is not
> a suitable strategy for reaching the goal of getting a
> significant maerketshare quickly.

I'm still waiting for a response to issues like:

a) Historically, client side plugin take up is very slow (eg, Flash took 2
years to get significant market penetration, same with Real Player. Even in
the early days of the web Java took a couple of years to get a majority of
browsers in use supporting it).

b) The security-lock-down issue. By this I mean all the computers (eg net
cafes, Universities, libraries, corporate environments) that don't let you
install plugins and/or don't have floppy drives

c) Support for multiple browsers/operating systems. Who here has written a
plugin? I've done some ActiveX controls, but even they work differently
between IE 4 and IE 5. We'd need at least:
  Netscape 4 Win plugin
  Netscape 6/Mozilla plugin (does it still support plugins?)
  Netscape 4 Mac plugin
  Netscape 4 Linux plugin
  IE 4 Win Plugin
  IE 5 Win Plugin
  IE 4 Mac Plugin
  IE 5 Mac Plugin
  Opera Win Plugin (does it support it?)
  Opera other platforms (I know Linux, how about Mac?)
  ICab Mac

I've got no idea if half of those things support the Netscape plugin API. I
know that IE ones doesn't.

Who's going to write (and test and build) the plugins for all those
platforms? I mean, Flash isn't supported on half of them, and you think we
can get "significant maerketshare quickly."?

> Microsoft has a server-side system and they haven't succeeded in
> making it work reliably yet.

Not true at all. Passport has been working for nearly 6 months for MSN and
Hotmail. It was only Messenger usage that broke it (and supporting
non-browser clients doesn't appear to be something you are interested in)

> But for programs which are used on many computers by many
> different people, there we have the advantage, because a
> significant percentage of the users help with making the program
> better - that's a power that Microsoft doesn't have.

Show me a single example of an end user (non developer) open source product
where the users have helped with development.

In fact, show me a single example of a successful open source product aimed
at end users where development wasn't mostly funded and done by a single

Sorry if this reply sounds like a flame. I am just concerned that bad
decisions will be made that will result in lots of wasted time.


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