August 31, 2011

Walled Gardens vs Openness - a small case study

[Update below]

What follows is a small recursive irony, for reasons which shall soon be apparent. I was reading the interview "The Future of The Internet (And How to Stop It) - A Dialog with Jonathan Zittrain Updating His 2008 Book". The basic point of the book is an exploration of structual issues among centrally controlled versus open systems. In particular, the way (my phrasing) some structures end up locking down what can be done with facilities, while open systems encourage experimentation.

I tried to leave a comment, nothing controversial, in reply to Zittrain's statement about

It's sheer genius for a platform maker to demand a cut of in-app purchases. Can you imagine if, back in the day, the only browser allowed on Windows was IE, and further, all commerce conducted through that browser -- say, buying a book through Amazon -- constituted an "in-app purchase" for which Microsoft was due

I would have said:

True example - back in the day, one compiler-maker (Borland) did want a cut on all applications made with its compiler. But they didn't have the market power to make that stick.

But I couldn't leave that comment. Because the blog requires a commentor to login with a Facebook account. And I don't have a Facebook account, and don't want one.

"Future Of The Internet" thesis in action! Silos over openness.

UPDATE - Apparently the blog comment software has been changed to allow non-Facebook comments. I'd in fact mentioned this to Zittrain personally earlier. Maybe someone actually cared!

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on August 31, 2011 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

Subscribe with Bloglines      Subscribe in NewsGator Online  Google Reader or Homepage


What it says is "Sign in with Facebook Connect or enter your info below to comment" and then there are boxes for name, email, and URL, just like the comments here. I don't see any indication that a Facebook account is required.

What I did discover is that Battelle's site uses that infuriating Javascript thing that forces the URL of the post into anything you copy and paste. Man, I hate that.

Posted by: John Overholt at September 1, 2011 10:07 AM

I don't see the facebook gubbins at all, although I see most commentators have that "f" by their names. What does stop me commenting is "Let us know that you're human:" - apparently I'm not human, just because my audio-visual abilities are limited.

Posted by: MJR at September 1, 2011 11:05 AM

Yes, you're right, it's allowing non-Facebook comments today. That's news to me. I thought it was not doing so at least as of yesterday, though I could have missed the change when I checked. It definitely didn't allow non-Facebook comments recently.

You can see I likely wasn't hallucinating since the comments are all FaceBbok sign-ins in e.g. the previous blog entry.

I had mentioned this to Zittrain earlier. Could it be someone actually cared?

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at September 1, 2011 09:48 PM