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Re: Alternatives for remote access?

From: Ben Collins-Sussman <sussman_at_collab.net>
Date: 2002-08-30 19:39:21 CEST

"Bill Tutt" <rassilon@lyra.org> writes:

> The setup burden is currently high, so feel free to help us engineer the
> lowering of that barrier.

No amount of engineering or slick install programs are going to
eliminate the fact that we require people to adopt a *new* security
infrastructure and/or service. And that's the problem.

Most of the world has an existing security infrastructure. It's
called ssh. We could have decided to just "fit into it" magically
like CVS, but we didn't, and it's no surprise to me that people don't
like this. And you shouldn't be surprised either. It has nothing to
do with whether one method is superior or not; it's a matter of losing
people before they ever come in the door, because of all the myths
surrounding the idea of "setting up apache". It's human nature. You
can't change it. A slick install program isn't going to dispell the
initial repulsion either. It does no good to say, "tell your security
people to stop being dorks."

Yes, I agree 100% that apache will always be superior to any
home-grown server/xml-protocol we develop ourselves. Apache is more
scalable, more flexible, better tested, and gives us whiz-bang DAV
interoperability. I have drunk gstein's koolaid: if given the
opportunity, I will gladly attempt to persuade anybody to use ra_dav
over ra_pipe, when given a choice. I will tell them that's
*absolutely* worth the hurdle of setting up apache, and getting your
network admins to deal with it.

But the point here is that because ra_pipe doesn't exist, I never even
*get* that chance to persuade somebody! They leave our website the
instant they discover that we're unable to use their existing security
infrastructure. Poof, gone, no longer interested.

Apache is the "high road", and I'm extremely glad we have it -- and
ra_local is the low-road for people who don't care about networking.
But it's ridiculous that we don't have a middle-road. It's ridiculous
that we demand *everyone* take the high-road, and that we poo-poo them
for even wanting a middle-road. We want to win over the CVS masses,
but this attitude absolutely shoots us in the foot.

If ra_pipe were out there, we could lure in hundreds of users, and
then gradually convince them to upgrade to apache and ra_dav. It's
the best marketing tool there is. I'm thrilled that people are
working on it.

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Received on Fri Aug 30 19:41:34 2002

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