Continuing Vexation

Since I apparently believe that beating my head against a brick wall is a perfect evening’s entertainment, I continued yesterday’s experiments with OpenID. Today, I decided to start out by installing my own OpenID server.

Enter phpMyID, two PHP scripts that, once uploaded, provide identity service for one. "It can’t possibly be that easy!" you may protest. True, you do have to run some text through a commandline utility and then edit a file. The enire procedure took all of about ten minutes, and that included the reading of the entire README file.

Unfortunately, I had a problem. phpMyID worked as advertised until it actually came time for it to do something useful. Then all it would say was, "Missing expected authorization header." Apparently, this was a problem with the Web server itself. The scripts came with an .htaccess file that had three suggestions to solve this problem, but needless to say, none of them worked. While I’d like to experiment with this program a bit more on a Web server that I actually control, until then, it’s time for plan B C D.

I signed up with another OpenID provider, myOpenID. While lacking some of the features that made ClaimID interesting, this service does allow users to create multiple "personas," which allow the user to present a different face to different online services. For example, I can choose to show the "Cosmic Flurk" persona to Blogger, and voila, my comments are signed as Cosmic Flurk, and point back here. Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite work with LiveJournal, which still insists on printing the OpenID URL as entered.

Just for information’s sake, then, I delegated the LiveJournal OpenID to a page on my site and tried using that as an ID. Perhaps not surprisingly, even that showed up as the full URL on LiveJournal, and as the filename of the page on Blogger. And of course when delegated to the main page, the domain was again used instead of a friendly name by both services. Tsk.

This all seems like an awful lot of work to have gone through to remain just this side of anonymous, but without coming off as some sort of impersonal self-promoter when commenting. On the other hand, it’s always early adopters that get bitten. But then again, it’s hardly early any more.

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