Facebook in Pidgin

Casey Ho pidgin at caseyho.com
Thu Nov 20 23:42:15 EST 2008

I think XMPP  is a case of the cat already out of the bag because other chat
clients already publicly support Facebook's hacked up interface. Pidgin is
slowly bleeding users elsewhere, most notably Digsby.

How about this:  Keep Facebook in plugin land as it is now, but make a move
to support it publicly on the front page and other locations.  Label it
experimental, give Mark or somebody else from Pidgin commit access, clear
out the bug list, and cut down the number of features to keep it simple.

Pidgin has a great plugin system.  Why not take better advantage of it and
avoid the whole release problem?  (I don't think any plugin has ever been
featured like this, but if there's ever an argument for an exception, this
is the time.)


2008/11/20 Ethan Blanton <elb at pidgin.im>
> I'm not really interested in a protracted discussion about this, but I
> think there is an important distinction to make -- Facebook is a *new*
> chat service, not an existing chat service with a legacy base of
> users.  On top of that, the "protocol" being implemented isn't even
> intended to be an IM protocol as such, it's screen scraping some
> crufty interface provided for an AJAX web page.
> I am of the opinion that we should not encourage further proliferation
> of properietary IM protocols.  There are a number of open IM standards
> available which have significant traction (XMPP and SIP SIMPLE, at the
> very least), and new services can reasonably be expected to use one of
> these.  In fact, several new services (Google Talk, LiveJournal) have
> already embraced XMPP, several established services are publically
> flirting with it (AIM and ICQ, possibly others), and the new service
> in question has already announced intention to support it.
> All that said, that's a reason why *I* wouldn't write a facebook
> screen scraping protocol, not a reason (at least, by itself) why I
> would keep one out of Pidgin.  The fact that, even if it's a
> well-written plugin, it's still a dirty screen scraping hack *is* such
> a reason.  This is important, for those who haven't gathered it,
> because you effectively get a new facebook IM client every time you
> click a link or reload your browser -- that means they can change
> their protocol at any time with no ill effects to an installed client
> base.  That's not a game we should be vocalizing support for.  We
> can't even manage to roll a release in less than a week, these days,
> so I don't think it's a good idea to chase a bouncing ball.
> Ethan
> --
> The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
> for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
> determined to commit crimes.
>                -- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
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