Facebook in Pidgin

Stephen Eilert spedrosa at gmail.com
Sat Nov 22 15:49:07 EST 2008

2008/11/22 Haudy Kazemi <kaze0010 at umn.edu>

>  John Bailey wrote:
> Haudy Kazemi wrote:
>  I don't think the average user cares what the reasons may be for
> Facebook IM to be supported (or not) in standard installation of
> Pidgin.  All they care about it is whether "it works" or "is
> supported".  If the protocols they want to use or think they might use
> are not supported out-of-the-box by Pidgin, that person is likely to go
> onto the next multi-protocol IM application.
>  I can live with that.  Most of our vocal users are on Windows, and my opinion is
> that Windows users will be better served by any application that doesn't use
> GTK+.  Let them use another client.
> Most computer users are on Windows, whether or not they have a choice.
> This itself biases observations of who is a 'vocal user'.  GIMP 2.6 has done
> a good job of becoming more Windows user friendly, while use GTK+.  I think
> Adium, which also uses libpurple, is a good example of support Facebook
> chat, along with many other protocols.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adium
> http://www.tuaw.com/2008/05/09/adium-adds-facebook-chat-support-emo-kids-cheer-worldwide/
>  I think Facebook support is important, even if that is requires a
> screenscraping design.  Facebook is incredibly popular, and for users,
> it's chat feature somewhat parallels the ease of use of Gmail+Gtalk
> (i.e. it's available as soon as the user logs in).  It is easier to
> leave an IM program running 24/7 than to keep a browser window logged in
> and then watch that window for IMs, so for convenience reasons it is
> important to bring Facebook IMs under the unified Pidgin interface.
>  Facebook is not important.  It's a time-wasting black hole.  (Yes, I use
> Facebook.)  If our reluctance, or in my case flat-out refusal, to support
> Facebook's chat in a crappy screen-scraping design is unpopular, so be it.
>  Facebook can very easily become a time-wasting black hole, however
> separating its IM functionality from the rest of it significantly decreases
> that tendency.  When a user only sees one's friends in an IM application,
> there's limited ability for the other Facebook applications/frames to grab
> attention.  Many friends who do not use separate IM applications do check
> their Facebook accounts.  Facebook IM support is a way to contact them when
> they are online.
>  Oh, so since other IM clients want to implement screen-scraping, we should do it
> too?  I remember being taught in primary school that "other people do it" is
> never a valid reason to do anything.  The context was, of course, different, but
> the concept still applies.
>  That primary school teaching is simplistic, intended to get people to
> think first, act second.
> It is a competitive advantage to support additional communications avenues,
> particularly ones as popular as Facebook (now at 120 million (!) active
> users according to their own stats).  This is around the number of users on
> the Jabber and AIM networks, and an order of a magnitude more than ICQ,
> Gadu-Gadu, or Sametime.  (See the user base summary here:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_messaging#User_base )
> In business, having a minimum set of universally accepted features is
> called having an "order qualifier".  The premium additional features that
> aren't in every product yet are called "order winners".  Multiprotocol
> clients use multiprotocol support as "order winners" over the standard
> clients.  They use user interface, customizeability, and protocol support as
> "order winners" over other multiprotocol clients.  Standard clients use
> video/voice/game features as "order winners" over non-official
> (multiprotocol) clients.  An example of an "order qualifier" for any program
> is OS compatibility and being a relatively stable application (not crashing
> on a daily basis, and not losing data when crashing).
>  Competitive advantage? Business? "Premium features"? This is an
open-source project, for crissake! Who cares about that?

There's one thing I don't get in this whole discussion. What's preventing
anyone from writing said Facebook plugin? I see a lot of wasted time here,
time that could be used to write a working plugin, even if it is a crappy,
unreliable, screen-scraping one.

Now, if the whole discussion is about including it by default in Pidgin,
then I say it is a bad idea.


programmer, n:
       A red eyed, mumbling mammal capable of conversing with inanimate
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