27 Mar

MSN Spaces : Not Fit for a Dog

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In the continuing discussion around Microsoft’s relationship with open source projects, Scott McMaster posted a great discussion about the .Net OSS Community.   While the subject of his article is worthy of discussion, I cannot help but note what happened when I tried to comment on his post.

  1. Click the Add a Comment link.
  2. I must sign in with a Windows Live account. 
    I resent this enough that I don’t actually want to log in with my passport account, but then I relent because Scott’s post was so good.
  3. I login with my passport account. 
    It turns out that this logs me in to a Spaces account that I signed up for years ago when Spaces first came out.  OK, whatever.
  4. I begin writing my comment on Scott’s post. 
    Then I notice that the Your Website field on the comment form points at my old MSN Spaces page, which I never used.  And get this: It’s read only.  So is the Name field, which I must change on my master My Properties page.
  5. Uncle, I quit.  Sorry, Scott, but I just can’t make it through the process to tell you that you nailed it, my friend.

I learned that in order to comment on someone’s MSN Spaces blog, I must also be an MSN Spaces member.  Also, the credentials around my comment will only reference another MSN Spaces page.  Give me a break.

This “feature set” is a perfect example of the kind of closed ecosystem that people complain about so often with Microsoft.  Why in the world could I not leave a comment on this blog like every other in the world wherein I simply type my name and email address?

Sometimes, Dogfood Tastes Bad

Other Microsoft business units clearly agree.  Why else would major divisions within Microsoft pointedly ignore MSN Spaces?  For instance, how many high profile MS bloggers do you read who use MSN Spaces for their blog? My answer: None. 

I understand the the MSDN blogging system is based on Community Server, which is an open source product developed by ex-Softie Rob Howard.  You mean Microsoft itself has chosen to use open source software over dogfooding their own product? 

Now that makes a statement. 

3 thoughts on “MSN Spaces : Not Fit for a Dog

  1. Thanks for checking out my post. Re: Spaces, I tend to agree with you. I’ve done some live.com development (toolbars, gadgets), and so I’ve been trying to stick with it for my blog. Microsoft has been enhancing the service slowly but surely.

  2. I just wrote a comment to Scott’s post, and I unchecked the “use profile” checkbox to make the url box editable – is this something you missed or a change Scott introduces after you wrote this post?

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