Published on Mon, 2007-01-08 15:27
Basically I've heard enough stuff that I don't trust Jerome Armstrong, who does a lot of technology consulting to sell people stuff and subcontract the work. So I finally had to call him out on something and it got a little unpleasant.
We'll see how this plays out. I hope I'm wrong about Jerome's motivations here, but it really looks to me like he's trying to take a lot of credit and sell a lot of snakeoil, and then abuse his admin rights when I try and call him out on it.
UPDATE: After sleeping on it, I really do need to explain the whole "snakeoil" smear up there. There are too many ways to read what I wrote, and it's not really what I mean. I have to work and get on a plane today, but I will write a post clarifying this in the air.
call out yourselfMon, 2007-01-08 18:04 — Jerome Armstrong
What's to sell with OpenID? You'll have to clue me in on how you are making money off of it.
I'm convinced it could provide the progressive blogosphere with the means to move further, via integration and coordination. Sounds good?
And I don't do "a lot of technology consulting to sell people stuff and subcontract the work". In fact, I do very little of that at all, with what I did being centered around candidacies like Warner's.
Go back to being a cool techie, you make more sense that way.
Shorter Jerome: Get Back In The KitchenMon, 2007-01-08 19:17 — Outlandish Josh
Go back to being a cool techie, you make more sense that way.
That's pretty condescending, Jerome. Especially when the essence of my gripe is that you ride on top of a lot of other peoples work and let people believe that it's somehow something you can claim an responsibility for.
You’ll have to clue me in on how you are making money off of it.
Dude, you must realize that I own a company and we work in the same industry. We talk to a lot of the same people. This Polyanna act is kind of embarrassing.
It's not rocket science. We do work; clients pay for work to be done. It's a radical model we like to call "consulting."
You're welcome to promote your platform however you like -- it's a free country after all, and MyDD is your blog. I really hope you do well, especially if you really do embrace Open Standards rather than trying to be the Mothership. But when you call your in-house homebrew Open Source just because it's GPLed, and claim credit for all that the broader FLOSS community means and does, you do me and others who actually embrace that model a disservice.
P.S. Even though I can, I won't be editing any of this. Drupal has a neat function called "Preview" which I like to use.
FWIWMon, 2007-01-08 19:21 — Outlandish Josh
In a private email and on his site, Jerome explains that he updated his post on MyDD using [brackets] which is his "usual style." Fair enough.
It was the combination of that update, plus the retracted and edited comment -- in effect making it look like my comment was baseless rather than trying to answer any of the points I made -- which sparked this whole thing from my end.
Like most food fights it seems bigger than it is. I'm going to go watch football now.
here's a shovelMon, 2007-01-08 19:37 — Jerome Armstrong
...the essence of my gripe is that you ride on top of a lot of other peoples work and let people believe that it’s somehow something you can claim an responsibility for.
So, the essence of your gripe is that you are a disgrunted and think that those who use the tools strategically shouldn't be evangelizing about them?
Josh, I have no clue what you do; and obviously, you have no clue about what I'm currently involved in either.
Oh, and the condescending remark was the low-hanging fruit for you to blow steam.
come onMon, 2007-01-08 21:31 — Trei Brundrett ...
Man, I know you're busy watching football, but where did Jerome "claim credit for all that the broader FLOSS community means and does"?
You want to know what a disservice to the community is? It's spreading FUD about a volunteer project that is trying to advance an open standard for the progressive movement because you have some ambiguous beef with Jerome.
This is what he (and I guess we) gets for handing over his netroots.com URL and some hosting to a couple of his geek friends who wouldn't stop ranting about user-centric online identity and OpenID? This is what he gets for evangelizing a decentralized and free open standard?
What snakeoil is he selling? What is he claiming credit for? You're the one who twisted his mention of OpenID into some absurd point that he claimed to invent it.
Unlike Jerome, I actually do know what you do Josh - I read the Chapter Three blog and I respect your work. In fact I've referred people to y'all a couple times recently. My first political project was as a member of the Dean for Texas volunteer tech team (with Jon Lebkowsky, Skip Baney and others) that implemented DeanSpace. So, it's disappointing to watch you attack Jerome and by extension the netroots.com project. We're on the same team dude.
TreiMon, 2007-01-08 22:28 — Outlandish Josh
NetRoots is not a volunteer project. It is being sold through to major campaigns. If you're volunteering on it you're being exploited.
JoshMon, 2007-01-08 23:21 — Trei Brundrett ...
I think there may be a simple misunderstanding here. Before we hijacked the domain name for our own nefarious plot, netroots.com was the home of a consulting firm that included Jerome, Rusty (Kuro5hin) and Ryan Gantz. They had done some customization of the Scoop platform and we're implementing it for political clients. As I understand it, they have since dissolved that entity and Rusty and Ryan now work for Plus Three implementing Scoop customizations for John Edwards, among others I assume.
Is that what yer talking about? Because, if not, I'm confused and here's why:
Now, there are currently two programming volunteers working on the netroots.com project. I am one of them. My colleague Pablo is the other. Jerome participates by giving us feedback on our ideas and sometimes contributes his own. We do the same with other political technologists and interested members of the identity community. Mostly, as we do on fun side projects for no pay, we drive the features, the architecture, etc. It is not being sold to anyone. We're making it for any online activist who will use it. We never considered Scoop and we're building it in Ruby on Rails because it's a nice framework and that's what we were using at Forward Together PAC (w/ Gov. Warner).
I think we maybe should make a blog post somewhere explaining all that. Jerome asked me to write something on the current netroots.com site about the new project awhile back, but I just haven't had the chance.
BTW, thanks for looking out for my potential exploitation.
Secret open projects strike again!Mon, 2007-01-08 23:34 — Outlandish Josh
So, when did you hijack the domain? And just for the record you're not being paid by Jerome at all? Were you ever?
Secret project?Tue, 2007-01-09 00:11 — Trei Brundrett ...
Technically we haven't hijacked the domain yet. We have just been given the su keys to the car since he's also kind enough to lend us some hosting for the project. We hatched the idea and started rough planning of the project around the time of RootsCampDC and we setup a new SVN repo w/ some seed code over the holiday break. We've been talking about it with people during that time as well so it's not so secret. The app itself is only alive and kicking on our local dev boxes right now. So it's not so open either I suppose. Do you put all your side projects in open SVN/CVS repos? Honestly, we're just working on getting something up & running at this stage.
I am not being paid by Jerome. And I never have been. We worked together for Gov. Warner at Forward Together. Now, with that organization being largely dismantled, that may change in the future, but not because of the netroots.com project. I enjoyed working with him and I trust him.
Poor form, JeromeTue, 2007-01-09 01:44 — Dan
This is revealing:
After Jerome wrote that obnoxious post on Thanksgiving taking credit for all of the accomplishments of the netroots, and then the post where he completely edited out the contributions of the Dean Campaign that he wasn't involved in* I've come to the conclusion that not only is Jerome Armstrong not smart in the least, but he's a jerk. Accidental recognition and unofficial spokesman status couldn't have happened to a more undeserving guy.
I should have known he was a classless goon on this thread when he went crazy on Paul Hackett. I'm sure The BlogFather has edited out his more petulant bombthrowing in that, but it's still a fun read to see him come totally unhinged.
TreiTue, 2007-01-09 11:26 — Outlandish Josh
I am not being paid by Jerome. And I never have been. We worked together for Gov. Warner at Forward Together.
So Jerome never paid you out of pocket. Did he get you hired or get other people to hire you? My point being there's a financial relationship here.
Now, with that organization being largely dismantled, that may change in the future, but not because of the netroots.com project.
I'll accept that. Organizations have a way of living beyond the campaigns that spawned them, don't I know it.
We hatched the idea and started rough planning of the project around the time of RootsCampDC
I know for a fact that since then Jerome has been selling "NetRoots OpenID" as part of his package to potential clients, selling it pretty hard and like he's the only game in town. Are you aware of this? Based on the "we may get together again" deal, I think maybe so.
This is all well and good. I'm not saying you guys are evil and I need to write another post to qualify the whole "snakeoil" bit, which is too harsh on its own.
However, I'm just going to say that this is not what I would call Open Source. Maybe this is how you think, or how Jerome has convinced you, that business should be done. There are better ways IMHO. I'll post more about it later.
JoshTue, 2007-01-09 12:44 — Trei Brundrett ...
My point being there’s a financial relationship here.
Jerome ran the internet dept for Forward Together PAC and so, yes, I was hired by him in the sense that he interviewed me and recommended that I be added to the team. However, the PAC didn't pay me to build applications for Jerome. Was everyone in the internet dept for Dean paid to make things for Trippi? Of course not. You're grasping a bit by continuing to say there was some financial relationship. In the most indirect way maybe. I had only met Jerome once before when he passed through Austin w/ Markos while researching for CTG. I was invited to a dinner w/ them to talk about my volunteer project, Step Up Texas, an application that created an open space allowing Texas Democrats to nominate candidates for every race on the ballot in 2006. A friend from the DeanForTexas team is the one who introduced me again to interview at FTPAC. I only explain all that to say there was no existing 'relationship'. I was hired for my 10 years experience doing internet application development.
I know for a fact that since then Jerome has been selling “NetRoots OpenID” as part of his package
Man, it's this simple: I am a big, big advocate for user-centric online identity and specifically OpenID. That's why I'm engaged in the identity community and put my professional career on the line by constantly evangelizing it. That's why we had baked it into our internet architecture at the PAC and hoped to roll it out for an 08 prez candidate. I drink the kool-aid because I like the decentralized nature of OpenID. Jerome is out there talking about OpenID because I have him drinking the kool-aid too. There is no nefarious plot to be "the only game in town". You can't be a monopoly w/ OpenID. With this project, we're just trying to spread adoption of a standard that we think is really, really cool and the at same time empower netroots activists to own their online identity. When we tell people about OpenID we highlight the decentralized nature of it.
I’m just going to say that this is not what I would call Open Source
I applaud Chapter Three's dedication to those principles. I'm a big fan of your philosophy statement on your company website. The idea of an Open Practice is groundbreaking.
However, I never claimed this project is currently Open Source. There are plenty of applications that are OpenID enabled that aren't Open Source. Are they all bad actors in your book? Do you not trust them?
From your comment I assume you just believe y'all do business a better way than everyone else who doesn't go Open Source.
Regardless, I hope we find a way to work together on spreading OpenID. If you want to suggest ways for us to do this project, let's have that conversation. I'd just rather you end all the name-calling and FUD while we do.
I'll say it again: we're on the same side.
Agreed we are on the same sideTue, 2007-01-09 13:35 — Outlandish Josh
Trei: I really hope you're not being taken advantage of, and I want to believe you're not spinning me here. However, what you're saying doesn't jive with what I've heard from multiple trusted sources, specifically in terms of how Jerome has been selling (I wouldn't call it "evangelizing") OpenID.
It's this kind of mismatch that worries me, because there are three possibilities:
The fact that we're on the same side isn't in dispute. Never was. The question is how allies work together and what really are best practices and standards of behavior (ethics) we can all get behind. This matters for technologists and it matters for activists.
The fact that we're on the same side is what caused me to even make the comment on MyDD in the first place. Some of the subsequent stuff stems from Jerome's shall we say "unique" style in responding to that, and while I am being critical and skeptical, I'm doing it because I want to see this work out too.
The way I see it, we have a somewhat limited window during which it will be possible for us to be constructively critical of our allies and coalition members, to clean house and get our ship in order before the next cycle starts up. I hesitate to call this a "fight" but if that's what it is I think it's a good and maybe even necessary one to have, but it's one that would be destructive and unwise in six months to a year.
Anyway, thank you for engaging in this discussion. I'm looking forward to continuing it in a productive and positive fashion.
Trei: I really hope you’reTue, 2007-01-09 19:54 — Jerome Armstrong
Trei: I really hope you’re not being taken advantage of, and I want to believe you’re not spinning me here. However, what you’re saying doesn’t jive with what I’ve heard from multiple trusted sources, specifically in terms of how Jerome has been selling (I wouldn’t call it “evangelizing”) OpenID.
It’s this kind of mismatch that worries me, because there are three possibilities:
You don't leave us with much of a choice.
Trei, I think probably they (these un-named people) are talking about the UAM? That's the only thing I can think of, and since so, your friends Josh are a little bit slow on the conceptual side of things-- though I guess I can see how such a breakthrough can be misunderstood with faulty second hand info. Lord knows, I have never even tried to speak about OpenID to a potential client (the only time I blogged on it was a cut and paste), much less try and sell it.
In fact, you didn't answer the question I asked above about how you plan to profit off of OpenID (not that I really care).
Josh, these guys are doing good deeds, and your friends have sadly misunderstood what our team has built (the UAM). OpenID is a great side project that I think will help move forward the progressive blogosphere-- that's all.
JeromeWed, 2007-01-10 02:42 — Outlandish Josh
I intend to be prosperous by selling my time to render services. It's a truly radical model called "consulting." I said that before if you look.
My sources are talking specifically about you, Jerome. What I hear directly contracticts your statement that "Lord knows, I have never even tried to speak about OpenID to a potential client."
Since you're effectively flat-out denying what I've heard, I suppose we're at an impasse until new information comes to light.