Part of the infrastructure at Newcastle moved over to the Shibboleth provided by SDSS, at least as far I can tell from the login screen.

It’s fabulous. The idea is to provide a federated login so that, at least as far as I can tell, login information is managed at a single point, and allows authorisation at multiple institutions. All of this sounds like a good thing, but they’ve actually managed to achieve the notable success of making logins harder than it was before.

In the past, I would go to a URL like, which is our coursework system, be presented with a login screen, which would login me into the system. Nowadays, I get take to a screen like this:

The purpose of this form is to let me tell the browser to go back to the system that I asked it to go in the first place. There I get another login screen which, to make our life easier, has been nobbled so that the browsers won’t remember the logins. It also seems to be crashing a lot now, so that you have to refresh your browser to get it to work.

The help link, incidentally, at the bottom takes you to a page which tells you:

SDSS Development Federation

The SDSS Federation no longer accepts new applications to join the federation. Applications should instead be made to the UK Federation.

Help is not forthcoming.

Originally published on my old blog site.