David, thanks for taking the time to respond!
I like to think I’m abstracting as best I can, but I’m lazy and would like to re-use someone else’s work (and benefit from them running into bugs before me) too. However I’m also not about to start yet another user system project for fear of fragmenting the developers interested in this problem even further.
A lot of the problems with users have been encountered before, and some haven’t. I think this is an opportunity for a convention for the solved problems.
Based on what I’ve read from you, I think our philosophies differ and you definitely have the benefit of more experience with Rails to back up yours. The most productive thing for people in my camp to do (aside from complaining about Free software in our blogs) may be to work on interoperability for the existing auth systems without the authority of being part of the core. Hopefully that will result in something worth inclusion in the core.
Finally, at least I’m not bitching about table pluralization 🙂