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Facebook Competitor Diaspora Revealed

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the tremble-in-something-something dept.

Communications 306

jamie writes "A post has just gone up on Diaspora's blog revealing what the project actually looks like for the first time. While it's not yet ready to be released to the public, the open-source social networking project is giving the world a glimpse of what it looks like today and also releasing the project code, as promised. At first glance, this preview version of Diaspora looks sparse, but clean. Oddly enough, with its big pictures and stream, it doesn't look unlike Apple's new Ping music social network mixed with yes, Facebook."

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306 comments

I dunno, man... (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598470)

Facebook has things pretty much on lockdown, as far as "full feature" social networking is concerned (not to mention the fact that, if wanting to be visible on a social network, most people already have a Facebook account.) I realize that at one time, MySpace had things all sewn up as well, but still...you know what I'm getting at. Anyway, like so many other things, hopefully Diaspora will bring serious competition, and help dictate the way some things are done.

If nothing else, it could at least become a social network for FOSS folks, which would be pretty cool.

Re:I dunno, man... (-1, Troll)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598596)

The name isn't exactly very catchy. Sounds like some random character from an RPG. Also sounds slightly like diarrhea mixed with spore, and in fact it looks like it does take meaning from the root of those words (dia = flow, spore = seeds or whatever) as the real meaning is:

the body of Jews (or Jewish communities) outside Palestine or modern Israel; the dispersion of the Jews outside Israel

I don't think that many people of other religions are going to be happy using this thing if they find out the actual meaning of the word. Nor racists. Good luck with that, Diaspora!

Re:I dunno, man... (5, Informative)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598662)

Close.

A diaspora (in Greek, – "a scattering [of seeds]") is the movement or migration of a group of people, such as those sharing a national and/or ethnic identity, away from an established or ancestral homeland. When capitalized, the Diaspora refers to the exile of the Jewish people and Jews living outside ancient or modern day Israel.

But it is of course capitalized. Kind of.

Re:I dunno, man... (1, Offtopic)

ojintoad (1310811) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599024)

Please Mod Parent Informative so the "insightful" but not technically right definition isn't what gets drilled into people's heads. I have heard more about the African Diaspora than the Jewish Diaspora...

Re:I dunno, man... (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599134)

African Diaspora than the Jewish Diaspora...

But is that with or without the coconut?

Re:I dunno, man... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598698)

The name isn't exactly very catchy. Sounds like some random character from an RPG. Also sounds slightly like diarrhea mixed with spore, and in fact it looks like it does take meaning from the root of those words (dia = flow, spore = seeds or whatever) as the real meaning is:

the body of Jews (or Jewish communities) outside Palestine or modern Israel; the dispersion of the Jews outside Israel

I don't think that many people of other religions are going to be happy using this thing if they find out the actual meaning of the word. Nor racists. Good luck with that, Diaspora!

Fucking anti-Semitic prick. I bet you're a spore that flowed from diarrhea.

What's your social network going to be called? Nigger? So all the black people aren't going to be happy using this thing if they find out the actual meaning of the word.

Re:I dunno, man... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598778)

Predictable comment there AC, but sorry, I'm not anti-Semitic. I have nothing against someone just because they happen to be a Jew (or Christian, or Muslim or whatever). I do however hate the concept of religion in general.

Looks to close to Dysphoria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598740)

"Come to Dysphoria; it's great!"

Re:I dunno, man... (1)

elewton (1743958) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598814)

It reminds me of classic Sci-Fi and I love it. Remember Heinlein?
Embodies Earth's ejaculation of humanity, back when we felt that would be a good thing.

Re:I dunno, man... (2, Insightful)

careykohl (682513) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598858)

Not to mention the people who aren't going to use it because they don't know what the word means
Or the people who won't use it because they don't know how to pronounce it
Or the people who won't use it because they don't know how to spell it
Some of my hickiest relatives tell me to go check out their "myspace" page, or their "facebook" page. I can't ever imagine any of them telling me to go check out their "Die-Ass-Pour-A" page
Great concept, lousy name

Re:I dunno, man... (1)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598902)

That will be nice for the rest of us then if it keeps illiterate morons away!

Re:I dunno, man... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598930)

The literate morons aren't much more fun.

Re:I dunno, man... (3, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599028)

Also sounds slightly like diarrhea mixed with spore

Well you just described Facebook so I guess the name is appropriate.

Re:I dunno, man... (0, Flamebait)

dloose (900754) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599218)

Seriously? Who moderates on this site? In what world is that post "insightful"? Where are my mod points? It deserves a -1 Ignorant

Re:I dunno, man... (1)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599238)

The name is fine... one you have heard it a couple times.
Probably "The Beatles" sounded like a weird name of a music group and one time.

Re:I dunno, man... (4, Insightful)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599260)

I expect that a significant percentage of Google users don't know where that name came from and wouldn't care to find out, that the minds of Amazon users don't often turn to South America, and Dunkin' Donuts regulars don't often consider actually dunking their doughnuts. Once a word transforms into a brand, we tend to ignore the word.

Besides the fact that people don't care about words, meanings of words still get twisted and change meaning in the public's mind. Given we're talking about anti-Jewish/Zionist sentiments, I'll point out that many Muslim hardliners frequently misuse the term "holocaust" [terrorism-info.org.il] to define obviously inequivalent events. They have also adopted the word "diaspora" [wikipedia.org] for their own cause.

Re:I dunno, man... (3, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598618)

A social network that limits it's audience to a specific group of people isn't very 'social'. It would fail if it was only for those interested in FOSS, at least on the scale of MySpace and Facebook and I don't think that's what the designers intended. From what I recall, they just want an open network that is a little more concerned with privacy than the existing giants. Diaspora is a perfect fit for that goal.

As to being the current 'number 1', I don't think that is even a goal as of yet, but rather just getting it off the ground and out there. If it's good and follows through on it's privacy and transparency goals, it will get there on it's own as there are a large segment of users on Facebook who are very unhappy with the way their data is being handled.

Re:I dunno, man... (3, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598642)

I realize that at one time, MySpace had things all sewn up as well

Only amongst a small demographic (which many Slashdotters may be part of, hence it seems to you like everyone was on it). My mother never had a MySpace account, but she is on Facebook, and so are many of her friends, their children and their grandchildren, and maybe even some of their parents.

Re:I dunno, man... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599054)

MySpace was mostly popular among young people, particularly teenagers. Unfortunately for them, teenagers are notoriously fickle and amenable to change. Facebook serves a far wider demographic, many of whom are highly resistant to change. I don't think displacing Facebook is necessarily impossible, but it will be far more difficult than displacing MySpace was, and I don't see how the Diaspora model in particular could pull it off. I guess we'll see, though.

The network effect (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598686)

Where the usefulness of a service increases with the number of people using it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect [wikipedia.org]

i.e. everyone but Facebook, are money down the drain. They would have to fuck up monumentally to break the effect.

 

Re:The network effect (4, Interesting)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599216)

Traditionally [wikipedia.org] it's said that the value of a network increases as the square of the number of nodes, however this considers only value generated by potential pairwise connections.

If a social network were geared toward linking groups of three for some maximum objective (business partnerships, sex, friendship, counseling, etc.) then by the same reasoning its value should vary as the cube of the number of nodes, and then this thricebook would kill facebook.

So let people connect to their facebook account. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598774)

Just do what pidgin did and let people connect to all their social networks from the social network they control.

Re:So let people connect to their facebook account (3, Informative)

Psycizo (776693) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599034)

They are planning to.

Things we are working on next for our Alpha in October:

  • Facebook Integration
  • Internationalization
  • Data Portability

from http://www.joindiaspora.com/2010/09/15/developer-release.html [joindiaspora.com]

Re:I dunno, man... (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598958)

Diaspora looks like it's trying to be the next round in the Social Networking Site Cycle, which goes like this:
1. A social networking site starts up, allowing friends to stay in touch and contact one another, with good privacy rules to prevent bad guys from seeing that info, with maybe a few ads to pay for things but no other payments involved.
2. The social networking site (which is good at what it does) is successful in attracting new members. Network effects make the member base swell massively, while any competitors become passe.
3. The founders of the site want to profit from their hard work, so they go public or get VC funding.
4. The investors attempt to "monetize" the network via advertising, bloatware that people can pay to add on, reducing privacy rules, and so forth.
5. The social network becomes a slow bloated totally non-private piece of crap.
6. A couple of developers think "Hey, the dominant social network is a bloated totally non-private piece of crap. We should create something that does this better." And the cycle begins again.

This has happened at least once already with MySpace, and it's fair to say that Facebook is sitting somewhere around step 5.

Re:I dunno, man... (5, Informative)

AusIV (950840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599128)

From what I understand, Diaspora is designed to make this cycle impossible, or at least difficult. Diaspora is designed to be distributed, decentralized, and open source. The different nodes communicate with each other and share information, but I believe if you don't trust the node your account is hosted on you can trivially move to a different one (even one you host yourself).

Another one? (-1, Flamebait)

captain_dope_pants (842414) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598480)

Really ? When are we going to hit saturation point, there are loads of them all doing roughly the same thing. Unless it does something radically different what does it (or any of the 'smaller' networking site) hope to acheive ?

Re:Another one? (2, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598556)

Are there a load of open source social networks? I wasn't aware of any (not that I've looked past the articles on /.)

Re:Another one? (2, Insightful)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598716)

The problem is that most people don't really care about something being open source and, unfortunately, these people usually make up the majority of the friends of people who do care. In other words, I'll use whatever everyone else is using.

Re:Another one? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598736)

"Open Source" is MAGIC! Just wave the "Open Source" magic wand over any software and it makes it superior and people will just gravitate to it because of its superiority!

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Re:Another one? (2, Informative)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598822)

While the source being open is pretty important, the really important thing is that anybody can host a Diaspora node and link to anybody hosted on any other Diaspora node. And Diaspora will also include ways to link to people on things like Facebook. The idea is that just because all your friends are using X, you can still be linked to them effectively without using X.

Re:Another one? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598830)

Right, agreed, but Open Source will encourage developers to get involved. If a critical mass of them do (as in Linux Distro Critical Mass)
then they can hopefully start selling people on the privacy aspects of it. Of course just as with open source a lot of people don't seem
to care about privacy either. But, who knows, perhaps with the open aspects of the system you'll get some killer app that will draw in
the masses that don't care about the underlying principles. I'm not saying it's a sure bet but even Linus didn't think Linux was going
anywhere big when he started it and look at it now...

privacy (5, Insightful)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598636)

Diaspora allegedly gives one more control over their data, and how it is used, because as we all know, Facebook discussing "privacy" is like McDonald's discussing "nutrition"

Re:privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598882)

Your data will be more private due to the fact that Disaspora will be used by nothing more than a handful of basement dwellers.

Africoons (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598488)

There's some debate about whites paying reparations for slavery. This is a narrow view. It is more like a balance sheet.

On one side there is slavery that ended longer ago than it lasted.

On the other side there is the damage to white culture esp. the youth caused by black gangsta rap and thug culture and glorification of criminal behavior. Then there's the political ploy of making every damn thing a race issue. Disagree with Obama's politics? Surely you are a racist, it cannot be that you hold a contrary viewpoint! Unlike slavery, this damage is ongoing.

Tally it all up and if anything it is the blacks who owe the whites if there are going to be reparations.

What's the point...? (0, Flamebait)

ItsIllak (95786) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598492)

Now, all they have to do is to convince 500 million people (or whatever it is FB claims today) to move over to their service that has no whistles or bells. Umm.. 1/ Build competitor 2/ Release to world 3/ ??? 4/ Complete and utter failure.

Yes. I agree 100% (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598566)

Now, all they have to do is to convince 500 million people (or whatever it is FB claims today) to move over to their service that has no whistles or bells. Umm.. 1/ Build competitor 2/ Release to world 3/ ??? 4/ Complete and utter failure.

That is utterly correct. It's too late. Facebook has hit critical mass and Dispora is too late to the party. Facebook has pretty much crushed MySpace and every other social networking site - LinkedIn is hanging on because it has the "professional" crowd - but even then, I see a lot of folks who are using Facebook for that purpose and businesses are finding it more and more important to have a FB profile.

Being Open Source is nowhere near a good reason for folks to flock to it. So what? What features will Dispora offer that will make it compelling for folks to cast aside their social "investment" in Facebook? None that I can see.

Re:Yes. I agree 100% (1)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598734)

How about contextual sharing? I.e. being able to decide exactly who sees what, through a simple interface (See the tabs on the top in this [joindiaspora.com] screenshot) so that your coworkers and your drinking buddies see different things.

And then there's privacy. I know that I could scare a few people into Diaspora just by showing how much my (entirely unrelated) friends can see about them on Facebook. Most of my friends are actually pretty privacy concerned.

Re:Yes. I agree 100% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599006)

How about contextual sharing? I.e. being able to decide exactly who sees what, through a simple interface (See the tabs on the top in this [joindiaspora.com] screenshot) so that your coworkers and your drinking buddies see different things. And then there's privacy. I know that I could scare a few people into Diaspora just by showing how much my (entirely unrelated) friends can see about them on Facebook. Most of my friends are actually pretty privacy concerned.

Yet your friends use Facebook. Not too bright of them now is it? I mean, if I was actually pretty obesity concerned I wouldn't eat donuts and pork rinds all day.

Re:Yes. I agree 100% (1)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599168)

Maybe, but you would probably eat them in moderation if there wasn't a realistic alternative. Diaspora is a "realistic alternative" because it has the media hype, timing, and funding to become successful.

Re:Yes. I agree 100% (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599100)

How about contextual sharing? I.e. being able to decide exactly who sees what, through a simple interface (See the tabs on the top in this [joindiaspora.com] screenshot) so that your coworkers and your drinking buddies see different things.

If that feature is enough of a reason for people to switch to Diaspora Facebook will probably just create its own implementation of it. Facebook is big enough that it doesn't really have to innovate to stay ahead anymore.

And then there's privacy. I know that I could scare a few people into Diaspora just by showing how much my (entirely unrelated) friends can see about them on Facebook. Most of my friends are actually pretty privacy concerned.

Most of the people I've spoken to aren't aware of the privacy issues with Facebook and out of that group, many "have nothing to hide" and making them care has so far been unsuccessful. Your average user, which is who you want using your product, doesn't care about their privacy as long as their email isn't hacked, their bank account isn't drained, and they can still play Farmville.

I will give Diaspora a fair chance but for how long the Facebook privacy fiasco has been going on it's hard not to be at least a little jaded about social networks.

Re:Yes. I agree 100% (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599258)

That is utterly correct. It's too late. Facebook has hit critical mass and Dispora is too late to the party

What would prevent you from making a Facebook page that essentially said:

Hey, this is IndustrialComplex's page, You may reach me at Diaspora. Learn here why I won't use facebook: link link. Facebook then becomes an advertising tool for a competing service.

The friends that can't figure it out? Well, are they the kind of friends you need. The companies and the bands, etc... They WILL establish a presence on Diaspora. But frankly, I don't really think that any of that is all that necessary for a peer to peer social networking platform.

Re:What's the point...? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598578)

Now, all they have to do is to convince 500 million people (or whatever it is FB claims today) to move over to their service that has no whistles or bells.

Umm..

1/ Build competitor
2/ Release to world
3/ ???
4/ Complete and utter failure.

The same could have been said about Linux a dozen or so years ago.

Re:What's the point...? (1)

ItsIllak (95786) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599050)

Not really - Linux was free, Solaris wasn't. Facebook is free. For those that don't like the whistles and bells, 'hide' them or face the fact that really, you don't like those you've selected as your friends.

Re:What's the point...? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598610)

You know, they said exactly the same thing about making people migrate from AOL email to Internet email.

Re:What's the point...? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598922)

That's because the competitors to AOL provided additional features and services that people actually cared about. Pretty much no one using Facebook cares about whether or not the platform is open source, being able to run their own node or any of the other supposed selling points of Diaspora.

Re:What's the point...? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599170)

That's because the competitors to AOL provided additional features and services that people actually cared about.

Actually, no they didn't. In terms of user experience, AOL mail was better than Internet email for quite a while. People did care about openness, but only indirectly. For example, corporations cared about being able to host their own email server and not be dependent on AOL for the infrastructure. Individuals then cared about being able to communicate with these corporations, and so on.

Re:What's the point...? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599276)

Actually, no they didn't.

Actually, yes they did. The biggest selling point was you could now check your email anywhere and all you would need is your web browser instead of needing AOL installed on the computer.

Re:What's the point...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598628)

1/ Build competitor
2/ Release to world
3/ ???
4/ Complete and utter failure.

5) Profits!!!

Re:What's the point...? (2, Insightful)

Noexit (107629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598752)

I don't know. I think the lack of bells and whistles might be what causes some people to look for an alternative. I've quit using Facebook because of the bells, the whistles, the endless posts of what my friends like, pleas to like things that I don't like, requests to join groups I've got no interest in, and all of it from people I haven't had an actual conversation with or seen in 20 years, or even worse from friends of theirs that I've never met at all. If Diaspora strips social networking back to it's basics, if it lets me see what's going on with friends and family, look at pictures of their recent vacation and send a few "how are you?" messages, then I'm all for it.

Re:What's the point...? (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599272)

Just kick all those people you don't care about off your account. Better yet, don't accept friend requests if you don't actually want to be a friend. Apps can be ignored, so hit the ignore button on Farmville and the like to silence that, then uninstall all the apps you don't need or want.

Don't put any private information up there and you will never have to worry about anything private being released.

People don't care about privacy enough to quit Facebook. Diaspora is destined to wither and die.

Re:What's the point...? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599110)

Simple, since facebook seems more than willing to allow apps access to all your personal data, they just need to make one that downloads it all and posts it on your new Diaspora page.

So wait...they copied the FB look and feel? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598494)

Great way to innovate, team!

Another pointless social media site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598500)

Yawn.

Wake we up when something interesting happens.

Looks great! Maybe I'll download it and start... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598502)

Oh, it's written in ruby? Never mind. /starts language war

Re:Looks great! Maybe I'll download it and start.. (0, Troll)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599136)

Seriously. That's a huge mistake., Scalability should be built into the core of it. Its okay if its just the interface, but the core of the app should be written in Scala, or Go. One can only hope that this is just a prototype that they will rewrite with a more solid base.

They now have to convince the masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598524)

Get my friends to join it. And then my friends' friends. And my friends' friends' friends. And their grandma.

And then Diaspora would look like a serious Facebook competition.

Re:They now have to convince the masses (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598612)

Get my friends to join it. And then my friends' friends. And my friends' friends' friends. And their grandma.

And then Diaspora would look like a serious Facebook competition.

Then David Barksdale [slashdot.org] , I hear he's looking for a new social network site to hand out at.

Software is only part of the equation (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598540)

If this really wants to be a "competitor" to facebook they are going to need a lot more than just software. Of course they need users, but they also need a central organization and a LOT of servers. Facebook is more than just a software interface, they have a massive # of globally distributed data centers that cost a ton of money. I doubt any one organization is going to put the same amount of resources behind this project. More than likely, if this amounts to anything it won't be a facebook competitor but instead a platform for much smaller communities to use. TFA even mentions this(but its not in the summary. Of course being open source it is theoretically possible then to "transfer" your profile among communities, but that remains to be seen.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (5, Informative)

The Solitaire (1119147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598586)

It's opensource, and (AFAIK) distributed, so no, they really don't.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (4, Informative)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598622)

The goal is to have a facebook equivalent without a central organization: they do not need a ton of servers because they don't want to host the users data.

They want each and every user to be responsible for where he wants to host his own data, be it on a home server, on a rented remote server, or via a specialized service provider.

They want social web to be a bit like e-mail, where no single entity owns the whole system.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598718)

They want each and every user to be responsible for where he wants to host his own data, be it on a home server, on a rented remote server, or via a specialized service provider.

And do you honestly expect the typical FB user to do that - set up and manage their own server?

And if specialized service providers sprout up to host this data, wouldn't that be creating the same situation that this software is supposed to be trying to get away from: other having control of your data?

Re:Software is only part of the equation (3, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598834)

And do you honestly expect the typical FB user to do that - set up and manage their own server?

No more than the typical e-mail user has to set up and manage their own server.

(On the other hand, the typical BitTorrent user sets up and manages their own server just fine, that being the nature of P2P. So it's not impossible.)

And if specialized service providers sprout up to host this data, wouldn't that be creating the same situation that this software is supposed to be trying to get away from: other having control of your data?

A good point, but competition should help. And if seting up a Diaspora seed is more like setting up a BT client than a Sendmail server, even it doesn't reach DIY levels you can hook up with a geek friend or a small service provider rather than Google.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599112)

But bittorrent and social networks are VERY different beasts. With bittorrent the amount of data that has to be centrally managed is minimal, your ip and what parts of the file you have. If a peer/seeder disappears in the bittorrent world it doesn't really affect the download(unless that person was the only seeder of course) since everyone is essentially sharing the same, unencrypted data.

Now look at it from a social network point of view. You have to join and filter massive amounts of data that may or may not exist(at least in an unencrypted form) on a server that is currently available. The data may not be replicated on a server that is anywhere near you, or one connected to a really slow pipe. The only way you can really get the information distributed is if you share it unencrypted, and by then you have pretty much defeated the entire purpose of the software. It's an interesting concept for sure, but I doubt it will turn into anything that even remotely threatens facebook.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598846)

Yeah - somehow I think their business plan included the tell tale "???????" before the Profit! step.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598874)

Handing third parties control over your data is very different if you have a choice of who you want to trust.

If this project gains traction and achieves its goals, there would be maybe a dozen big providers and hundreds of little ones where most people would be hosting their data, maybe most ISPs would also provide such a service for their customers (with their own front-end and everything), and a handful of nerds will run their own server at home.

Most people don't really care about privacy of their data, and are happy to hand it over to facebook. People who really care don't use facebook.
With a system like diaspora, paranoid people could have a websocial-life without worrying about Zuckerberg bigbrothering them.

I can see it working. But I don't know if it will be (with diaspora or something else not existing yet).

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598918)

And if specialized service providers sprout up to host this data, wouldn't that be creating the same situation that this software is supposed to be trying to get away from: other having control of your data?

So, would you rather 50 or 60 service providers, each of which host a couple hundred thousand people, or one that hosts 500 million? Which is more dangerous, overall, from a privacy perspective? And if people can switch providers easily (which is another goal) providers will have to compete on privacy protection since if they mess up, people will just take their data elsewhere.

It's like having a free market vs. a monopoly. Just because the free market doesn't eliminate money doesn't mean it's not better.

Competence! (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598936)

And do you honestly expect the typical FB user to do that - set up and manage their own server?

So it will be a social network for people who are at least semi-competent with technology (or at least are friends with such a person). Sounds good to me - I already run a web server at home, and the kids know how to put stuff onto it.
I tried MySpace for a few days; told them to wipe my account (it was before they had an option for leaving). Tried FaceBook for a month or so, then zombified my account.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598954)

And do you honestly expect the typical FB user to do that - set up and manage their own server?

I don't see anyone saying that.

And if specialized service providers sprout up to host this data, wouldn't that be creating the same situation that this software is supposed to be trying to get away from: other having control of your data?

I don't see anyone saying that either... The ability to move your profile to different service provider should be a _basic_ feature of a distributed system like this.

I'm not making any wild ass claims about what Diaspora is or will be, why do you feel the need to assume the worst possible design decisions before knowing a damn thing?

Comparing email/calendaring/contacts to social networking is valid, I think. The problem space in the latter is larger and not well defined yet, but the basic idea stands: a distributed system is just a lot more useful to society as a whole, even if it slows some avenues of development -- examples from email/calendaring/contacts should be easy to find.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

gox (1595435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598996)

And if specialized service providers sprout up to host this data, wouldn't that be creating the same situation that this software is supposed to be trying to get away from: other having control of your data?

You'll have options. For instance, I host my non-techie friends' e-mail accounts. No "setting up your own server" needed. Some of them still prefer to use GMail. It's their choice. Plus, you could get an e-mail account from thousands of different providers, each offering different advantages. There will never be centralized control over e-mail, but it works perfectly.

Plus, this kind of freedom could result in different network setups that could, for instance, help collaborative projects.

I don't think these guys will be able to do it though. They should've released the protocol drafts and let the community pick up from there.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

takowl (905807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598798)

But to get people using it, there has to be an easy way to get an account on a public server for free. Because ordinary users don't want to rent their own server. Think GMail for e-mail, or Wordpress.com for wordpress blogs.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598886)

Wow, this is cool! Whether they succeed or not, I kind of hope this is the way social networking will be in the future.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598630)

Of course they need users, but they also need a central organization and a LOT of servers.

Undoubtedley the will, but the system is designed to be distributed. Anyone can add a machine as a server. If enough people do it they might get somewhere - it worked for bittorrent.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598648)

Of course being open source it is theoretically possible then to "transfer" your profile among communities, but that remains to be seen.

But what's the point in doing that when you can have one profile on FB?

I can see it as an internal type of thing. Meaning, a big corp uses this in house for a company directory or for project management: this would be great for a huge project and folks have their projects on their profile, or issues, tickets, whatever....

But this won't knock out FB. FB took that markets a long time ago.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

prionic6 (858109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598658)

If this really wants to be a "competitor" to AOL messaging they are going to need a lot more than just software. Of course they need users, but they also need a central organization and a LOT of servers. AOL is more than just a software interface, they have a massive # of globally distributed data centers that cost a ton of money. I doubt any one organization is going to put the same amount of resources behind this project. More than likely, if this amounts to anything it won't be a AOL competitor but instead a platform for much smaller communities to use. TFA even mentions this(but its not in the summary. Of course being open source it is theoretically possible then to "transfer" your message among communities, but that remains to be seen.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598700)

Um doesn't everybody pretty much still use AOL messaging?

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

prionic6 (858109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598782)

It's not a perfect analogy...

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598792)

I don't really know anyone who uses AOL's IM software/service, I do occasionally hear people in the US mention it though.

Here in Sweden ICQ was king of the hill until MS started pushing MSN Messenger more seriously (and bundling it with their desktop OS) at which point those who weren't already using ICQ started using MSN Messenger, after a couple of years of this ICQ was pretty much dead with everyone migrated over to MSN.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598942)

I found that most people in the US use only AIM, a few use only Y! Messenger, and almost everybody in Europe MSN Messenger. This may be antictodal, but I've seen it this for at least 10 years now.

Re:Software is only part of the equation (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598880)

You don't have a clue what you're talking about. The whole point is that I can host my very own Diaspora node and anybody on any other Diaspora node can link to me.

Your statement is like saying "If Apache really wants to be a competitor to Geocities they need to have massive numbers of servers like Yahoo does!".

DIaspora does not need centrally administered computing resources to work. Sure, if you are hosting the Diaspora node of a celebrity you might need a server farm, but most people could host their Diaspora node off a cable or DSL line.

Presumptuous title much? (4, Insightful)

koterica (981373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598550)

I don't understand how a piece of unreleased software can be considered a competitor to a service that (claims) to have 500 million active users.

Re:Presumptuous title much? (1)

thelonious (233200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599236)

Hindsight works a lot better for spotting potential. I'm ready to switch.

All flash, no substance. (5, Informative)

faulteh (1869228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598572)

I gave the developer preview code a run today, and all my hopes as to what Diaspora could be died. It took too long to produce so little that everyone's outrage at facebook's privacy has been compartmentalized into a hollywood movie on the subject, and thus rendered irrelevant.

To be a seed you are going to need a hosting provider that supports ruby on rails with a freakishly huge list of gem dependencies, that is also running the thin webserver - that's right it doesn't work on apache (parts of it worked, but most of the ajax stuff didn't because it requires the eventmachine interface). In fact, installing all the dependencies on an ubuntu server running a LAMP stack still required an extra 350+Mb of extra packages as all the ruby and mongodb dependencies, for a so far tiny web application. Talk about bloatware!

So although it may look good, it's been put together by crApple fanboys, aka morons. WTF were they smoking at burning man to make them think this was worth it? Gimme some of that sh*t!

Re:All flash, no substance. (2, Funny)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598668)

i still have hope that someone will have an all text version

Re:All flash, no substance. (1)

jlusk4 (2831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599220)

Yeah. I read their "Questions from Luis Villa" (wth? Can't paste into this edit window w/Chrome?) blog post at the beginning of the summer and I didn't think it was going to work out so well. Undergrad summer enthusiasm, rejection/unawareness of earlier efforts.

And here we are. I wonder if they'll be able to collect their KickStarter money (wotta scam that turned out to be) because they met their "promise" (whatever we release will be open-source, yay (note the absence of a specific feature list in the promise)).

There's still hope, I guess, but probably not for Diaspora, due to the dependencies they'll probably introduce. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Re:All flash, no substance. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599234)

So everyone in the world doesn't have a compatible server to run a seed on... The idea is that the geek in each group will.

You clearly had one that you could run it on, I have one that I can run it on (and thus my friends and their friends can readily use my seed, which can connect to your seed, etc. etc.)

I don't disagree that not running on apache is a load of bollocks but I also think you're blowing the requirements way out of proportion. 350Mb of packages to run it? that's nothing compared to the gigs upon gigs of photos and videos your users (friends) will expect you to host for them.

Awesome! (3, Funny)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598580)

Now I can network with all 3 people that care about both FOSS principles and social networking!

Re:Awesome! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598744)

I just checked. Richard Stallman doesn't want to be your friend.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599012)

make that 4, i'm in :)

It's the protocols, stupid! (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598660)

I don't care at all about the source code being released. Sure, they've released some Ruby code, which you can run, but that's not the important bit. We don't all use SMTP because Sendmail is open source (although that did help adoption), we use it because the protocols are well documented and different implementations can all interoperate. Release the protocol specs as RFCs, merge in feedback, and encourage independent implementations. Until there are two independent implementations, the protocol isn't worth anything.

Re:It's the protocols, stupid! (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598970)

I generally agree with you, except to add that for something like this, data mobility is still really important. You have to be able to easily move your account to some random other Diaspora node relatively easily or you will be stuck with your DIaspora provider and whatever kinds of garbage they want to foist on you.

Re:It's the protocols, stupid! (1)

gox (1595435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599014)

+1 Insightful. Just wish they do this sooner, as drafts.

Re:It's the protocols, stupid! (4, Insightful)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599060)

sudo mod him up

If we had a standardized protocol then everyone (Google, MS, Apple, MySpace, Facebook, random company, universities, you, me, etc etc) can integrate the service into existing products or create their own implementation.

Click here to activate Diaspora on your (Google Me, Apple Ping, MSN/Live/Bing/whatever its called today) account. You won't even have to leave Facebook because if there is a threat of users leaving they will just integrate it.

Re:It's the protocols, stupid! (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599068)

This is truly the point, the nodes communication is the most important aspect, since you can build up clients from it with whatever technology suits you. This is the only way they are going to beat FB. AFAIR they where using the same protocol used by StatusNet (OStatus) but I might be wrong.

Open sourcing it all is a great PiratesBook (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598684)

We should all help participate and support any open source initiative. I can't wait to see it working. The name is inspiring as an image of a great number of people migrating over in rebellion - but doesn't mean much alone, defined apart from FB, stand on its own merit, which would be better. So relies on FB popularity for meaning. Plus it sounds vaguely religious or biblical. RebelBook, PiratesBook, CorsarBook, PeaceWar perhaps.

Business Model Still an Issue? (1)

Snap E Tom (128447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598714)

Last I checked, the hosting was either going to be you download and run it on your own server, or you pay them X dollars for them to host it for you. Is that still going to be the case? If so, this thing is dead in the water because Aunt Jane has no idea what a web server is, and she's not going to buy hosting from Diaspora when Facebook is free.

facebook is an intranet (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598724)

I just liked how it described facebook as an intranet. Further the article posits that facebook will follow the path of AOL. I am not agreeing or disagreeing, just sharing a link.

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/06/avoiding-walled-gardens-on-the-internet.html [codinghorror.com]

So Many Different Projects (3, Informative)

PineHall (206441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598870)

I have always wondered why we needed Diaspora when there are already so many projects [gitorious.org] . Why not work on one of the existing ones.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598908)

After looking at the source code i got the impression, that they took that long to release just the output of the generated rails code.

alt text (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599106)

i love the alt text on the image - "aaa"

go4t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599240)

bloc in order to that has gUrown up The curtains flew
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