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What Happened To Diaspora, the Facebook Killer? It's Complicated

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the migrating-half-a-billion-people-is-easy dept.

Facebook 215

pigrabbitbear writes "Created by four New York University students, Diaspora tried to destroy the notion that one social network could completely dominate the web. Diaspora – 'the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network,' as described on their Kickstarter page – offered what seemed like the perfect antidote to Zuckerbergian tyranny. The New York Times quickly got wind. Tired of being bullied, technologists rallied behind the burgeoning startup spectacle, transforming what began as a fun project into a political movement. Before a single line of code had been written, Diaspora was a sensation. Its anti-establishment rallying cry and garage hacker ethos earned it kudos from across an Internet eager for signs of life among a generation grown addicted to status updates. And yet, the battle may have been lost before it even began. Beyond the difficulty of actually executing a project of this scope and magnitude, the team of four young kids with little real-world programming experience found themselves crushed under the weight of expectation. Even before they had tried to produce an actual product, bloggers, technologists and open-source geeks everywhere were already looking to them to save the world from tyranny and oppression. Not surprisingly, the first release, on September 15, 2010 was a public disaster, mainly for its bugs and security holes. Former fans mockingly dismissed it as 'swiss cheese.'"

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215 comments

All empires must fall, all kings turn to dust (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531363)

queens, too. [195.242.99.71]

Ok... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531385)

Ok, so things were rough at first, but did they get the girl in the end?
I don't want to see it if they didn't get the girl in the end.

They're nerds (1)

RLiegh (247921) | about 2 years ago | (#41531441)

they don't get the girl at all.

Re:Ok... (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 2 years ago | (#41531461)

No, but Zuck did. Bwaahaha.

Re:Ok... (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | about 2 years ago | (#41531599)

Zuck doesn't get the girl for much longer.. His happy little Kingdom has a serious Introvert shortage.

Re:Ok... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531847)

That ugly chink barely qualifies as any semblance of a girl.

Re:Ok... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533039)

...says the Slashdotter. She's probably a heck of a lot better looking than you are.

Re:Ok... (4, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 years ago | (#41533881)

Probably has a bigger dick, too.

Fondue party! (5, Insightful)

natophonic (103088) | about 2 years ago | (#41531431)

> Former fans mockingly dismissed it as 'swiss cheese.'

One has to wonder how cheesy the first few iterations of Facebook would have looked if their source had been open to all.

Re:Fondue party! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531489)

> Former fans mockingly dismissed it as 'swiss cheese.'

One has to wonder how cheesy the first few iterations of Facebook would have looked if their source had been open to all.

If I'm not mistaken, Facebook's beginnings didn't involve advertising all over the damn place and firing up a bunch of technology pundits before a single line of code was written. Facebook's code might've been (and probably still is) janky as hell, but the first impression they left on the world when Zucko started was a working product. That's the key difference here. The Diaspora people wanted media attention for their idea, and the lack of anything deliverable for years was the impression everyone had of them.

Re:Fondue party! (2)

sapgau (413511) | about 2 years ago | (#41531553)

Yup, you have to complete at least your first iteration... then refactor it like hell for the next... ad infinitum.

Re:Fondue party! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533055)

If I'm not mistaken, Facebook's beginnings didn't involve advertising all over the damn place and firing up a bunch of technology pundits before a single line of code was written. Facebook's code might've been (and probably still is) janky as hell, but the first impression they left on the world when Zucko started was a working product. That's the key difference here. The Diaspora people wanted media attention for their idea, and the lack of anything deliverable for years was the impression everyone had of them.

To be honest the fact alone that they are open source should helped them address the existing bugs. If you have ever tackled a large scale project with minimal hands then you should know that two years is not that bad.

I'd rather have a buggy social networking site than one that takes my private information and gives out to anyone willing to pay for it. I'm tired of being oppressed by facebook, in fact I'm going to log in one last time just to delete my facebook account.

Re:Fondue party! (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#41533461)

Your information isn't private on Facebook because you gave it to them.

Re:Fondue party! (5, Insightful)

thereitis (2355426) | about 2 years ago | (#41533781)

... or your friends gave it to them.

Re:Fondue party! (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 2 years ago | (#41533433)

Well, they weren't intending to advertise nearly as widely as they did. I wouldn't fault the project creators for what happened.

Re:Fondue party! (5, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 2 years ago | (#41531561)

I for one doubt that the problems are of technical nature. What they did well was to get a lot of people excited and start a well-sized fellowship of power users interested in hosting a dispora server.

The problem is that it is a student project that intended to start from zero and kept largely to itself. That's fine for a student project. If you want to open up social networks to heterogeneous environments though -- like emails -- you have to connect to other programmers and entities interested. You have to settle one one or a couple of competing standards (like was done with RSS) used for interchange with wise designers, several servers should implement functions, code should be shared.

Finally you have to have some killer application that draws users -- doing the same as Facebook but in a different color won't do it. And if it's just a game that's only available there.

So the current status as far as I followed is that the communication format is settled (RSS based) and what's left is implementing many nice web servers that interact, have different awesome features, and also to get commercial players involved? It's hard work getting from a working prototype to a good implementation that is hackable (and ideally, not crackable).

Writing good software (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41532151)

It's almost like there's more to writing good software than throwing up a Kickstarter page and getting PR. Who knew that actual work would be involved?

Re:Writing good software (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 2 years ago | (#41533447)

I'm certain the people who started the project were well aware that work would be involved. You can't fault them for other people's unrealistic expectations.

Re:Fondue party! (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41532251)

The problem is that it is a student project that intended to start from zero and kept largely to itself.

My theory of the problem is that a walled garden will always provide at least a little smoother experience than a decentralized, open, free one. Thus usenet gave way to moderated web forums, decentralized email largely gave way to centralized webmail providers and twitter, home pages gave way to myspace/facebook, and beowulf clusters gave way to EC2. Open standards and decentralized implementations are losing ground all around.

Re:Fondue party! (5, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 2 years ago | (#41532327)

I agree with your other points, however I do think a lot of their problems were technical in nature.

The submission nails it.. bunch of kids with limited real world experience. The whole execution was amateurish and it really showed.

For instance, their problem with security wasn't that their software has some security holes, or a lot of security holes.. it was that the fundemental core design didn't take security into account at all. Good security creates a low level priviledged layer that you audit the crap out of, with upper layers limited (by a token based auth system for instance.. ), such that a bug in an upper layer is limited in what it can do. They just threw in some if statements and called it a day. A big selling point was supposed to be security.. but it was very clear to anyone who actually looked at the code that they didn't have a clue what they were doing. It is impossible to make an app secure the way they went. You can patch all the holes.. but the fundemental structure is insecure so new holes will be introduced constantly.

As programmers, we all look at something and say "pff, I could do better". Maybe we do it less as we gain more experience in seeing simple stuff turn wildly complex. This seems a case of that where some kids did that, then got way more attention then they should, and ended up looking like idiots.

Technical Capabilities vs. Social Critical Mass (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 2 years ago | (#41532547)

I haven't tried Diaspora, but while they did need to get the technology to be marginally adequate, so they don't alienate users, their biggest hurdle was going to be to get users to adopt it in the first place. The reason to join Facebook was never that it was technically cool, it was that it was at least marginally usable and half a billion other people were joining it, including your relatives and you actual in-real-life friends and the people you went to high school with and the people who you used to know on Myspace and that girl you met hula-hooping outside the concert the other night.

And the reason to stay on Facebook was not only to talk to those people, but because you got hooked on Farmville when one of your not-actually-real-life friends sent you a shrubbery and you decided to put out a hit on your other friend who'd just become Godfather in Mafia Wars, so you got sucked into the online cow-clicking game environment, plus it was what your friends started using for party announcements. And the combination of Facebook and its add-ons was enough to keep lots of people sticking around there to be marketable eyeballs instead of migrating off to the next such mud/LambdaMoo/Friendster/Orkut/LiveJournal/MySpace/Instagram competitor, maybe not forever but at least long enough to get an IPO out the door.

Diaspora had to find ways to attract some of those users, enough to get social critical mass. If the technology was too broken to get people to stick around after the initial "We're Not Facebook" PR campaign, it could be too hard to get those people back after fixing it (and without enough users, it's hard to get the momentum to get it fixed.) So what's next - CryptoCat?

Re:Technical Capabilities vs. Social Critical Mass (4, Interesting)

siride (974284) | about 2 years ago | (#41534343)

You missed the early phase of Facebook when it was cool because it was only for colleges, had a clean layout (unlike the ugly pages people frequently had for MySpace). It was exclusive and pretty.

Beyond Facebook? (1)

akumpf (2571057) | about 2 years ago | (#41531439)

What about other discussion/social apps that don't rely on friend networks, like http://luunr.com/ [luunr.com] ? Or will facebook overwhelm people with their flavor of online discussion and keep it from ever hitting critical mass?

Re:Beyond Facebook? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531575)

Facebook is to social networks as WoW is to MMOs as iPod is to portable MP3 players. They become a hit product, and suddenly everyone wants to be the " killer." It never works out for the wannabes, because the hit product sets the tone for all that follow.

Re:Beyond Facebook? (5, Funny)

greentshirt (1308037) | about 2 years ago | (#41531759)

So true. Brb, checking my MySpace on Netscape Navigator. BTW, do you have an ICQ #? If not, just Yahoo! my Geocities page.

Re:Beyond Facebook? (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | about 2 years ago | (#41531863)

Yahoo! your Geocities page? What is this, the future?

Re:Beyond Facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531873)

Do you seriously think that history could repeat in the same way today? Seriously?

Re:Beyond Facebook? (2)

greentshirt (1308037) | about 2 years ago | (#41531885)

History repeating itself? What kind of madness is that?

Re:Beyond Facebook? (1)

aix tom (902140) | about 2 years ago | (#41532493)

Sorry, I'm more of a Ceefax person.

Re:Beyond Facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533555)

The main difference here is the extreme volume of users on facebook compared to those outdated services.

Mass migration becomes more complicated the more people are on it to maintain it. iPods/WoW/Facebook are here to stay, at least until they themselves announce a sequel.

Re:Beyond Facebook? (2)

crossmr (957846) | about 2 years ago | (#41534111)

100 million wasn't "extreme" at the time?
What we consider "extreme" on facebook right now might be eclipsed by another service in the future.

People are fickle and trendy..despite all the time they've put into facebook, if the right thing comes along at the right time and Facebook does something monumentally foolish, that perfect storm really hasn't happened yet. Google+ really should have been kept in the wings, tested and waiting for Facebook to just completely screw the pooch. Until then it really had no chance at all, nothing really does.

The thing is though, if someone wants to take down facebook they need to be the only other game in town. There really can only be one big social network at once, unless you've got complete duplication between them, but most people don't want to do that. If facebook screws up somehow and several competitors try and take over at once, and each of them takes a few users, what's going to happen is that eventually everyone will gravitate towards one of the networks. It is inevitable. Everyone needs to be together for it to be successful. However the chaos surrounding several competitors stepping in if Facebook leaves itself vulnerable will really only benefit facebook. A fractured user base means people will just turn around and go back to Facebook, unless facebook does something completely whacky like decide to start with monthly subscriptions or something. That would permanently drive people away.

iPods are another story.. I hardly see anywhere near as many of them now that smartphones are all the rage. Smartphones have completely replaced the basic iPod. About the only benefit you get out of an ipod these days is if you're using a shuffle while exercising. For most people it's more convenient to carry a single device, and outside of the iphone changeable batteries are usually sufficient, and at least with the iphone you can get those external batteries to charge it up if you need to.

Re:Beyond Facebook? (4, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41531827)

A serious misstep by the market leader leaves the market open for someone new. Pandas in WoW for example has had millions of WoW players looking for anything that's almost as good, but without pandas. Unfortunately SWTOR was a trainwreck and Guildwars 2 is a very different game (and nothing else has survived long enough to match them).

But I would say Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo have all managed to find successful space for themselves in the FPS market.

With facebook the problem is getting marginal users to migrate. That friend who isn't tech savvy at all and doesn't know what google plus is or how it's like facebook isn't going to change. But because it's social there's nothing you can do to leave if the people you want to talk to won't leave too. I had someone yesterday try and tell me that the physical keyboard on a blackberry was the key to their stock price rebounding... because some people don't understand technology, at all, getting her off a blackberry is seemingly impossible, just as getting those friends who know nothing about privacy off facebook is impossible. With a social product you're kinda latched to the people who won't leave, even if something else is better.

For facebook their major misstep is going to be privacy. For those of us who are techies it *is* privacy, but facebook is going to end up doing something so catastrophically stupid that all the non tech savvy people are going to panic - or they're going to do subtle things with privacy that regulators are going to catch on to and dry up their revenue stream. Whether or not anyone else is well position to take their user base is hard to say, with myspace I think it was music and allowing you to make your page look like you were on an acid trip, but google plus and diaspora and twitter and everyone else trying to be the next big thing need a polished product to stuff in peoples faces the moment Zuck does something everyone can understand as stupid.

Also, while no one really succeeded in taking down the iPod directly cell phones have wiped out a huge portion the portable music player market by being better and more functional, and are essentially iPod killers. Trying to out iPod the iPod, I agree, not a great plan, nor is trying to out WoW WoW or out Facebook Facebook, that's where I think someone who sees a feature for a product for when facebook really missteps will do well.

Re:Beyond Facebook? (2)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | about 2 years ago | (#41532899)

> I had someone yesterday try and tell me that the physical keyboard on a blackberry was the key to their stock price rebounding..

Tactile feedback is highly underrated.

Driving down the road trying to call someone with a touchscreen and no bluetooth or buggy\no text-to-speech? Dangerous as hell
Driving down the road with a Blackberry and trying to do the same? Muscle memory, for the win!

I for one miss knowing where the damn keys are when I am holding something, or as is the case now, knowing if the screen is locked without even having to look at it.

Re:Beyond Facebook? (4, Insightful)

brantondaveperson (1023687) | about 2 years ago | (#41533819)

Please don't drive and fiddle with your cellphone.

Re:Beyond Facebook? (1)

Nostromo21 (1947840) | about 2 years ago | (#41532997)

> A serious misstep by the market leader leaves the market open for someone new. Pandas in WoW for example has had millions of WoW players looking for anything that's almost as good, but without pandas. Unfortunately SWTOR was a trainwreck and Guildwars 2 is a very different game (and nothing else has survived long enough to match them).

Ummm...on the off chance yer not just throwing opinions around from under a bridge...ever heard of LOTRO, or EVE or CoH (yes, I know it's finished) or Aion/RIFT/EQ1&2/AoC/AO/DDO/DCUO/STO/TSW/ATITD/2nd Life, or hell even GW1, or any of a number of older, p2p & f2p mmos that are still kicking & doing quite well...? Not to even mention Asian, browser-based or kids mmos like Runescape, Lineage1/2, etc. And SWTOR most def wasn't a 'trainwreck', not for most SW story fans anyway. And thank GOD GW2 is a 'very different game', in all the good ways that count :).

Some of the Asian & browser mmos beat the pants down off WoW on subscribers anyway, but putting that metric aside, I certainly wouldn't base 'success', commercial or otherwise, for a mmo purely off sub nums - there's just so much more to it as far as what makes a great mmo (for most serious mmo players anyway...ymmv).

we weren't looking to them.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41531443)

that was their own PR for their own use.
don't do pr like that before you have the product. in this case they didn't even have the thinking for what the product would be, except that "facebook suxxor".

seriously, if people cared they could go for telnet bbs's with message networking between the bbs's. but who the fuck would like that shit? and those who care are already running their own blogs on their own money, their own bbs systems for organizing, their own jabber servers... but most people just don't give a fuck - and really sometimes it's just better that the guy running the server is some zuck-fuckerberg in the states and not the nerd from your sw-chess club because frankly zuck is less likely to give a fuck about who you sold weed to.

Facebook (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 2 years ago | (#41531445)

Ironically, its Facebook page [facebook.com] probably has more likes than actual users.

Re:Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532117)

That is not irony

Re:Facebook (2)

humanrev (2606607) | about 2 years ago | (#41532603)

That IS irony. Coincidence is what is most commonly mistaken for irony, and there's no coincidence here. The irony stems from the fact that people are liking Diaspora in greater numbers on a site which is closed and ideologically-opposite to what Diaspora stands for.

You could argue that Diaspora shouldn't even have a Facebook page if it wishes to be whole consistent in its values, but if you want Facebook users to come over, you need some kinda of presence.

Re:Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533613)

liking Diaspora in greater numbers on a site which is closed and ideologically-opposite to what Diaspora stands for.
 
That's the thing. If you don't mind Diaspora having about as many active users as Slashdot it's all good but the second you start this open vs closed holy war you're going to alienate the mainstream. The public doesn't care about open source. Fuck, most of the geeks and techs I know don't give a fuck about open/closed source. You can make up as much shit as you want in your head but the fact of the matter is that geekery is not really a selling point, not even to geeks in a lot of cases.
 
  You could argue that Diaspora shouldn't even have a Facebook page if it wishes to be whole consistent in its values, but if you want Facebook users to come over, you need some kinda of presence.
 
I guess you could argue that Slashdot shouldn't be taking advertising dollars from the likes of Blizzard or Microsoft but apparently they do. Maybe you should boycott Slashdot for being so uncouth. In fact, it could easily be said that what Slashdot does is pretty much what Facebook does and you are the product that Slashdot is selling.

Re:Facebook (1)

spintriae (958955) | about 2 years ago | (#41532307)

There are 400K users according to the article. I assume that means active users since they cited a previous figure of 600K.

Playing with fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531463)

Diaspora failed
because fans expected it to deliver
what was promised.

Really / . ?

Facebook Killer? Sensation? (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41531479)

The only place I ever heard Diaspora even mentioned at all was right here on Slashdot.

Re:Facebook Killer? Sensation? (1)

FauxReal (653820) | about 2 years ago | (#41532559)

The only place I ever heard Diaspora even mentioned at all was right here on Slashdot.

Same here, and I forgot about it since it was a late night and just remembered when I saw today's article.

Re:Facebook Killer? Sensation? (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 2 years ago | (#41533459)

I've seen it mentioned a few other places. A maker space I follow debated hosting a Diaspora instance. A few other people I know have talked about it spontaneously.

But it didn't (2)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about 2 years ago | (#41531499)

Have grandma and grandpa and cousin bob already on it. Facebook has all of them already and why bother going elsewhere when all the people you actually want to socialize with are already on one network. In an unrelated note, Google+ has 400 million users and about 1/4 of them are actually active on google+

Re:But it didn't (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41532055)

Since everyone with a gmail address is on g+ it includes my mom, father in law and wife who have no idea it exists

By the end of the year I might even add my mother in law and wife's grandparents. Except with them they won't even know they have gmail. I'll use it just for iPhone contact management for them

Re:But it didn't (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | about 2 years ago | (#41533673)

Since everyone with a gmail address is on g+...

Not so fast! You have to explicitly sign up for G+ to use it, just like with Google Latitude's location sharing. Otherwise you're not searchable and they just consider you a non-member and keep urging you on here and there. I've never liked the model of joining a free service to increase visualization of details that are free anyway, especially within an account I already signed up for. You must sign up before you are able to replies to public profiles' posts, I believe, but I won't risk joining just to find out.

Hotmail and Yahoo prevent you from being a "member" of their tacked-on "social network" features until you fill out at a number of Personal details to "activate" your profile. They have really not even been mentioned in the social network world. The point is that an email address does not get you in a network. If I recall correctly Google Buzz was auto-join, which was a huge problem because everyone inadvertently shared relationship "priority" details in their profiles without meaning to even join. I may recall wrong. But autojoining and account-walled joining are both bad ends of the spectrum.

Not only did you start your (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532497)

Post in the subject line, but you also capitalized the "H" in Have?

I hate you.

Get with the times (5, Informative)

Meditato (1613545) | about 2 years ago | (#41531507)

This is a completely sensationalist and somewhat deceptive post.

First of all, those security bugs existed in the first release, before Diaspora even went open-source. Discussing Diaspora's first bugs without mentioning its current project status is like complaining about the first release of Linux when Linux 3.6 just came out. The author is deliberately leaving out information about the current status of the project in a way that is intended to further a deceptive conclusion in the reader's mind.

Second of all, check out http://diasp.org/ [diasp.org] because it seriously works.

Third, Diaspora is still being developed by its community.

Fourth, Diaspora had the equivalent of the "circles" feature before Google+ did. In fact, the first release of Google+ looked so similar to Diaspora that people started to talk. And acting like Google+ somehow made Diaspora irrelevant is totally stupid. Apples and Oranges. Big Data and decentralized social networking. They have different purposes and therefore can't be directly compared.

Quit with the sensationalist tech journalism. I don't even use social networking much any more, but considering the friends I know who swear by Diaspora, I know its far from the idea of "a few young kids" creating a failure, which is what this stupid article champions.

Re:Get with the times (4, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#41531617)

Is creating an alternative to Facebook a technical problem, or is it more the non-technical side which is more important? Such as making people aware it exists, encouraging people to use it etc. This thing may be great, but nobodys heard of it. What are its supporters doing to make people hear about it? There are people who use facebook who never email, hardly ever surf the web etc.

Re:Get with the times (3, Insightful)

toastking (2743165) | about 2 years ago | (#41533343)

I honestly forgot about Diaspora until I saw it on Reddit a few weeks ago. It is predominately a techie thing and may never catch on main stream due to its technical and open source nature. Non-tech people won't see its advantages and may see its open source nature as inviting "hackers".

Re:Get with the times (1)

Mawen (317927) | about 2 years ago | (#41534137)

No! People are upset about Facebook's privacy! And how they sell out as much as possible and have no qualms about ending privacy -- "privacy is dead" - didn't Zuck say that? Just recently they added wall postings, and people thought they were private messages. Even though this was a bogus problem, it gets people upset.

Also, ads.

Maybe if we all shared this with our non-techie friends it would help it gain traction.

Other plugs:
1) you can crosspost to facebook and twitter (and tumblr)
2) you can use hashtags. Score! People on FB get flamed for being idiots who don't know how to use twitter. This way they can win.

I've been a user for about 14 minutes now.

Re:Get with the times (1)

Pav (4298) | about 2 years ago | (#41533849)

I'm on Diaspora, and I'm glad it's there. The people are certainly much more eclectic and there are less of them - both plusses in my book. :-P Facebook didn't take off because it was open to everyone initially. It took me a while to score an invite. Still, it doesn't need to be a raging success. It just needs to host interesting creative communities, and to Be There if/when Facebook et. al. have a Chernobyl.

Frankly, when the masses arrive small communities can lose their charm... loss AND gain. Let the people with money on the line do the hairpulling. It's the same with FOSS in general - suits my purposes, and annoys me less. Let the people with insecurities jump through hoops for the stuff with the market share and/or hipster cred... as the years go by the heartbeat in FOSS gets stronger and there's less and less need for anything else IMHO.

Re:Get with the times (4, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about 2 years ago | (#41531645)

I use Diaspora. I thought -- and think -- it's eerie just how much G+ looked like diaspora, and to some extent still does. They're both working off the same mindset about how networking should function. But once G+ came up, activity in my diaspora circles dropped to a standstill. It appears to me that most all the people who would use diaspora chose to spend their limited time on G+ because of the networking effect.

Re:Get with the times (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#41531695)

The author is deliberately leaving out information about the current status of the project in a way that is intended to further a deceptive conclusion in the reader's mind.

When the current status is somewhere between "completely unknown" and "utterly forgotten"... the conclusion the author is intending to depict is an accurate one. Whether it's functional, or on version 3.0 or version Jelly Vanilla Gummy Bar - it's failed to perform it's intended function, let alone the that hyped into existence by the tech press and geek fanbois.

Re:Get with the times (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41531767)

Diaspora had the equivalent of the "circles" feature before Google+ did. In fact, the first release of Google+ looked so similar to Diaspora that people started to talk.

If they'd obtained patents, Disapora would have had an edge over Google. Instead, they lost.

Re:Get with the times (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 2 years ago | (#41531971)

I agree. I use Diaspora and I think the service is not too shabby for being relatively new to the game. Right now there is a good population of techies, and such there.

Re:Get with the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531999)

Fourth, Diaspora had the equivalent of the "circles" feature before Google+ did.

And LiveJournal had the concept of friend groups (which, for all intents and purposes, are what circles are) years before Facebook, let alone Diaspora or Google+, even existed. But I didn't hear anyone talking about that.

In fact, the first release of Google+ looked so similar to Diaspora that people started to talk.

Come to think of it, I didn't hear anyone talking about THAT, either, but I guess I just don't pay attention to the Diaspora diehards who talk about Diaspora and how things relate to Diaspora, and absolutely nothing else, anywhere else, apparently.

Re:Get with the times (1)

Meditato (1613545) | about 2 years ago | (#41532847)

I guess you're the center of the universe, then. It didn't happen if you didn't read it. So I'll provide some tech news/blog posts about the similarity. FYI, Diaspora first released the aspects ("circles") feature and the alpha UI in September 2010. Google+ launched in June 2011.

http://www.gizmag.com/diaspora-google-plus-resemblance/20638/ [gizmag.com]

http://www.launch.co/blog/did-google-copy-diaspora-or-vice-versa.html [launch.co]

http://babyfruit.typepad.com/mediagirl/2011/09/google-meet-diaspora-or-maybe-you-know-them-already.html [typepad.com]

http://www.launch.co/blog/diaspora-finally-unveiled-feels-like-google.html [launch.co]

Re:Get with the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532091)

What makes this look like a hobby project, is the fact that there is no documentation. How can I write my own server? Where are the RFC's?

Re:Get with the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532671)

So what's the difference between https://diasp.org/ [diasp.org] and https://joindiaspora.com [joindiaspora.com] ? I made a login at the latter site and it doesn't work with the former. Is it now a fractured community?

Re:Get with the times (2)

Meditato (1613545) | about 2 years ago | (#41532803)

So what's the difference between https://diasp.org/ [diasp.org] and https://joindiaspora.com [joindiaspora.com] ? I made a login at the latter site and it doesn't work with the former. Is it now a fractured community?

No, it uses different "pods", or diaspora servers. These pods communicate with each other, hence the "decentralized social networking" description. You set up an account with one pod, but you can communicate with people on other pods. You can search for a person faster if you know what pod they're on. I have an account on diasp, so my address is [username].diasp.org, which could help you find me if you're on another pod. As far as I know, all pods achieved federation some time ago, so this shouldn't be a problem.

Re:Get with the times (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 2 years ago | (#41533017)

This is a completely sensationalist and somewhat deceptive post.

There will always be plenty of this whenever an open source threat emerges to somebody's billion-dollar monopoly, and most people will buy into it without questioning where the memes are coming from.

Re:Get with the times (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#41533443)

If you're creating a distributed network for sharing personal information, you need to have security first in your mind. The original Diaspora had bugs that were so severe they showed the programmers weren't really capable of creating that kind of security.

Re:Get with the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41534299)

The problem with Diaspora's "circles" feature is that every single user on Diaspora qualifies for my "neckbearded faggot" circle.

Diaspora? (2, Insightful)

udachny (2454394) | about 2 years ago | (#41531523)

By the way, the name, Diaspora, it also sucks. Oh, and I don't have an FB account either but it has a better name.

Re:Diaspora? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532283)

Un-flame bait this... Because It's true. Not to say it _should_ have an impact on who uses the service, but it does... ...remember, thefacebook.com was the original FB domain, which in itself is more descriptive than what we have today, but it was changed for purely branding/marketing purposes and I'm sure I'm not the only one that believes this.

Tahrir (1)

Sanity (1431) | about 2 years ago | (#41531527)

The Tahrir Project [github.com] is trying to create an anonymous microblogging platform, similar to Twitter or Facebook. Google was sponsoring development on it over the summer so with any luck it won't prove to be vaporware like Diaspora.

G+ killed it (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41531531)

And yet, the battle may have been lost before it even began.

No it was lost when G+ came out with circles, which was Diasporas main killer feature.
The second killer feature being able to download all your stuff, which google ALSO does on "your account" "data liberation" page.

Honestly when I first saw G+ circles I though the almighty GOOG had bought out the diaspora devs or something like that.

the team of four young kids with little real-world programming experience

It is/was a kinda-federated intranet scale website, OK? They're not writing a OS, or a compiler, or hand coding machine code. In the olden days, one young kid should have been able to do it, four is a little excessive.

Re:G+ killed it (1)

jbonomi (1839286) | about 2 years ago | (#41531669)

Aspects were a great idea, but the most attractive "killer" feature to me was being able to host my account on my own server. It's a long shot, but I still push Diaspora when I can.

LiberTree (4, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#41531541)

Diaspora has spawned other projects that attempt to carry on and refine the original goals. LiberTree [libertreeproject.org] is one of them, for instance. Just because the original team didn't succeed brilliantly doesn't mean that the original goals weren't worthy or attainable.

Re:LiberTree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531581)

Also Friendica

Re:LiberTree (1)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#41531665)

Yes, that too.

Re:LiberTree (1)

ihistand (170799) | about 2 years ago | (#41531649)

And BuddyCloud.org

Re:LiberTree (1)

jdeisenberg (37914) | about 2 years ago | (#41532891)

...and friendica.com [friendica.com] , which is easy to install and works quite well.

This isn't that hard to explain.. (4, Interesting)

phrackwulf (589741) | about 2 years ago | (#41531573)

You need a good mix of introverts and extroverts in an online community. Linkedin has the introverts. Facebook has the Extroverts. Disaspore needs to define who their audience is before they build out the technology. Technology is nothing without the right people.

Re:This isn't that hard to explain.. (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#41531797)

maybe Diaspora can have the perverts.

Re:This isn't that hard to explain.. (1)

deadzaphod (699097) | about 2 years ago | (#41532047)

No, I think fetlife already has that covered...

They were right in one sense. (4, Insightful)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about 2 years ago | (#41531709)

We are being suckered into an immense data gathering exercise for the sake of a few pages which are "ours".

Perhaps commodification is a better word. I sometimes feel that we have been duped into becoming a product rather than a customer or a user. Worse, this is becoming acceptable for many people.

The thought is disconcerting. After all, what rights do products have? What ramifications does that have for the future? We rely on some misguided sense that these companies or our lawmakers are ethical or reasonable enough to provide safeguards and prevent abuse. That is our only defence, and I have little faith in the competence or ethical integrity of either.

If our personal data is a commodity, as FB and Google and others seem to indicate by their business models, then its only a matter of time before systematic and serious abuses of that data mining become commonplace. Selling fucking personalised ads is the tip of an incredibly large iceberg.

Re:They were right in one sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532329)

That's exactly right.

If a service is free, It's because you're the product being sold. Well, I have a HUGE problem with being a product, especially if I'm not able to sit with FB/Google/etc as they negotiate my price. It would help if more users understood this concept...

Re:They were right in one sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533489)

You are also the product when watching television, listening to the radio, or looking at a billboard. Do you negotiate prices in those cases too?

Re:They were right in one sense. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533811)

You fucking moron. Does your underdeveloped brain allow you to understand that in the cases you mention nobody can know about anything your private data?

No one can profile you or target anything while you watch TV, or listen to radio or look at a billboard. Read what is being discussed, try to think, and only then, if you have something of a minimal value to add to the discussion, post it. Otherwise do the world a favor and just shut the fuck up.

it became a game and flew off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531723)

see battlestar galactica OR someone flushed the toilet and its gone....when you name yourself sounding like a terd expect crap....

see ubuntu ...as furthar referances....

Vendor lock-in (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41531761)

They're not idiots over there at facebook. They took a cue from Microsoft. They know their survival depends on keeping people's data in facebook, and locked-in there. Things go in to facebook, not out. Your site links to facebook, not the other way around.

You would not need facebook if you were easily able to link up with other social networks, or worse yet your facebook friends were able to seamlessly link with your google+/Dispora/Whatever.

In hindsight... (3, Insightful)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about 2 years ago | (#41531775)

I think their biggest problem was setting up a kickstarter page before actually writing a prototype. Had they waited until the prototype was ready before starting the media blitz, they could have been humble about the current state of their code, and been honest about where they want to go. When it comes to software hype, capturing people's imaginations is key. They did that. But they didn't leave themselves any wiggle room. I've been there. Done that kind of thing. I totally feel for them, and what they went through. Everybody has to learn this stuff eventually.

Sugar coated... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41531841)

It was stillborn. Honestly, they never had a chance. The only thing it ever created was a PR buzz. Most everyone that had any technical clue and then learned that the founders had no experience at all knew that it was never going to do anything.

Please don't hate me...but... (0)

babywhiz (781786) | about 2 years ago | (#41531989)

who?

Look, if you wanna make it big time, make sure people in Arkansas hear your voice. If you can get people in Arkansas to recognize your brand, you are golden. (Think about it before bashing me, please.)

Too complex (4, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 years ago | (#41532005)

Out of interest, I tried to create an account. Way too confusing.
Apparently, you must join a 'pod'. What is a pod, what are the differences between Pod A and Pod B, do I have to join the same Pod as my known friends, can I contact people in other Pods?
Dunno.

Input textboxes that don't 'act' like textboxes.
Confusing uptime stats. (Is this Pod good or bad?) Do I care?

If you actually want people, yo must make the initial signup dead easy. If all you want is a developer wankfest, well, I guess you have that. Actual users, not so much.

#IRC.TrOLLTALK.COM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532009)

A sad tale (3, Informative)

RaySnake (607687) | about 2 years ago | (#41532149)

Part of the reason for the slow failure of the project is the suicide [forbes.com] of one of the co-founders, Ilya. A death has a lasting effect on any project, particularly a small one by people new to the whole thing.

Re:A sad tale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532271)

I think that's backwards. In TFA, Ilya's mother blamed his suicide on the project's failure(s).

Re:A sad tale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533969)

I was trying to implement a major project using Ruby on Rails I'd probably kill myself too.

Freedows (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41532241)

Remember Freedows, another all hat, no cattle project. Eventually ReactOS was developed in a more modest way and has long since achieved useful status. A good project needs a lot more than good ideas. Essentially all successful open source projects are lead by highly skilled coders.

Not backed by an evil monetizing corporation (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about 2 years ago | (#41532259)

What the subject says.

Social media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533495)

I don't use:

Facebook
Google+
Diaspora

or anything else that requires opening an account to interact with faceless hordes of bots, scrapers and general assorted whackos. I certainly don't want any of them to be my "friends". So long as there are places like Slashdot for me to vent my unsupported prejudices on a global scale then thats fine by me.

Asocial? Moi???

Bad name (0)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 years ago | (#41533619)

I can't pronounce Diaspora without thinking I'm about to say "diarrhea."

Interesting (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41533633)

What do Kickstarter projects and government projects have in common?

I'd tell ya but I gotta go watch my TiVo of Dexter season opener.

Just shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533759)

and take my bitcoins!

2 things actually (2)

jampola (1994582) | about 2 years ago | (#41534347)

Firstly, The founder capped [ibtimes.com] himself and Secondly, they're taking far too long on the product itself to get it to the open market.

But under the circumstances of what happened to Zhitomirskiy, I think it's understandable.
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