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Open-Source Social Network Diaspora Goes Live 266

Posted by timothy
from the go-west-where-the-land-is-free dept.
CWmike writes "Diaspora, a widely anticipated social network site built on open-source code, has cracked open its doors for business, at least for a handful of invited participants. 'Every week, we'll invite more people,' stated the developers behind the project, in a blog item posted Tuesday announcing the alpha release of the service. 'By taking these baby steps, we'll be able to quickly identify performance problems and iterate on features as quickly as possible.' Such a cautious rollout may be necessary, given how fresh the code is. In September, when the first version of the working code behind the service was posted, it was promptly criticized for being riddled with security errors. While Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg may not be worried about Diaspora quite yet, the service is one of a growing number of efforts to build out open-source-based social-networking software and services."
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Open-Source Social Network Diaspora Goes Live

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  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @11:48PM (#34327460)

    'Every week, we'll invite more people,'

    I guess they'll be sending Friend Requests via Facebook?

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @01:24AM (#34327898) Homepage Journal
    So I'm not supposed to trust facebook, a single corporate entity that I can sue for breach of contract if necessary, but I am supposed to trust this software to store copies of my data(even if they are encrypted) on machines all over the planet, machines who may be running Windows and get infected with a botnet that can transfer all my data to another computer for later decryption and analysis. Yeah, sign me up for that.

    I hope competitors have a model that DOESNT require me to trust the security of Windows machines.
    • by Xarius (691264)

      Just choose to host your data on your own server then? That's your choice as far as I can tell.

      • by tenco (773732)
        This won't help at all. Your server sends your data to clients where it can be (and most likely is: browser cache) stored.
    • by arctanx (1187415) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @03:14AM (#34328402)

      I'm afraid you're screwed whatever you do. The data may be primarily stored on your own machine but you still want your friends to read it. This means if nothing else you have to at least send your status updates and photos to their boxen. They might be accessing a commercially hosted diaspora instance with IE4 on Windows 95A... and you can't help that. You've lost control of the data as soon as it got to their seed.

      Compare that with Facebook. Again, they could be using any browser at all. They could have any of a huge number of viruses, keyloggers, webpage scanners running while they trawl through every photo you've posted, as you've granted them the right to do as your friend.

      I think the competing model you're thinking of is the postal service.

  • Bloody idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GF678 (1453005) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @01:33AM (#34327958)

    Just had this pointed out to me:

    * Goto http://www.joindiaspora.com/ [joindiaspora.com] using Internet Explorer

    Instead of showing the page, what do you get? I'll tell you... a blank page with the following title:

    You need to use a real browser in order to use Diaspora!

    I'm not a IE fan, but this happens with Internet Explorer 8 for goodness sakes. Probably happens with IE9 too. FFS stop showing your fanboyish nature guys; you're basically stating that a good portion of users who only use IE, even if they're using a modern version of it with modern security features like sand-boxing and whatnot, is apparently not "real" enough for your fucking site.

    This really does piss me off. Makes the rest of us "open" FOSS users look like a pack of childish geeks who have no idea. You want your little social site to work? Don't arbitrarily restrict browsers!

    • by roalt (534265)
      You are absolutely right, but for Diaspora's case: Getting multiple browser support right takes time, getting IE support right even longer. (I admit that for a simple "join page" it wouldn't be that much extra time. During alpha development phase, you want to go forward, not stepping aside.

      ...and it's nice to let IE users experience the feeling others have for all those IE-only websites.

      But very tactical, to promote your new website to new users? No...

      • Re:Bloody idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GF678 (1453005) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @02:14AM (#34328142)

        Your point about limiting browser support at this stage is perfectly reasonable, I agree 100%. But you also appear to agree that sidelining IE browsers in the manner they're doing is rather immature. If they blocked IE and explained why they were doing so without sounding pretentious, then it will look a lot more professional.

    • by suv4x4 (956391)

      Instead of showing the page, what do you get? I'll tell you... a blank page with the following title:

      You need to use a real browser in order to use Diaspora!

      I'm not a IE fan, but this happens with Internet Explorer 8 for goodness sakes.

      With this move they ignore about 70% of users on the client side. But it doesn't stop there. On the server side, what they opted to use was Ruby on Rails with MongoDB. For a project that purports to be all about being able to run a node yourself, they have cut about 90% of their userbase by using technology that's rare on shared hosts (RoR) or downright exotic (MongoDB).

      And despite being so picky on technology, they clearly produce sub-par code anyway.

      This really does piss me off. Makes the rest of us "open" FOSS users look like a pack of childish geeks who have no idea.

      I wouldn't go there. Sure, they're amateur kids, and Dia

  • by SashaMan (263632) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @01:40AM (#34327990)

    It seems that Diaspora somehow got that NYTimes article, got mucho donations from that even though at that point they had NO CODE, and yet somehow now I hear about it all the time as somehow it's going to be a "facebook killer".

    Linux got popular initially because Torvalds is an excellent programmer and his project spread through word-of-mouth. Diaspora got discovered because there was a Times article about vaporware.

  • I'm more interested in a site that will do what Craigslist does, but modernized and free of all the bullshit that plagues CL. Currently, CL is akin to Mos Eisley and it doesn't appear that there have been any significant improvements in years.

    • Out of curiosity, what is wrong with craigslist that needs improvement? Is it too slow?

      • by pspahn (1175617)

        No, the speed is just fine. They simply need to improve the spam and general douchebaggery that occurs. There are simply too many leeches and lame robots that live there.

  • by ADRA (37398) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @02:52AM (#34328308)

    I'm a little late to the discussion, but I'll throw in anyways.

    The really important facet of what a Facebook alternative should look like is the ability to dis-intermediate the service from me and my use of the data that is collected about me. Facebook has barely supported an export feature, but removing my data from what is essentially a social connection tool to others is not a plan.

    Example:
    I own my cell phone, but I can choose to move myself, my data, (and in most places my phone number) to a different carrier. That means that the separation of the carrier in itself doesn't break my ability to communicate with friends or family through a mobile device. As it stands with social networks, if you're all on the same network, you can talk to one another. If you decide A and my sister decides B then there's no communication flow, and the ability to interact comes to an end.

    The ability to make an alternative Facebook is important in the ability to further control what I do with my own data, the ability to use my entered data outside of some company's pervue, and to have a service that I can easily add, interact with people and not feel like I'm tied to something I don't like. Facebook is a closed ecosystem. They consume content and lock it up from prying eyes. If Diaspora has or will have support for open inter-operating service offerings then great, otherwise they're just building another Facebook wanna be to take over the world. Who cares if Diaspora's code is Open Source if my interaction with the system and my data is shackled behind a single company's vision of how social networking should work?

  • I would join in a heartbeat if i feel i can trust Diaspora. Facebook on the other hand, no way in hell ill put my data up for theirs to sell to anyone.

    I hate Facebook with a passion and i know a whole lot more people who does. The only reason some of them are there is "because everyone else is". Give them an alternative and theyll jump ship without looking back.

  • If there was a 'port facebook' to diaspora function then it might happen.

    I dont really know why facebook took off in the first place as there were others around at the time. A mate was on faceparty all the time and I wasnt bothered at the time.

    Now I mainly use it to keep up with people abroad and family and people I dont get to see. Hence the critical mass thing.

    I always think never say never as yahoo disappeared as a search engine virtually overnight in my mind. I dont even know why I switched to google.

  • i feel like it. if it doesnt become big, im sure hundreds of thousands of geeks will make it big, just like they made firefox.

    facebook was starting to feel creepy anyway.
  • I haven't seen any organization start off with the *intent* of usurping a website, a piece of software or a piece of hardware from an established niche and succeed, by intent.

    Users tend to gather around a watering hole and stay there, despite better alternatives existing.

    The Diaspora team would be smart to recognize this problem as being at least as large of a task as making their software. The wealthy uber geeks who donated large amounts of money to Diaspora would be wise to use their resources to get D

  • The average Facebook users isn't interested in technology and the average Facebook user is the type of person to shut down listening at the smallest hint of jargon-speak coming. IT people often lose the ability to see how very little people know.

    The average Facebook user isn't going to understand the many seed concept, let alone being willing to figure it out and set it up. I hope they make it brain dead, push just 3 buttons easy.

    The average Facebook user isn't going to understand or be enthusiastic a

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