Diaspora Comes Out Of The Wilderness

Hello everyone,

Over on my WFTL-LUG mailing list, Patrick Elliott-Brennan let me (and others) know that there was an update on Diaspora. It came from Mashable.com.

http://mashable.com/2010/08/26/facebook-alternative-diaspora-launches-september-15/

It's good to hear that things are on track for the community to see something by mid-September, and despite my earlier blog asking where Diaspora had disappeared to, my concerns still apply. Something wonderful will have to appear in 2.5 weeks for the excitement to continue. Being silent for so long hasn't helped keep Diaspora in the public's mind. And Facebook's security and privacy issue, while still in existence, don't appear quite as bad as they did a few months ago when Diaspora collected $200,000 in 30 days from the public. Facebook has addressed some of the worst violations, and while it's not enough to really fix things, it has been enough to win back some detractors. Notice that some of the highly publicized departures from Facebook (e.g. Leo Laporte) have quietly reactivated their accounts and returned to the Facebook fold.

What still irks me, as it did then, is that there are at least a half dozen realistic and viable Facebook alternative projects already in the FOSS world. If the money had been directed toward Elgg, for instance (http://elgg.org) we might really have something given that Elgg pretty much does it all, via Facebook. And it's Free Software. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that there are countless alternatives in the FOSS world, but when we attacking a problem of Facebook's gigantic stature, and trying to do it quickly, starting from scratch seems kind of silly when there is more than one excellent project to work with or from.

For the record, and in no particular order, here are some interesting, existing alternatives to Facebook. Some are ready now and some not quite there.

   Elgg : elgg.org
   Pligg : pligg.com
   OneSocialWeb : onesocialweb.org (though not yet ready to go, it's interesting in that it looks to be the glue that joins other social networks)
   Appleseed Project : appleseedproject.org (the concept is also that of a distributed network)

Of the above, my money would have been on Elgg though Appleseed and OneSocialWeb are more in tune with what Diaspora proposes. Appleseed is, however, a more highly developed platform than OneSocialWeb, if only because there's something to see, download, install, and run. Don't forget that there's also Drupal (http://drupal.org) and Joomla (http://joomla.org), two excellent, open, content management systems that have modules and extenstions a plenty, making it possible to roll any kind of social network you can imagine.

Nice to hear that Diaspora haven't just vanished into thin air, but they are going to have to do some serious impressing to woo anybody from Facebook.

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