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Diaspora On Schedule, One Month In 90

schlick writes with word that the Diaspora project (last mentioned here several weeks back) has an update with a demo and some screen shots. Diaspora's goal: to provide social networking without the privacy invasion possibilities inherent in sites like Facebook.
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Diaspora On Schedule, One Month In

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  • I don't understand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deathtopaulw ( 1032050 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:09PM (#32782926) Homepage
    How can you have a website where you broadcast your most intimate thoughts and personality traits to hundreds of people willingly at the same time and still retain privacy? Or are they just vowing to not sell our info to advertisers? This would be stupid if they wanted the website to last more than a few seconds without a subscription service.
    • by alangerow ( 610060 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:19PM (#32782986)
      Because the system will be decentralized. You can control your own seed, meaning your own data, and who it gets shared with. They aren't making a Facebook clone. Actually, there will be Facebook interaction, so you can host your own profile and connect with Facebook users ... it's listed in their timeline if you actually read their update.
      • by sznupi ( 719324 )

        How do you control what other people, "who it gets shared with", do with your own data?

        • by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @01:13AM (#32783440) Journal
          The same way you control what people do with data you put anywhere else on the internet: you don't. The point is you get to pick who does get to see your data, unlike on Facebook where you unwittingly share all your data whenever you play a game, or visit a partner website, or they change their policies and make previously private data public. If you could have 100% complete control it would be called anti-social networking, I suppose.

          The big deal isn't that your data is magically safe, but that all sharing of that data is entirely on your terms.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            And if you have the kinda of 'friends' that you can't trust to not re-share your data, then don't share with them in the first place.

            Personally, I'll be implementing a 3 strikes policy - if a friend re-shares any of my personal data (not general public webstuff) 3 times, they will be blocked.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Comment removed based on user account deletion
    • by SilverHatHacker ( 1381259 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:22PM (#32783000)
      It's GPG encrypted, for one thing. Also, the info-sharing settings actually work, and don't get changed by default every couple months. As far as funding goes, so far the plan is to offer a paid hosting service, or let you run your own server.
    • Haven't thought this through, but P2P with multiple handle trackers (like Pirate Bay for torrents) combined with PGP auth/encryption seems a good strategy for such a project.
    • I would pay a subscription for that.
    • by Shihar ( 153932 )

      Is it really so hard to envision? On one side of the scale you have email. On the other side you have Twitter. Make a social networking site more like email in terms off privacy. Sure, emails can still get out but they require a beach of trust from a friend, and even then they are unlikely to get into the hands of someone damning like your boss.

      People don't want privacy in the strictest sense of the word on a social networking site. They want control, and they want to trust that they can keep control easily

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LaRainette ( 1739938 )
      The idea is to broadcast the part of your life you agree to, and not the rest.
  • What about elgg? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It has been around for a while.

  • It looks good. (Score:2, Informative)

    I don't have the networking expertise to comment on scaling or load issues, but at least this looks usable and practical enough that people would actually use it. I also like the whole host-it-wherever-you-like angle; when I first heard about this I was worried it would be like an insecure version of freenet, with content being hosted in a constant cache/request loop betwen users.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Re: "practical enough that people would actually use it" -- define "people". The fact that you compared Diaspora to Freenet almost says enough about which people will go to the trouble of using it. For better or worse, most people do not care enough about privacy to use Freenet or Diaspora. Folks are pissed off at Facebook, yes, but not because Facebook is overly centralized, rather because Facebook has made dumb decisions re: what to do with all that centralized data. Theoretically, something like Dias

  • Meanwhile... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dominion ( 3153 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:12PM (#32782938) Homepage

    Work on Appleseed has also been progressing rapidly. In the past month, we've added internationalization, theming, and an MVC+plugin framework. You can see our revised roadmap in the svn: []

    Here's my public Appleseed profile using an early version of the new theme: []

    Remote logins, remote friends connections, remote messaging, journals, photos, discussion groups, sophisticated node control, ACL and privacy controls and more are all working, and will be refined in the coming releases, along with all new features like one-click server upgrades, search, micro-blogging, and more.

    Michael Chisari
    Appleseed - []

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's a shame your project doesn't get more attention.

      The Diaspora guys' only real talent seems to be marketing that allowed them to raise a boatload of cash on vaporware hype and a catchy name.

      p.s. I hope you change the name. Diaspora is a LOT cooler name than Appleseed, so they don't have to be better to get your marketshare.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by zeroduck ( 691015 )

        The Diaspora guys' only real talent seems to be marketing that allowed them to raise a boatload of cash on vaporware hype and a catchy name.

        I think it's a little early to make that judgement. How fast are you expecting this to be developed?

        Both names don't make a lot of sense to me. If I hadn't heard of either, I would have no clue what it is or what it does. Facebook is pretty damn clear. mySpace is pretty clear. Friendster is clear. Hopefully, for Diaspora, a few good hubs will emerge with better

        • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dominion ( 3153 ) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @02:18AM (#32783648) Homepage

          How fast are you expecting this to be developed?

          My expectation, have been there and back again, is around 12 months of full time work for four people. This is until something is stable and usable, not what can be considered a "Facebook Killer". To be feature complete with where Facebook is *right now* will take much longer. This is, of course, assuming that their project has a solid blueprint and plan, which won't require any major rewrites or result in any major fundamental design flaws (like being spammer friendly, for instance).

          Appleseed is looking at around 9 months to a year to be (basically) feature complete with Facebook, but we have the advantage of a six year head start on Diaspora. A project like this is a massive undertaking, anyone who's released code can tell you that. It's unfortunate that supporters have gotten the idea that the product that will be out in September will be anything but Alpha quality. The interesting thing is to see how Diaspora deals with it's prospective users getting antsy.

          Both names don't make a lot of sense to me.

          The names of the project don't have to make sense to anyone except for people running servers, really. Can you tell me, off hand, what a Joomla or a Drupal is? Users of distributed social networking hubs only have to know that and are compatible with the broader open social network.

          Michael Chisari
          The Appleseed Project - []

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by priegog ( 1291820 )

        From what I gather from the Appleseed site, they are different things (with some overlap), so I don't know why they'd need to "compete" with eachother.
        In an ideal world, social networking would be what the diaspora guys are trying to do. In the real world (where not everyones cares or even wants to care about running some piece of software), I think Appleseed has a concept that would be much easier to take over facebook et-al.
        They're both great concepts, and in the end I believe there's a place for both. Sp

        • Oh, and naturally, by also making the file formats interoperable so as to make migrating from one system to the other painless.

        • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:4, Informative)

          by dominion ( 3153 ) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @08:56AM (#32785072) Homepage

          Michael, maybe you could try and get in contact with the diaspora guys (since they're just starting to code and all) so that you can make sure this future is possible (making much more likely for this idea of "open social network" to happen)

          There's a summit coming up where all the open source projects focusing on distributed social networking will be getting together to discuss that. Appleseed and Diaspora will be there (along with a bunch more). Should be very interesting!

          Michael Chisari
          The Appleseed Project - []

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Try and add video flash chat too eg stickam, tinychat like.
      No need for an external app thats OS dependant then :)
    • Support this project, I did: []

      Appleseed is a lot more near completion than Diaspora is. They are already working for 6 years on it, and currently have a working prototype running on test servers.

      Diaspora is now saying how their demo is "pretty fast" with message passing. They do show 6 connected servers in the video, but there is only one active user. And they never talk about scaling up (to thousands/millions of users). Scalability should be a factor considered

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:16PM (#32782966) Homepage Journal

    The wiki article describes Diaspora as an open source personal web server, but for a lot of people their home machine, if they have one, is about the most insecure place to put things. For a lot of other people they have a work machine they never install stuff on, and an iphone, on which the userland belongs to Steve Jobs.

    I have a personal web server. It serves http and rss. But I am not normal and I can't see myself installing this thing.

    • by Rotworm ( 649729 ) * on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:34PM (#32783046) Homepage Journal
      I've always imagined it would roll out in a manner similar to Wordpress. You can host your own by installing from either source or package (if offered by your distribution). Or you can sign-up for an account at their hosted service. IANAC (I am not a cryptographer) but I guess the hosted service is still secure due to the GPG implementation.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:36PM (#32783056)

      I've spoken to the devs, there will be hubs. Think vs wordpress. You can host it yourself, or at one of many locations. So they cater to both audiences, and you can always move your stuff off the hub onto your own box, or a server you have, whenever. Contrast with Facebook :)

      • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @12:56AM (#32783368)

        Contrast with Facebook :)


        1) Can I farm till 3am?
        2) What about all them chickens that need feeding?
        3) Treasure on Treasure Island does NOT find itself
        4) Will I be able to fight and rob other people into submission while building a mafia empire?
        5) Can I farm till 3am?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by darrylo ( 97569 )

          Contrast with Facebook :)


          1) Can I farm till 3am?

          People may think this is funny, but there's a metric *ssload of truth there.

          While Diaspora may still be successful, Diaspora and all of the other social networking wannabe's will never, ever, be as successful as facebook if they don't have the equivalent mindcrack. IMO, a huge part of fb's success is not due to plain "social networking", but to the totally inane mindcrack games that sucks on peoples' souls: like farmville, castle age, mafia wars, etc., etc..

          Note to Diaspora, Google Me, and all other so

        • by siddesu ( 698447 )

          1) Can I farm till 3am?

          Yep, you're welcome to come to my small ranch any day of the week. Pigs, goats, vegetables, grapes, various fruits, tasty cheese - and you only farm from dawn to dusk, after dark we have a party by the fire, and, if it is clear, some abuse of my telescopes. You coming?

      • I am curious about this myself. Does this mean if you host it yourself, that you have to keep you home machine on all the time? If you home machine is a laptop, does that mean your site is offline every time you are carrying it around or are away from an internet connection? Hosting a server on your machine by necessity opens your machine to more security issues (as we know). Also, if you choose to put your site/profile on a hub/remote server, who pays for the remote server. It costs money to connect to the
    • Comment removed (Score:4, Insightful)

      by account_deleted ( 4530225 ) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @12:50AM (#32783344)
      Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • good luck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pat sajak ( 1368465 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:49PM (#32783110)
    i wish them the best (and will sign up when i can) but i can't help but think this will fail hard. the vast majority of facebook users are not concerned with privacy, rather they actively seek to do away with it. they want to make sure each of their 700 friends knows every inconsequential detail of their daily lives; facebook provides them with the platform to do this, diaspora likely will not. diaspora may find a niche but i can't see it taking a significant dent out of facebook's market share.
    • Re:good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @12:11AM (#32783190) Homepage

      the vast majority of facebook users are not concerned with privacy

      This is a point that seems lost on most Slashdotters: Most of the people that use Facebook are quite happy with its "privacy" rules. They willingly supply personal information, and have the expectation that it will be spread about. Thus, Facebook is mostly a problem for those that don't use it.

      • Comment removed based on user account deletion
      • by Znork ( 31774 )

        They willingly supply personal information, and have the expectation that it will be spread about.

        They willingly supply inane shallow one liners, as that's the only thing they trust facebook with. The level of 'social networking' that I see there, at least, is about what you overhear if you sit down in the middle of a bus.

        Most people are quite happy with the privacy expectations of a public space; you don't have any. On the other hand, that rather severely limits its utility as a communication medium.


        • Get off your high fucking horse. If you don't like FB, don't use it. The fact that you are bleating about it here means you spend most of your time in your mom's basement masturbating to porn. Now go back to your stroking.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mdmkolbe ( 944892 )

        Facebook is mostly a problem for those that don't use it.

        Which is fine until clubs and organizations decide to organize via Facebook. Then you have to join if you want to stay involved. This is a trend that I've already started to notice.

    • by Rotworm ( 649729 ) *
      This has not been my experience. Neither do I think privacy is, for the most part, predilected to a technical background as one of your commenters noted. My network of friends is small (164), but my degree was English and all of my friends are non-technical. I'd say most, though not all, are concerned with privacy.
      In fact, I think they are too concerned with privacy. They have that beaten over the head zealousness when it comes to issues of privacy —I mean, they automatically think it's important
  • by reiisi ( 1211052 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:53PM (#32783130) Homepage

    The house phone will become a server, it will run asterisk, and it will host the family/indvidual website and bulletin board.

    Diaspora appears to be the bulletin board part.

    Phone companies really don't get it. What they should be developing is a backup system for individual servers, and default configurations for customers who prefer trusting the phone companies over trusting themselves.

    The servers should be left to the community to develop, since the phone companies simly can't understand this kind of decentralization.

    • by coaxial ( 28297 )

      This is the future.

      The house phone will become a server, it will run asterisk, and it will host the family/indvidual website and bulletin board.

      If by "future" you mean "yesterday's future," then yes.

      Home phone? Really? How many people own those things any more? More importantly, what are the trend lines? Why would you buy one, when cell phones are ubiquitous and work equally well inside houses? I single that out because you're describing the fabulous future of 1994.

      While I like decentralization, because it means a greater ability for open standards and survivability, which in turn means better interoperability, and more innovation. What isn't

      • > Home phone? Really? How many people own those things any more?
        > Why would you buy one, when cell phones are ubiquitous and work equally well inside houses?

        Where I live the phone company still forces you to have and pay for a landline when you want a DSL plan. I don't even have the phone plugged in...

      • > More importantly, what are the trend lines?

        Because as we all know, nothing is more important than being trendy.

      • Home phone? Really? How many people own those things any more? More importantly, what are the trend lines? Why would you buy one, when cell phones are ubiquitous and work equally well inside houses?

        You mean a cell phone with a battery that craps out in a day? You mean a cell phone that costs more than $12/month? You mean a cell phone that doesn't work worth a crap in my house? I have to pay for it anyway for my DSL, so why wouldn't I use it?

        I still haven't found a compelling reason to own a cell phone. I have one that is work supplied, and my experience with it is probably the main reason I don't have one.

      • by reiisi ( 1211052 )

        Home server isn't required?

        Cell phone? Great idea, two limitations. One, the airwaves are not infinitely compressible. (Although, if INTEL had not squelched the UWB solution that would have worked, we could have a lot more headroom.)

        Portable phones will be part of the future, sure. But not the chained-to-the-floor portables we have now. Toys are easy to sell, but they drive the price below the floor after the first boom.

        Tools make a real market. Cell phones that depend on the ISP never get beyond being a to

        • by coaxial ( 28297 )

          Home server isn't required?

          From the faq []:

          Q: Where will the data of the users be hosted? On servers you buy/rent?

          A: Short answer: Where ever you like.

          We think most people will use some sort of hosting provider to host their seed. This could be a traditional web host, a cloud based host, an ISP, or a friend.

          For the less technically inclined, we hope to provide a one-click hosting service like to make creating a seed as easy as possible.

          I don't know where your "chained-to-the-floor portables we have now" comment is coming

    • by fat_mike ( 71855 ) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @03:09AM (#32783834)
      Your signature alone tells me about your grasp of things that the majority of people don't care about.

      Asterisk is a joke in the home. The last time I checked I could get phone service for $9.95 a month and buy a cheap analog phone for $15.00. Do you really expect people to pay $830 for a 24 station analog card along with the computer and other crap they'll need to run Asterisk?

      This Diaspora is nothing more than playing catch-up. Remember when you HAD to be on AOL then Craigslists was the poop, then MySpace, then Facebook and now Twitter? Its the idea and correct implementation and marketing that made those successful for the given period of time they were.

      This is another project trying to collect the scraps from the tables of the big boys that will eventually be noted as, "Whatever happened to Diaspora? They haven't updated their logo contest in eight months!"

      • > Remember when you HAD to be on AOL

        Thankfully...No. When others 'had' to be on AOL I was already using the Internet and thought the idea of a closed-up 'walled garden' system rather silly. I still do, but won't go into details so that certain fruit-fans won't go into collective seizures again... :-)

      • 640K is all the memory a user should ever need.

        But, really, why a 24 station analog card? A lot of homes will have no analog phone terminals at all, unless you call a cell phone analog.

        AOL? Nope. Did spend six months on Delphi sometime around '87. Craigslists? If I ever had got a user name, I've never used it. Etc.

        The big boys are trying to ransom every seat at the table. Their greed is going to kill them.

      • by mibus ( 26291 )

        Do you really expect people to pay $830 for a 24 station analog card along with the computer and other crap they'll need to run Asterisk?

        Do you really expect the future of telephony ends with PSTN?

        Asterisk quite happily talks to my home phone handset (which talks DECT on one side and SIP on the other) and my VoIP provider that I already had. I'm running it in the ample spare capacity on my Atom-based home server that I already had (which is my router, MythTV backend, web server, database server, NAS, ...).


    • by selven ( 1556643 )

      Nah, they get it. They also get that decentralization does not serve them. In order to gain power, you need to have a center so you can position yourself as the center (see the caveman days: society was very decentralized, and there was very little social inequality, once we got cities we started to get kings). The phone companies like power, so, much like the RIAA, they want to keep the old ways of doing things going for as long as possible.

  • Bottom row middle - my great, great, great, great grandfather or uncle or something. I've been told there's a family tree in New Mexico or something that shows we're direct descendants of him. The feds lost track of the family, according to the Wikipedia article he didn't have any sons that survived so I'm guessing I'm not a direct descendant since the last name is in tact - or he had a son post office/feds keeping track. Unless there was some cousin marrying or something.

  • It Won't Work... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by greenlead ( 841089 )

    ... because it will never reach the critical mass necessary to unseat Facebook.

    This will never catch on unless there are sites similar to Facebook (hubs) where less-knowledgeable users can sign up. The Facebook population (in my circle, at least) is getting older and many of them tend to learn as little as possible. Advising them to set up a personal web site -- or worse, a server -- especially with security concerns considered, would be a very bad idea.

    A better idea would be standardization of social n

  • The real promise of Diaspora is not Diaspora itself, but the standards and protocols that it could potentially spawn. Think about it: if this thing takes off, plenty of people will install Diaspora servers, but plenty more will also begin joining the Diaspora cloud by building the protocols into existing content management (Wordpress, Slash, etc.) and groupware (Citadel, Kolab, etc.) systems. It could potentially become as huge and decentralized as UseNet, except hopefully with better spam controls.

System checkpoint complete.