Open-source Facebook rival arrives next month
Social networking fans tired of the walled-garden approach of Facebook will have a new option as of next month.
Open-source Diaspora said it will release the first version of its system on 15 September. “We have Diaspora working, we like it, and it will be open-sourced on September 15th,” the four founders wrote on the Diaspora blog.
Diaspora first made waves earlier this year, when just the idea of it raised $200,000 via donations on fundraising site Kickstarter. Diaspora offers free web server software that allows users to host and control their own bits of the social network, with profiles called “seeds”.
It’s an intuitive way for users to decide, and not notice deciding, what content goes to their coworkers and what goes to their drinking buddies
The developers said they’ve spent the summer trying to figure out how best to share content based on context without hurting privacy – a frequent complaint against Facebook.
“That means an intuitive way for users to decide, and not notice deciding, what content goes to their co-workers and what goes to their drinking buddies,” the post said. “We know that’s a hard UI problem and we take it seriously.”
The focus on that problem has forced Diaspora to push back other features, including plugins and APIs. “Our original goals remain the same, and these features are still in our timeline.”
The open-source, open-platform system may appeal to those unhappy with their photos, updates and other data being locked away by web giants, but the host-it-yourself idea could be a challenge for the less tech savvy.
Diaspora has previously said it is working on its own free hosting service similar to Wordpress.com, so those without tech skills can set up an account in just a few clicks.
While the $200,000 in funds from 6,479 donors shows a solid support base, Diaspora has much work to do to unseat Facebook, with its half a billion users. However, one of the open-source system’s original funders was none other than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has reportedly called Diaspora a “cool idea”.