Open-source Facebook rival, Diaspora, goes live
An open-source rival to Facebook has opened its site to the public for the first time.
Diaspora is currently operating on an invite-only basis, with interested users being encouraged to join the mailing list for an invite. The site says it will add more people to the service every week.
Diaspora doesn’t expose your information to advertisers, or to games you play, or to other websites you visit
Diaspora is attempting to put clear blue water between itself and Facebook by emphasising its privacy protection. “Diaspora doesn’t expose your information to advertisers, or to games you play, or to other websites you visit,” the site claims, in a none-too-subtle reference to Facebook. “It’s inherently private – you tell Diaspora who gets to see those pictures of your kids, and only those people will see them. Period.”
Unlike Facebook, the open-source network also allows users to run their own Diaspora server, giving them full control over their data.
However, Diaspora is not without its problems. In September, a release of the site’s pre-alpha code was criticised for containing multiple security bugs, including vulnerabilities to cross-site scripting attacks and HTML injection in comments.
The site’s developers claims they’ve learnt from their mistakes. “When we released our initial code, we got some great feedback on better ways to do [Ruby on] Rails security,” the developers claim in a message announcing the launch of the private alpha. “Luckily, it was easy for us to take this feedback and quickly secure the application. We look forward to more such feedback with this release.”
In a rather spiky snub to Internet Explorer, Diaspora’s login page claims the service “only supports modern browsers”, with logos for Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera appearing underneath.