Waiting for Diaspora

Remember how Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook by allegedly ripping off some code from a Harvard classmate? (I have to say “allegedly” because the lawsuit was eventually settled by Facebook for $65 million, and there was no finding of guilt.)

Well, now four hip programmers, students at New York University, are working on Diaspora. They’re not going to rip anything off, because they’re going to create open source software. BBC reports: “Maxwell Salzberg, Daniel Grippi, Raphael Sofaer and Ilya Zhitomirskiy are the brains behind Diaspora which they describe as ‘the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network’.” They have raised $25,000 for a summer coding sprint to make the first iteration of Diaspora public.

Boy do I hope they succeed. Facebook sucks. The platform is “disorganized and buggy,” Facebook clearly has no concerns for your personal privacy, and it’s a closed system that reminds me of the bad old days of LiveJournal.

5 thoughts on “Waiting for Diaspora

  1. Jean

    Saying Facebook “sucks” is like saying a cellphone sucks because it won’t do your taxes, change the oil in your car, or cuddle up to you during thunderstorms.

    Facebook is a toy. That’s it. You stay in touch with people, have some chitchat, play some games. It’s useful for that. Expecting more from it is useless.

  2. Dan

    Jean: Sure it’s a toy, but Facebook is like a toy that is coated with poisonous lead paint with bits coming off it that young children can choke on. The buggy and disorganized software platform means that Facebook can do things like unintentionally reveal people’s private chats. The Facebook corporation’s lack of concern around privacy issues means that, without your consent, when you play games they now make public bits of information that you had thought were private.

    I’m not making a judgment about the kinds of activities you mention — chitchat, games, etc., are indeed fun and worthwhile. Facebook sucks not because it is social networking software, it sucks because it is badly designed and badly managed social networking software.

  3. Jean

    One golden rule of internet and computer use: never assume ANYTHING you put out there is private. Not your “private” chats, not your checking account number, not your credit cards, not the things you may have on your own hard drive that somehow, someone, somewhere might find.

    Follow that rule? Every toy is safe. Even Facebook.

  4. Dan

    Jean: OK, but it’s still badly designed and badly implemented; it still uses waht tech observers agree is badly designed code. It’s no better than MySpace, which is a nasty thing to say, but true. My really tech-savvy friends use Orkut, which didn’t get popular with U.S. users, but which appears to be better implemented.

    Even though you happen to like it and are willing to live with its problems, Facebook still sucks. If you doubt me, read this BBC article:

  5. Jean

    Oh, Dan. I just use Facebook to connect with students. We treat it as a toy. Sure, it’s flawed. So what. The damn thing is free. For now. And I have a very hard time criticizing a freebie. You get what you pay for…

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