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Beyond Diaspora: Another Facebook alternative has a head start  (View post)

Andrew [PersonRank 0]

Monday, September 27, 2010
6 years ago20,881 views

If we're reading this blog, we probably know about facebook. And Diaspora. And the problems both face. Some of us probably understand the history of email as well. The title aludes to a Diaspora alternative. Get to the point, stop the background.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Terribly sorry Andrew. Many people who know about Facebook and Diaspora and even their problems probably also know how to skim, but people who do not know about them can't magically understand from hearing about another alternative, so this was written with those in mind [=

Here;s another link on Facbook not "harmonizing well with the internet":
na.isobar.com/2010/facebook-we ...

ArS [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

StatusNet is not a Facebook alternative. It is a Twitter alternative. Microblogging platforms provide a significantly different service than Facebook, and the two shouldn't be considered to be analogous.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

If you read just a little further...

<<StatusNet alone may be a suitable replacement for Twitter, but by itself it doesn’t provide the same functionality as Facebook.

This is where GNU Social comes in.>>

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

Why can't we have a FREE and open source version of facebook (ie a BSD or MIT license).
I seriously hope that Diaspora wins over GNU social.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

<<Why can't we have a FREE and open source version of facebook (ie a BSD or MIT license).>>

GNU Social and Diaspora are both free software (aka open source), but GNU Social is already working and Diaspora is so broken it is likely crippled as a project.

<<I seriously hope that Diaspora wins over GNU social.>>

Why? You're pinning the free alternatives against each other? I hope they both succeed. No matter what, i hope that one can overtake Facebook, but Diaspora hasn't shown itself to be competant, sadly. (see footnotes)

ArS [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

I see the last two paragraphs of the pointlessly long article reference a project called GNU Social. It seems as if you blend the project in with StatusNet to make it seem as if it's one singular product (which is what led me to jump to the erroneous conclusion). GNU social has not directly received any funding, nor has it been incorporated into a Fortune 500 company.

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

GNUSocal is GPLed which means its non-free (its still open source though)

And yes – I'm hoping that the free and open source project wins over the the only open-source project.

If they can work together that would be best because then the competition would help drive innovation.
What I do want to see is that GNUSocial wins and then there is little chance of getting a free implementation available.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

The projects are independent, but the code is not.

youknowwho [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

"Why can't we have a FREE and open source version of facebook (ie a BSD or MIT license)."
   Why would you want something less than libre/free?
"I seriously hope that Diaspora wins over GNU social."
I prefer GNU Social over Diaspora, but I wish them both success.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

<<GNUSocal is GPLed which means its non-free (its still open source though)>>

GPL is free. It is the preferred license of the Free Software Foundation (the organization that the founder of the free software movement, Richard Stallman, started). Usually people make the false claim that it is free, but not open source. It is both, and adheres to both the open source definition and the free software definition.

<<If they can work together that would be best because then the competition would help drive innovation.>>

As the article states, they will both be compatible with each other through OStatus.

<<What I do want to see is that GNUSocial wins and then there is little chance of getting a free implementation available.>>

I'm guessing this is based off of the first miscunderstanding...

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

Why would you want something less than libre/free?

I want something libre/free – hence wanting a BSD or MIT licensed codebase

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

GPL is free. It is the preferred license of the Free Software Foundation (the organization that the founder of the free software movement, Richard Stallman, started). Usually people make the false claim that it is free, but not open source. It is both, and adheres to both the open source definition and the free software definition.

"A mushroom is a pizza because I say so"
Who cares what the Free Software Foundation says?
The GPL license is less free than the BSD license because it has more restrictions on what a developer could do with the code

Usually people make the false claim that because it is open source and because you can modify the source it free. Even more people make the false claim that because Richard Stallman and his organization say the GPL is free that the GPL becomes free.

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

one more note:
Freedom is not binary. It is a scale.
For example being a slave is less free than being a paid worked is less free then being your own boss.
Same thing goes in the OSS world.
Proprietary is less free than shared source (viewable but not modifiable) is less free than the GPL license is less free than the BSD license is less free than Public domain (which you can't actually put anything into)

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Free software has a definition. It is to protect the freedoms of the user. The restrictions of copyleft licenses are to protect people form exploiting a free work and making it non-free. This is about user freedom, that's what the free software movement has been about, no real dispute there. It might not be what you want it to be about, but you can't just take something with a meaning and change it how you like...

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

you can't just take something with a meaning and change it how you like...

Free: grant freedom to; free from confinement
Software: (computer science) written programs or procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in read/write memory;

Thus free software is written programs or procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in read/write memory that is free from confinement.

The GPL has section 5c
"""c) ....This License gives no permission to license the work in any other way, but it does not invalidate such permission if you have separately received it.""""

which is a confinement (a better word might be restriction but I'm trying to stay within the definition).

Thus the GPL is not Free Software.

Your mistake is thinking that this is only about user freedom.

Software is most free when people can use, modify, and distribute it without restriction.

The restrictions on distribution do not protect the user from exploitation. The original project and license is still around if the user wants the source.

All the license does it discourage and/or legally prevent people from making modifications to the software not distributing them. That is it. The user is never exploited in that scenario. S/he does not have to use the new software in any way.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Free software free's the user from confinement. I contend the notability of your argument. Wikipedia defines free software as it has been defined since the term was first coined. Open source is a movement which is not about user freedom, which you are identifying with, but trying to swap the terms for. Please send me a link from a reputable organization that backs your definition of free software.

vfloz [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

There's something in Opera everybody is forgetting: Unite!
Unite is to me the most achieved Facebook alternative for many reasons:
-Distributed
-Open (HTML widgets, embedded web Server)
-Rich (media player, photo wall, fridge, IM)
-Secure (access restrictions, passwords...)

What Unite lacks is a great welcome page and feed view!
As this is a client, we could start working on such federative platform, everything is ready to do this!

So let's start writing a great HTML app for Unite, which federates Photos, Feeds, RSS, videos and a more comprehensive and intuitive UI!

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

My point is that the "Free software movement" is a misnomer and they are actually the "open source software" movement.

I know of no organization that attempts to defend Free Software that does not attempt to re-write the definition of "free" in a form of political doublethink.

Mostly – I don't give a damn about movements. I generally prefer to use the best software and I don't care if it is free or not. However when there are otherwise equal projects I will generally choose to use the most free one.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Opera is not free software, and i don't see how Unite is social like Facebook. May i see your Unite profile please?

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

I almost read that post as spam for Opera ;-)

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

>My point is that the "Free software movement" is a misnomer and they are actually the "open source software" movement.

Please read up on the history of both of those movements before taking this debate any further.

As for your original sentiment that you'd prefer Diaspora over GNU Social, they both use the same license: AGPL v3.

Christiaan [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

Here's my prediction. GNU social will be difficult to install and use. It will be the preserve of geeks. There won't be a hosted version or marketing along those lines. And people won't like the name.

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

Re the history – I've read a significant amount of literature on the movement. Please advise me as to what I'm missing instead of using ad hominem arguments.

It is silly to think that a license that certain types of uses is more free than one that allows them. Keep in mind that it is perfectly acceptable to fork a BSD licensed project AND distribute source. The GPL model works perfectly with it.

However the BSD license has one advantage that the GPL does not have: companies don't HAVE to release the source. That way a company, like apple, could use a projects source code, like FreeBSD (my OS of choice), and make an awesome OS out of it: the mac . Not only that but then this company could contribute paid developers to help work on the OS.

Re the preference – I was misinformed: I thought Diaspora was MIT licensed. I take back that statement and wish them both equal amounts of luck

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

<<GNU social will be difficult to install and use. It will be the preserve of geeks.>>

Generally, that's how network services work. They run on someone's server and the general public signs up on there.

<<There won't be a hosted version or marketing along those lines.>>

As stated, there are already instances of StatusNet up and running, and when GNU social get's stable, they will be running it as well.

<<And people won't like the name.>>

GNU social is the name of the project. You can host a service using it and call it Christaanville if you like.

Summer Glau [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

[put at-character here]ug For the history they were pointing out that stallman *started* the free software movement itself. I'm having a bit of trouble thinking that the license designed by the man who started the fs movement is somehow nonfree. I also suggest you look up embedded devices(A place where GPL'd software is used commercially quite often), and Redhat for your claims about bsd's strength is that it's used in commercial settings. Also take a look at freedoms vs powers. The "freedom" to kill someone is hardly the kind of freedom you want to pass around to everyone. For the purposes of free software(As in wants all software to be free) considers the ability to make a proprietary program a power which shouldn't be available.

vfloz [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

[put at-character here]DrPic

My meaning was Opera Unite is a nice set of services that could be used to develop a new social network because many functionalities are here, out of the box

The bad point with Unite is that no widget is good enough to aggregate and federate the functionalities.
Thanks to the embedded web server, this could be possible!

David Sterry [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

For me software freedom is being able to choose and customize the software you use wherever it may be running. That means being able to run your own instance and modify it but I also prefer AGPL because I wouldn't want my work to be used to subjugate someone else(which is possible with some free software licenses).

I would also like to see all of these projects do more to ensure users have the freedom to move their accounts off to another system with a minimum of pain and inconvenience....I call that the freedom to migrate.

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

I know that Richard Stallman started a movement which and created a license which he called "Free" (and thus misused the term and caused the debate we are having now).
Thus he started a movement which became known as the "Free Software Movement" (I'm unsure if he used the term movement or it was eventually called that)

I know that embedded devices use GPL software a lot. But take a look at TiVO and Linksys. The former got hit hard by the GPL and now won't touch (and therefore possibly help) GPLv3 projects. The latter got hit as well and now doesn't use GPLed software. They may not have contributed projects before that – but now they have a strong reason not to.

It is correct that the freedom to kill to not a freedom which you want passed around. It is for this reason that I'm not a fan of "freedom" movements.

The freedom I talk about with software is one of definition – not of moral goodness or badness. Software which allows more uses and modifications is more free than software which does not.

Again – please note that freedom is not binary as I mentioned above.

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

"""because I wouldn't want my work to be used to subjugate someone else(which is possible with some free software licenses)."""

How would it be subjugating the user when they choose to use the less free software of their own free will?
If they wanted to they could use your software just as easily with a BSD license.

David Sterry [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

>> Software which allows more uses and modifications is more free than software which does not.

Perhaps it's useful to remember that this is not a question strictly of software. In using free software, we are interested in advancing a version of society where people cooperate and do not attempt to gain power over each other. We live increasingly online and through software and if you are using a program for which you cannot make the changes you need, your life is unnecessarily limited and to some extent controlled by the developer or the system administrator(in the case of network services).

You are right that it's a continuum but my personal hope is that we always strive for self-reliance, self-determination and not lose our ideals of freedom for a few features here and there.

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

""""I would also like to see all of these projects do more to ensure users have the freedom to move their accounts off to another system with a minimum of pain and inconvenience....I call that the freedom to migrate.""""
ditto

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

[put at-character here]David Perry
"""are interested in advancing a version of society where people cooperate and do not attempt to gain power over each other."""
forgive if this is not what you mean but I think your talking about some form of light socialism.

Competition (and the drive for money) encourages innovation. Look at software patents: by stifling competition you reduce innovation in the market place.
The same thing occurs with the GPL: you are reducing the ability of a company to make money from the project (not that it is impossible, but it reduces the possibilities. The redhat way of selling support is still doable with a BSD license)

""You are right that it's a continuum but my personal hope is that we always strive for self-reliance, self-determination and not lose our ideals of freedom for a few features here and there."""
Which is why I don't use a mac (along with the fact that I don't have the cash for it ;-))

""if you are using a program for which you cannot make the changes you need, ""
I will make two arguments here
1) Given good defaults most users don't need to make source level changes.
2) You can easily choose to get the source code and host it yourself. The user of a project based on BSD licensed code that does not distribute the code is doing so willingly. Heck – the user of any project is doing so willingly

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

This is not the place for a licensing debate.

David Sterry [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

>> If they wanted to they could use your software just as easily with a BSD license.

My concern with non-copyleft licenses is that my work as a developer may be used in the future to subjugate the user. For example, it could be packaged in non-free software. By improving proprietary software and devices, my choosing a non-copyleft license would be to work against my long-term goal of having people use exclusively software and devices that respect user freedom.

ug [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

[put at-character here]DPic
Yet you engaged in it for a few posts

[put at-character here]David Sterry
So you have an agenda beyond that of "free software". Its an agenda I find laudable – but not solely based around the concept of "free software"

[put at-character here] everyone:
I can't continue this debate now and I know I will forget to come back tomorrow to the comments (I usually use the RSS feed). Anyways – I think our positions are clear and I don't think that further debate would change much.

David Sterry [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

>> This is not the place for a licensing debate.

DPic Thanks for highlighting Diaspora and GNU Social but I think if you are going to mention them, it's important to note that they exist as hopeful solutions to the social problem of non-free software and network services.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

<<I think if you are going to mention them, it's important to note that they exist as hopeful solutions to the social problem of non-free software and network services.>>

I tried to do this in a very newbie-friendly way. As for non-newbies, we can easily see that they are. Perhaps a thorough follow-up would do some good? To explain StatusNet and GNU Social a bit more, free network services, free users data, etc

Daeng Bo [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

I would like to mention that Status.Net has OStatus and a recent Acid test for it, called SWAT0. The federated social network software I am putting my interest in (One Social Web – onesocialweb.org) is attempting to write to OStatus, as well. Unlike many of the other projects, they have a working and secure federated server based on XMPP *right now* and are in active development.

BTW, don't feed the trolls.

Mike Macgirvin [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

Just for reference, there is a free BSD licensed open source alternative to Diaspora. It's called Mistpark. It's much more secure and capable than Diaspora at this point, and it runs on commodity hosting – e.g. PHP/MySQL.

It doesn't yet play with OStatus because nobody has yet decided how to make OStatus work for private conversations – and there are also no basic definitions and expectations of content policy (e.g. redistribution of confidential material) once something enters that network.

When they do, these networks (Diaspora, Status.net, GNU social, yadda yadda) will be supported in Mistpark as well. We're just waiting for them to figure out how to secure their own networks so that attaching to them doesn't cause gaping holes in ours.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

[put at-character here]Daeng Bo,

Ah, i didn't know One Social Web was implementing OStatus, great to hear! And thanks for mentioning the SWAT0 test.

I believe it might've made more sense to simply give a rundown of facebook alternatives instead of trying to lump it together with newbie-intro information]= Oh well

<<BTW, don't feed the trolls.>>

Dammit, it's so hard not to!

manu [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

- gnu-social is much easier to install than diaspora, more practical (as easy as installing a wordpress or one of those php/mysql things). I'm currently trying it out and we will see. as the author mentions clearly, it's base on statusnet, hence the resemblance, but will go further (private message/photo/chat and so on).

- if it can talk to diaspora, that would be great. the whole thing (for me at least) is to have a "spec/rfc/protocol" so that anyone can develop or maintain their own server, just like with email. you can use whatever server/client software to communicate with others using totally different programs.

- as for the GPL vs. BSD thing, my IMHO is: BSD seems very nice, but I am not ready for that, I mean, I want to share but I don't want people to "steal" work, I want them to use it, distribute it etc, but not close it up. Ensuring the freedom of the code requires rules. If linksys or any other company flees the GPL because they are not allowed to steal it and close source their forks then that is their choice. Free Software does not need them because by doing that they do not contribute in any way shape or form.

Free Software is not just about ensuring freedom of the users (even if that is the main part), it's also making sure the code stays free. When the day comes where there is no closed source licensed software out there anymore I will rethink about the BSD license.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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