New submitter Jalfro writes "Following premature rumors of its demise, the Diaspora core team announce the release of 0.0.1.0. 'It's been a couple of exciting months for us as we've shifted over to a model of community governance. After switching over to SemVer for our versioning system, and plugging away at fixing code through our new unstable branch, we're excited to make our first release beyond the Alpha/Beta labels.'"
Navigate with confidence through the cloud. Sign up for the SlashCloud Update newsletter now.
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes with "a response to some of the objections raised to my last article, about a design for a distributed social networking protocol, which would allow for decentralized (and censorship-resistant) hosting of social networking accounts, while supporting all of the same features as sites like Facebook." Social networking is no longer new; whether you consider it to have started with online communities in the mid-90s or with the beginnings of sites many people still use today. As its popularity has surged, it has grown in limited ways; modern social networks have made communication between users easier, but they've also made users easier to market to advertisers as well. There's no question that the future of social networking holds more changes that can both help and harm users — perhaps something like what Bennett suggests could serve to mitigate that harm. Read on for the rest of his thoughts.
pigrabbitbear writes "Created by four New York University students, Diaspora tried to destroy the notion that one social network could completely dominate the web. Diaspora – 'the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network,' as described on their Kickstarter page – offered what seemed like the perfect antidote to Zuckerbergian tyranny. The New York Times quickly got wind. Tired of being bullied, technologists rallied behind the burgeoning startup spectacle, transforming what began as a fun project into a political movement. Before a single line of code had been written, Diaspora was a sensation. Its anti-establishment rallying cry and garage hacker ethos earned it kudos from across an Internet eager for signs of life among a generation grown addicted to status updates. And yet, the battle may have been lost before it even began. Beyond the difficulty of actually executing a project of this scope and magnitude, the team of four young kids with little real-world programming experience found themselves crushed under the weight of expectation. Even before they had tried to produce an actual product, bloggers, technologists and open-source geeks everywhere were already looking to them to save the world from tyranny and oppression. Not surprisingly, the first release, on September 15, 2010 was a public disaster, mainly for its bugs and security holes. Former fans mockingly dismissed it as 'swiss cheese.'"
Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "The distributed-social-networking Diaspora Project recently announced that their software will be released as open source. I don't know if Diaspora specifically will be the Next Big Thing in social networking, but I hope that social networking moves to a decentralized model within the next few years, where anyone can set up and run a hub to administer profiles for themselves and their friends or clients, and where profiles can interact with each other in a distributed fashion instead of on a centralized system like Facebook." Read on for Bennett's thoughts on how that model could work.
New submitter funtapaz writes "Diaspora: Shattered Armistice, the Battlestar Galactica game based on the FreeSpace 2 Open engine, has launched! This cross-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac) release includes the ability to fly the MK VII Viper, the Raptor (or the new MK VIIe strike variant), multiplayer, a mission editor, an original soundtrack, and full voice acting."
History's Coming To writes "Decentralised social network startup Diaspora* announced on their blog today that they will become a 'community project' with the intention of making it an entirely community-driven, community-run project. Whether this is a sign of the project losing impetus, or whether this will provide the push needed to challenge commercially run social networks, remains to be seen."
A mere year since the Mediagoblin photo/video sharing project was started, the project has hit version 0.3.0. Release highlights include: a rewrite of the database from MongoDB to SQL (via SQLAlchemy, making it much easier to install), audio support (using the HTML5 <audio> tag), a first take on a mobile interface, and smarter video buffering. Not content to sit idle, the developers are starting work on Salmon protocol support to federate with software like Diaspora in the next release.
phaedrus5001 writes "Tech Crunch is reporting that one of the co-founders of Diaspora, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, has passed away. He was only 22. At the moment, the cause of his death is unknown."
CWmike writes "Diaspora, a widely anticipated social network site built on open-source code, has cracked open its doors for business, at least for a handful of invited participants. 'Every week, we'll invite more people,' stated the developers behind the project, in a blog item posted Tuesday announcing the alpha release of the service. 'By taking these baby steps, we'll be able to quickly identify performance problems and iterate on features as quickly as possible.' Such a cautious rollout may be necessary, given how fresh the code is. In September, when the first version of the working code behind the service was posted, it was promptly criticized for being riddled with security errors. While Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg may not be worried about Diaspora quite yet, the service is one of a growing number of efforts to build out open-source-based social-networking software and services."
eldavojohn writes "Facebook is rolling out some new changes (including groups) that are supposed to liberate user control. But something that might interest Slashdot readers even more is that they now allow you to download all your information from Facebook. That's everything — all your posts, pictures, videos, friend lists, etc. A video from David of the Open Source team at Facebook explains how it will work, although I don't see that option on my profile yet (they are slowly rolling it out). There's not a lot of details yet, but they at least require you to click a link from an e-mail and reenter your password to get this (to avoid spambots harvesting everyone's data and careless use of public computers resulting in data leaks). Perhaps competitors like Diaspora would be interested in using this base information to germinate user seeds?"
patio11 writes "Diaspora, the privacy-respecting OSS social network, did a code release last week. Attention immediately focused on security. In fact the code base included several severe security bugs. This post walks through the code, showing what went wrong, and what it would let an attacker do to someone who was using Diaspora." The developer who wrote the post ends with: "You might believe in the powers of OSS to gather experts (or at least folks who have shipped a Rails app, like myself) to Diaspora’s banner and ferret out all the issues. You might also believe in magic code-fixing fairies. Personally, I’d be praying for the fairies because if Diaspora is dependent on the OSS community their users are screwed."
Stoobalou writes with this excerpt from Thinq.co.uk: "Following the release of the source code for the Diaspora social networking platform, hackers and tinkerers the world over have been poring over the code in order to improve, enhance, and otherwise help the project in its attempt to unsettle Facebook. Sadly, the current opinion is that the code just isn't up to scratch. While the team clearly stated that 'we know there are security holes and bugs' in the code that was released, it's possible that they weren't aware of just how many show-stopping issues there are — issues which make it hard to recommend that you roll your own Diaspora server just yet."
jamie writes "A post has just gone up on Diaspora's blog revealing what the project actually looks like for the first time. While it's not yet ready to be released to the public, the open-source social networking project is giving the world a glimpse of what it looks like today and also releasing the project code, as promised. At first glance, this preview version of Diaspora looks sparse, but clean. Oddly enough, with its big pictures and stream, it doesn't look unlike Apple's new Ping music social network mixed with yes, Facebook."
paxcoder writes "You have been informed about Diaspora, a (to-be) distributed free social network. What you may not have known is that it was inspired by an excellent talk by Eben Moglen called 'Freedom in the Cloud.' But it doesn't stop there. At Debconf 10 this month, Moglen went further, and shared his vision of a free, private, and secure Net architecture relying on ('for lack of a better term') freedom boxes — low-price, ultra-small, plug it into the wall personal servers. He believes they will catch on since they will eventually cost less than a router, provide more functionality and freedom to the user, and even help your friends bypass any censorship by encrypting and routing their traffic. Since hardware is being taken care of, we are called to assemble the software stack. The title of this sequel talk is How We Can Be the Silver Lining of the Cloud."
Glyn Moody writes "Diaspora, the free software project to create a distributed version of Facebook, has been much in the news recently — not least because it has raised $170,000 in just a few weeks. But what's also interesting is the way they've raised that money: through a series of graded rewards for pledges of financial support. This is an approach adopted by some forward-thinking musicians: for example, Jill Sobule funded her last album in the same way, garnering $75,000 in pledges from fans. Is this a model that could be applied to other free software projects, or is it just a one-off?"
CWmike writes "A Facebook spokesman said that the company will hold an all-staff meeting on Thursday to discuss privacy issues, but would not say whether executives are looking to make significant changes to the popular site's highly contentious privacy policies following a bevy of changes to the service." (More, below.)
Hugh Pickens writes "An analysis of papers published in 10,500 academic journals across the world shows that, in terms of academic papers published, China is now second only to the US, and will take first place by 2020. Chinese scientists are increasing their output at a far faster rate than counterparts in rival 'emerging' nations such as India, Russia, and Brazil. The number of peer-reviewed papers published by Chinese researchers rose 64-fold over the past 30 years. 'China is out on its own, far ahead of the pack,' says James Wilsdon, of the Royal Society in London. 'If anything, China's recent research performance has exceeded even the high expectations of four or five years ago.' According to Wilsdon, three main factors are driving Chinese research. First is the government's enormous investment, with funding increases far above the rate of inflation, at all levels of the system from schools to postgraduate research. Second is the organized flow of knowledge from basic science to commercial applications. And third is the efficient and flexible way in which China is tapping the expertise of its extensive scientific diaspora in North America and Europe, tempting back mid-career scientists with deals that allow them to spend part of the year working in the West and part in China." Here's the Financial Times's original article.
Hugh Pickens writes "CBC News has up an article by Peace Corps volunteer Heidi Vogt, a woman who served in the small village of Gono in Mali five years ago and remembers letters dictated and hand-carried by donkey cart or bicycle to the next town. Vogt recently returned to see the changes that cellphone communications have made in a village that still doesn't have electricity or decent drinking water. 'Gono's elders say the phones can keep them in touch with their village diaspora,' writes Vogt. 'Villagers depend on far-off relatives to send money in time of crisis — if someone is sick, if a house has caught fire, if there's been too little or too much rain and the harvest is poor. There's a new sense of connection to a larger world. In a village where most people can't read or write, they can now communicate directly with far-off relatives.'"
Sara Chan writes "The Economist has a story about a trapeze artist who, in her spare time, is the Chief Lizard Wrangler at a non-profit. You perhaps know her as Mitchell Baker, leader of Firefox." From the article: "Ms Baker gradually found herself the leader of this project. Perhaps this is because she is a somewhat unusual member of the Netscape diaspora. For a start, she is a woman in a community populated, as one (male) colleague puts it, by geeky males with 'spare time and no social life'. Ms Baker herself has never even written code. She studied Chinese at Berkeley, and then became a lawyer--her role at the old Netscape was in software licensing. On all technical matters, she defers to Brendan Eich, her chief geek."