'Facebook killer' Diaspora source code released, alpha due in October

Can an open source social networking service challenge Facebook?

Image: joindiaspora.com

Image: joindiaspora.com

Diaspora — a distributed social-networking project inspired by user anger at Facebook's privacy policy changes — today announced the public release of its source code to developers.

Unlike Facebook, Diaspora is a decentralised social network. Your information, such as pictures and status updates, is stored on your "seed" — a personal Web server — and can be shared with your friends. In addition to the option of running your own seed, the project's developers hope to provide a hosted service, in a similar manner to the Wordpress.com blogging platform: Wordpress can be installed on your own server or you can use a third-party service provider (or Wordpress.com itself).

According to a developer blog entry, Diaspora is "now a community project and development is open to anyone with the technical expertise who shares the vision of a social network that puts users in control".

The blog entry adds: "Feel free to try to get it running on your machines and use it, but we give no guarantees. We know there are security holes and bugs, and your data is not yet fully exportable. If you do find something, be sure to log it in our bugtracker, and we would love screenshots and browser info."

When the Diaspora project was announced in April, it quickly gained support, reaching its initial US$10,000 fundraising goal in 12 days. Its page at Kickstarter.com, a site that promotes crowd sourced fundraising, reveals Diapora has raised $200,641 from 6479 people.

Diaspora is an open source project licensed under version 3 of the Affero General Public License. According to the project's FAQ page, Diaspora is developed in "Ruby, with a bit of Rails and other Ruby frameworks thrown in".

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Rohan Pearce

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