So, there’s a new kid on the block (well four, actually) by the name of Diaspora.
The aim of Diaspora is to dethrone Facebook using an open and secure platform. That’s the summary of things at least. It’s a touch more complicated involving PKI, any-node data distribution, and so on. Their actual description, to quote, is: “the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network.”
This is probably not the best of goals. Okay. Fine. The description is the equivalent of asking permission to commit seppuku. You think I’m joking? Boy don’t I wish. The fact is that the side of the road is littered with the corpses of Open Source projects that aimed to “do-it-all” in as many words.
Some of them died because they lacked a clear and coherent vision and ended up trying to literally do it all, and not doing a good job of any of it. Some of them died because they had a clear goal but just lacked the code quality or usability to convince users to use it. No matter why they died, the fact is that more projects die than actually succeed.
That said, I have already seen and can tell you right now what specific targets Diaspora must meet if it is to see any measure of use, forget success: