In the wake of Facebook's repeated privacy failures, a group of students from NYU decided to take a stab at the world of social networking with Diaspora
. It's billed as "the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all, open source social network." The focus on privacy is key to its marketing strategy, as are open-source solutions. Rather than being hosted on a central server, its creators envision Diaspora being installed on computers across the world in a distributed network, sort of like a BitTorrent for social networking. Even though the project managed to secure funding and generated some initial press coverage, most have been skeptical that the group of students would ever ship a functioning product, let alone that it would succeed.
While we'll still have to wait on the second part, Diaspora finally took a step towards creating an actual, usable site today. The first developer release of the code that will power Diaspora
was posted to the open-source software dumping ground GitHub
. The team is quick to point out that it's hardly bug-free or complete. In fact, they hesitate to even call it an alpha release. There's still a long way to go before anyone can legitimately call Diaspora a Facebook competitor. But if a functioning, public release lands this October as the team suggests, we'll certainly be impressed.