Tag Archives: federation

Diaspora

Diaspora promised itself to be the ultimate free software Facebook-killer, and in the process became a blockbuster – the second biggest Kickstarter project ever, at the time. Four university students were inspired to spend their summer building privacy-focused social networking software that gave the user control, after listening to a speech by Eben Moglen.

While software has been produced, after the runaway success of the initial campaign and subsequent pressure to produce a result, the project has struggled to gain traction with a critical mass of users.

Summary

  • Campaign: Kickstarter
  • Campaign date: 2010-06
  • Campaign status: successful
  • Campaign backers: 6479
  • Campaign raised: US$200641 of 10000
  • Project type: new
  • Project license: AGPL

Outcomes

The campaign was in June 2010. The first “pre-alpha” release of the software was September 2010, although that was marred by security problems. In June 2011, Google launched Google Plus, with many commentators noting the similarity of Google Plus concepts to those in Diaspora. In November 2011 one of the original founders, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, committed suicide. In August 2012, the founders announced that they were¬†handing Diaspora over to the community.

Commentary

Much has been written about Diaspora! Here is a selection. For more check out the Diaspora wiki.

Mediagoblin

MediaGoblin is a “free software media publishing platform”, a free alternative to many popular sites: YouTube (video), Flickr (photos), SoundCloud (audio) and the like. It aims to support truly decentralized publishing and sharing. It was borne from a Free Software Foundation meeting in 2008, recognising the lack of response in the free software space to popular commercial web-based media hosting and sharing sites. Minor releases were made up until October 2012 when the crowdfunding campaign began. There was a stated aim to reach v1.0 by the end of the campaign-funded development period.

The campaign reached over 70% of its goal amount, but as the campaign did not follow the “threshold pledge” model of Kickstarter, it has still enabled significant work to be completed. Chris Webber, the main developer, chose to work on MediaGoblin full time for a year (as was the aim of the original target). Webber previously worked as a software engineer at Creative Commons.

Summary

  • Campaign: Independent (FSF)
  • Campaign date: 2012-11
  • Campaign status: partially successful
  • Campaign backers: ?
  • Campaign raised: US$45198 of 60000
  • Project type: existing
  • Project license: AGPL

Outcomes

Since the fundraiser ended, as of January 2014,  5 major versions of the software have been released. Code is hosted at Gitorious. Releases have added support for 3D models, documents, specifying media file licenses, media file gelocation, and improved plugin architecture. Development of an Android app has also begun. The project hosted several interns as part of Google Summer of Code / GNOME Outreach Program for Women in the middle of 2013.

Commentary