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#1 Jan 8, 2012 18:36:51

Registered: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 5

Citizens Rejoice: Distributed Social Network for Everyone

Citizens Rejoice: Distributed Social Network for (almost) Everyone

Friendica, Gnu Social, Diaspora, are just a few of the big name projects in the websphere of open source distributed social network projects. In fact the list is quite big. Not quite sure why so many projects exists, I enjoy choice as much as the next person, but it does appear that because of so much choice that each project stays splintered in some way. As-if they are somehow competing and the end result is that not one project is getting that lift it needs. Often times I'll read that projects don't need the money but manpower/developers. And since every project is vying for hero position the manpower is not there. So much potential.... should be no secret to anyone as they run the ever popular microblog social network. The project having finally reached version 1.0 has brought with it numerous interface changes, threaded replies to notices, subscription support for tags and much more as can be read in the readme file. what makes stand out is that it is a microblog like twitter,, subjot, etc.. and is not a faceplace alternative. Should you install? Well, if by distributed you mean that only those with a higher learning of server and database knowledge then yes. But, if by distributed you mean everyone can easily install & use it then no. The level of difficulty installing, setting up and maintaining along with security is much too much for a regular citizen to handle. As such distributed social network in this instance does not apply. You are much better of finding a federated server to join, that is if it's public and not invite-only.

Diaspora should also sound familiar to those of in the free software world. The project made big headlines when it's kickstarter fundraiser raised over $200,000 back in 2010. With the fiasco of facebook privacy diaspora stood to help fill a gap for those not interested in updating/changing (privacy) settings every other day, week or month for that matter. And it's readme points the everyday regular citizen to a list of pools to sign-up and join. And this is because like the difficulty of installing is well difficult.. Again, the citizen is still reliant upon somebody else's server. However, the installation instructions are somewhat fairly simple and I would invite you to at least give this one a try. Running on localhost can be a good exercise of confidence and a lesson as well, but don't go live with it until you have mastered the art of running a server, database and the security aspects of the internet as well. … orted-pods

Then we have Friendica or the project formerly known as Friendika. This project appeals to me because of it's features or rather the openness the project website gives to those visiting everything is easy & quick to find and if in doubt the website can help you find the answer you seek. This project is more of a faceplace alternative although it can also be used just like a microblog as well. But like the projects above this is not targeting the end user--I mean citizen... However, there are plenty of public portals available for you to join.

So then should the title actually read: Distributed Social Network for everyone who is a server/database guru only? It appears that the developers know best on this one too and your just going to have to tolerate it citizen. Or a group of people can start a fundraiser to build a simple DSN that anyone can install and use with ease. With projects arising looking to unseat gnome3 this actually could happen if enough interest were there. It could happen... until then do as your told citizen and just not worry about it. There is no difference between the big player's like facebook & twitter other then the fact that the projects above are open source but in the end DSN means you have to rely on somebody else's server--just like you do with facebook and twitter. And a lot of these projects use, or more better put utilize twitter & facebook so why shouldn't you?

The only project that I could find that any end user could easily install is called 'tweetylicious' a single file application, it's not federated in anyway, that's not to say you can't share your url and let people follow you that a' away and vice-versa. … -like.html

Last edited by kenneth.h (Jan 8, 2012 20:43:28)


#2 Jan 8, 2012 20:02:47

From: Sweden
Registered: Mar 21, 2009
Posts: 89

Re: Citizens Rejoice: Distributed Social Network for Everyone

Yes, you will have to rely on somebody else's server, unless you do something about it!

Approach the developers and ask them if they can make it easier to install.
Set up your own and gain some knowledge as a bonus.
Ask a friend to do it for you.

There's no difference between the big players and the open source projects except for all the possibilities you get if you really want to do something about it.


#3 Jan 8, 2012 20:57:43

From: Petaluma, California, USA
Registered: Jul 1, 2008
Posts: 3,649

Re: Citizens Rejoice: Distributed Social Network for Everyone

while it is by no means ready for the home user to install, is fully opensource and federates with other ostatus based instances

What would be nice, would be pre-configured freedomboxes  that are plug and play

Have you tried putting some google butter on it?


#4 Jan 8, 2012 21:08:01

From: Wilderness of Norfolk, England
Registered: Nov 27, 2011
Posts: 338

Re: Citizens Rejoice: Distributed Social Network for Everyone

kabniel wrote:

Yes, you will have to rely on somebody else's server, unless you do something about it!

Pretty much this. If it were to actually go big--which I personally find unfathomable with the ever-increasing lock-in ("likes" and "+1" buttons mean developers program exclusively for Failbook and Google) and the fact that people don't care about privacy and all that--it would still be a centralised system. Because most people are either too stupid or not willing to go through the hassle of running their own server all day and night. Not to mention those damn environmentalists.

IMO, there's no need to sign up to any social network, you're just leaving another trace of you lying around on the web and--although data might--memories never die. Unless your friends are on it, don't even entertain the idea. I personally am an advocate of a more anonymous society, one that existed just 10 years back. Things were better in them days.

YOBA: Youth-Oriented, Bydło-Approved

Google is not YOBA it's a product by a large and scary corporation (it bubbles and tracks you)! Use the largely open-source DuckDuckGo for a better web search experience and to fight EVIL.


#5 Jan 8, 2012 22:47:29

Honour Guard
From: Germany
Registered: Mar 18, 2009
Posts: 2,520

Re: Citizens Rejoice: Distributed Social Network for Everyone

I think, or at least hope, that at some point, it will be normal to have a little server running at home which hosts your federated social network account, personal email and files, etc. It might still be many years (or decades) away, but I can't imagine people in 2112 still hosting their personal data on machines they do not own or control.
It might very well come as a part of "smart homes", or maybe integrated in routers by default, but in some way, it will be normal I guess.


#6 Jan 9, 2012 19:44:15

Registered: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 5

Re: Citizens Rejoice: Distributed Social Network for Everyone

@kabniel This post will go far & wide and hopefully developers will read it or perhaps someone points it out to them. As such I'm making my thoughts be known.

@jezra I linked to

@YOBA Then why would we use forums if we must be afraid of our freedom of speech, leaving traces of thoughts and opinions? I think most are willing to give serving a try if that interests them, but to run a project for yourself, family or a special group.. well doing so should not require your family or the group of friends to figure out howto do so.

@nailuj I think your spot on and hopefully upgrading such a device does not b0rk the thing to be unusable. If the software is difficult to run for the average user then there really is no need for a device they won't be able to aptly use, configure, update/upgrade and run. So, I think we need the finesse of a 'linux mint' polishing involved in these future devices as well as the projects. And that blame goes on the lack of interest of those using gnu software in my opinion.

To be fair there are many many more projects really deserve a link. Just do a search for 'distributed social network' and you can find out about the others. I really should have included diaspora-x2 as it really is the easiest of the bunch for anyone to install and use.If I recall correctly it utilizes nodejs & coffescript.


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