[sf-lug] any opinions or thoughts on identi.ca?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Sep 12 07:22:10 PDT 2009

Quoting Kai Chang (kai.salmon.chang at gmail.com):

> I think twitter's api is fantastic quite frankly, and their TOS
> changes are commendable.

I was actually quite impressed when I read their terms of service.
They're quite fair-minded for a proprietary hosted service, some of the
best I've seen.

As far as the API, I'm glad you like it, but a well-furnished jail's
still a jail.  ;->  (I don't literally mean that, but it's yet more
proprietary junk, and I long ago said goodbye to that, in as many
aspects of computing as possible, and "You can create mashups to slice
and dice our proprietary service in innumerable ways" strikes me
personally as an excellent case of "That's nice, now please go away.")

>  But twitter's all about the massive networking effects
> and open source alternatives just don't provide that sometimes.

Open source _as usually implemented_ indeed usually doesn't even try to 
gain networking effect (which, when you really come down to it, is not a
lot more than monopoly with a PR initiative).  Anyway, what would be 
_really_ interesting would be a radically decentralised network
architecture for microblogging interchange among independent peered
hosts operated by individuals and groups around the world.  

Such a loosely federated, cooperating group of implementations would
actually have a way, way greater networking effect than does a
1950s-style one-company-to-do-everything proprietary service, and
certainly would tend to be more robust and less prone to single points
of failure, collapse just because one company goes belly-up, etc. -- if
properly architected, anyway.

Individual coders have seldom done a _lot_ of work on such radically
decentralised systems, because they (so far) haven't cared enough --
especially not for, frankly, ephemera like microblogging.  And the
vulture capitalists would rather pump money into launching monopolies.
But it would be interesting, if someone were to actually try it.

Come to think of it, Evan's OpenMicroBlogging protocol might be a good
start towards that.  If I actually cared about microblogging (or, in
general, blogging, actually), I'd be looking closer at that.

> I use pidgin just because of gmail and aim, for instance.

You _like_ AIM?  And someone isn't holding a gun to your head?  ;->

Client work obliges me to use the Yahoo Instant Messenger service
sometimes (much as I try to tell them that Jabber/XMPP isn't broken, and
they're making a horrible mistake relying on Yahoo for their sensitive
business communications, even with OTR), but at least I can use CenterIM
for that, rather than the bloatware horror that is pidgin.

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