Disapora social network source code released


September 15, 2010

Diaspora screenshots

Diaspora screenshots

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The lads behind Diaspora, the open source decentralized alternative to Facebook, have announced the public release of its source code to developers. The group of four students from NYU’s Courant Institute wanted to give users complete control of their details and content in response to privacy concerns regarding Facebook. Upon releasing the source code the developers say, “this is now a community project and development is open to anyone with the technical expertise who shares the vision of a social network that puts users in control.”

In contrast to having a centralized server store all your information and communications as is the case with Facebook, Diaspora is a decentralized network where all a user’s information is stored on a personal web server called a “seed” running on their own PC – the developers also plan to provide a hosted service for those that don’t want deal with setting up their own seed.

In its current form Diaspora:

  • allows the sharing of status messages and photos privately and in near real time with friends through “aspects”
  • lets users friend people across the Internet no matter where the Diaspora seed is located
  • manages friends using “aspects”
  • supports the uploading of photos and albums
  • signs and encrypts all traffic except photos.
  • The team warns that the code is by no means bug free or feature complete and gives no guarantees if you try and get it up and running of your machine – which they encourage users to do. They admit there are security holes and bugs and that users’ data is not yet fully exportable. If you’re feeling adventurous and give it a go the team is asking users to log any problems in their bugtracker.

    Now that it has released the source code the team is working on the Alpha release of Diaspora planned for October. To tempt users away from Facebook the team is concentratiing on internalization, data portability and Facebook integration.

    When it was announced earlier this year, Diaspora reached its US$10,000 target on crowd sourced fundraising site,, in 12 days. The total now stands at just over 20 times that initial target, with $200,641 pledged from 6,479 backers.

    The Diaspora source code can be downloaded from github.

    About the Author
    Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick
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