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Re: FaceBook taking over the web, and semantic web

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2010 10:03:58 +0200
Message-ID: <r2xeb19f3361004280103x1eefcaf6i3e8dde5d8a6fa539@mail.gmail.com>
To: ProjectParadigm-ICT-Program <metadataportals@yahoo.com>
Cc: Matthew Rowe <m.rowe@dcs.shef.ac.uk>, semantic-web <semantic-web@w3.org>
On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 3:11 AM, ProjectParadigm-ICT-Program <
metadataportals@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Dan and Matthew
>
> There must be an alternative to FaceBook, without all the restrictions and
> proprietary formats and ties to third parties.
>
> If it does not exist it must be built. Millions of open source coders out
> there.


LiveJournal (one of the few current social networks older than FOAF) is
based on opensource code, see http://www.livejournal.com/code/ and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_sites_using_the_LiveJournal_codebase
for
a list of installations.

<http://www.livejournal.com/code/>See also
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elgg_(software)

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elgg_(software)>Drupal and Wordpress also have
a lot of what you're looking for. If you like Twitter, you'll love
StatusNet.

Facebook have also opensourced some great code, eg.
http://cassandra.apache.org/

This current situation is not for shortage of lines of code, or ability to
re-use it.


> Several organizations have asked us in the past if an open access open
> source alternative to the FaceBook functionality could be created.
>
> How about creating a global open source code coop to develop such an
> alternative?
>

The GNU project are just launching something in this direction - see
http://groups.fsf.org/wiki/Group:GNU_Social ... it sounds just what you're
looking for.  I suggest joining the list
http://lists.nongnu.org/mailman/listinfo/social-discuss  --- I won't repeat
my views here, but see
http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/social-discuss/2010-03/msg00034.html where
I argue that federation and standards are more important than creating set
another software toolkit.


>
> Dozens of business models out there to make money. If we just consider the
> following
> - Usability on Blackberry, Eclipse and Android platforms
>

Who pays, how much, how often and how reliably?


> - Open Feeds to other Social Networks
>

Who pays, how much, how often and how reliably?


> - Linked Data standards for meta data encoding
>

Who pays, how much, how often and how reliably?


> - Interfacing capability with Google functionality
>

Who pays, how much, how often and how reliably?


> - External Formats Compatibility e.g. for professional networks like
> LinkedIn
>

Who pays, how much, how often and how reliably?


> - Feature Import for Email Providers like Yahoo!, Gmail


Who pays, how much, how often and how reliably?


It's the business / sustainability / bill-paying story that's interesting.
Someone has to cover all those bandwidth bills if you're really going after
1% of humanity. Not to mention salaries, if your quality of service and
support is going to cope with the burden of  100s of 1000s of non-technical
users blundering around messing things up. Which means that charging $ for a
'pro' account or putting in advertising will soon be discussed. And then the
folks with MBAs show up and what starts as idealism blends into the
pre-existing landscape...


> Most of features on FaceBook are a nuisance to professional users.


"most?" :)  what list are your working from here...


> How many academically and technically trained professionals are there out
> there, on a global scale?
>
> If we assume 1% of the global population, that would still be 65 million
> potential users!


I'm not sure the answer to "we don't like this megasite" is "so we'll build
a better megasite, all free and open". I don't think the answer is "we'll
build the one true distributed social-stuff toolkit" either (ie. my fear w/
current GNU Social). The answer - if there is one - is perhaps more boring.
To do the dull but worth job of integrating, modernising and cross-linking
the existing social infrastructure of the Web. How do we persuade people to
put unthanked time into beautifying eg. MailMan or migrating the big IRC
networks to XMPP, when instead they could be trying to "beat Facebook" and
build another Web site bigger than many countries...

cheers,

Dan
Received on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 08:04:32 UTC

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