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Re: [Social-discuss] What should GNU social be?

From: Ted Smith
Subject: Re: [Social-discuss] What should GNU social be?
Date: Thu, 04 Mar 2010 20:38:56 -0500

On Wed, 2010-03-03 at 18:55 -0500, Matt Lee wrote:
> Should GNU social be a straight up replacement for existing social
> networks? I don't think so.
Maybe it could eventually be more than that, but what's needed, *right
now*, is a replacement for existing social networks.

> Should GNU social include the creation of a protocol for decentralized,
> encrypted communication between social networks? I think it should.
This is optimal, sure, but I think the worst possible thing we can do is
overdesign to the point where there's a hugely complicated spec that
takes forever to implement (the HURD trap).

> Not wishing to disappoint, but I think the idea of making a straight up
> clone of Facebook that is AGPL isn't what we should be thinking about
> here. We may decide to create a simple, Facebook-type UI as a demo for
> one of the possible applications of GNU social, but let's also consider
> the future and other ideas for social software.
> With that in mind, what are your ideas for GNU social?

I want to be able to point to GNU Social and as a drop-in
replacement for non-free network services.

Right now, I would say that the biggest hole in the free network service
landscape is Facebook. The Free World needs to fill that hole as quickly
as possible. There are a myriad of attempts that have been made to fill
that hole, and so far all of them have failed. Even within the anarchist
community, the AGPL'd app Crabgrass at hasn't been widely
used, and it was created specifically to be a facebook replacement for
social justice activism. We need to succeed.

I think we can do that, but I think we need to be focused on a clear
goal to do so.

Don't get me wrong; I am the first person to be interested in
decentralized, secure, and anonymous social networking. But I don't
think that's what the Free World needs right now.

On a totally unrelated note, I would like to examine the possibility of
integrating desktop-side clients as first-class citizens in the network
service world. There's no reason to limit ourselves to a web browser
when "everyone" has a mobile computing device or a netbook.

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