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Re: [Social-discuss] Future of GNU social

From: Rob Myers
Subject: Re: [Social-discuss] Future of GNU social
Date: Fri, 28 May 2010 23:27:06 +0100
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On 05/28/2010 10:14 PM, Ted Smith wrote:

The FSF assignment was announced yesterday (IIRC); did you have
knowledge of it sooner?

I was told that assignment might be happening. I didn't find out that it actually had happened yesterday until Matt told me today. subscribers knew before I did.

I find the general air of secrecy around this sort of disconcerting. I'm
asking these questions because I want to know how the decision was made
so that I can follow the logic and hopefully arrive at the same
conclusion. These are all very good reasons, but it seems like something
is missing.

The logic from my point of view is that this gives us a stake in an established social protocol and AGPL software system that we can build on. Since we are working on a GNU free software project that needs to establish itself, I believe that this is *a* good way of moving forward.

Personally, I don't like this choice. It forces the implementation
paradigm in the direction of "web servers", which is a step backwards
for user freedom. If it were possible to implement OStatus in a p2p
network, I would be less negative, but as I've been reading over the
spec it seems that that's impossible. Someone more familiar with OStatus
should definitely correct me if I'm wrong - I would love to be wrong

A web server can be implemented in any number of ways in any number of environments. It is a limit, yes, but Eben Moglen's talk about cloud freedom describes ways of offsetting that limit.

OStatus and StatusNet fit the original federated server idea, and were the example that I personally had in mind for that.

If we know how to improve the protocol and software that's great - we can bring our combined knowledge and ability to bear in a way that will benefit more projects than just GNU Social.

StatusNet supports XMPP and other protocols iirc. It's good software written by smart people with their eyes very definitely on user freedom.

OStatus is being singled out now because it has become possible to do so
and because it has momentum from the great work StatusNet have done.

What do you mean by "it has become possible to do so?"

I mean that as a result of the copyright assignment GNU now has high quality existing OStatus code available to build on.

Were you waiting
on the copyright assignment to the FSF?

Assignment was a recent development. This is an opportunity that has been taken, not a plot that has taken time to come to fruition.

If you have any other questions for me personally about what I do or do not know I'll answer them unless they involve betraying a confidence (in which case I will state that, although I don't think it applies to anything I know about Social or StatusNet).

- Rob.

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