16 May 2010
Decentralize the web with Diaspora
Diaspora is the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network. Four talented young programmers from NYU's Courant Institute are trying to raise money so they can spend the summer building Diaspora; an open source personal web server that will put individuals in control of their data.
Enter your Diaspora "seed", a personal web server that stores all of your information and shares it with your friends. Diaspora knows how to securely share (using GPG the GNU implementation of OpenPGP) your pictures, videos, and more. For a little more detailed explanation, checkout this blog post.
Another extremely interesting aspect of this is KickStarter which is the donation system that the Diaspora team have used to raise development funds for their project. KickStarter allows anyone to set up a new project and to specify what their goals are and how much money they need to achieve them. The site then accepts donations from people who want to support it, but if after 30 days the project hasn't met their required amount, the people get their money back. This is an ingenious idea which is similar in some ways to the escrow model seen in many online project management environments.
The Diaspora project is an example of a very successful project on KickStarter. The team required $10,000 to work solidly on their development over the summer break, and had received more than that after only 12 days! At the time of writing this article the total received is $166,926 and there's still 17 days to go!! Click here to see what it's up to now.
Update: Diaspora's funding closed on 2 July having received $200,642 from 6479 backers :-)
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