Open Source Twitter is here

Ok, technically not Twitter but it’s dang close, the site is called identi.ca, some pertinent details from the site

Identi.ca is a microblogging service brought to you by Control Yourself, Inc.. It runs the Laconica microblogging software, version 0.4.1, available under the GNU Affero General Public License.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
Unless otherwise specified, contents of this site are copyright by the contributors and available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Contributors should be attributed by full name or nickname.

It is based on a new V0.1 open microblogging protocol from Evan Prodromou. In general, the tech blogosphere is excited about identi.ca and the open microblogging protocol it is based on

identi.ca supports OpenID, that’s cool because I don’t have to remember yet another username and password. But the real cool thing is that the code is open source, get it here, and already a couple of people have installed their own instances of it. Here’s detailed instructions from one developer from his successful installations (2 of them) and another supposedly simpler set of installation instructions here on a shared host. I haven’t tried them yet so use them at your discretion. Also, it has attracted the attention of other developers that are going to start tweaking the code to make it more scalable, such is the power of open source especially since Laconica’s GNU Affero license means any changes made on anyone’s server needs to be released back as well. Developers are also starting to experiment with federating different instances of Laconica where a message posted on one instance of Laconica, e.g., http://laconica.kamleitner.com/, shows up on another Laconica instance, e.g., http://identi.ca and vice versa.

Since the launch yesterday, the site was up and down several times, so hopefully it will get better over time, I sure would hate for it to suffer the same dreadful Twitter scalability issue. It was probably due to the buzz in the tech blogosphere that generated a ton of traffic. Even with the site being inconsistently available, a nice feature is the XMPP support. I was able to interact with it via my Pidgin / Gtalk setup even when the site isn’t available and that’s very handy.

I am excited about this for data portability because with it being open source, developers can add support for relevant data portability technology such as XFN, microformats, FOAF, RDF, RDFa, etc. If this really takes off, it can mean serious trouble for Twitter. Even without identi.ca, the tech blogosphere have talked about migrating to FriendFeed from Twitter due to its scalability issue. To get an idea how interested the blogosphere is in identi.ca, it has 10,000 registered users in 3 days from launch.

On a side note, I am spending less time on this blog and more time on my Ruby on Rails blog as I ramp up development for my next startup.

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