Facebook Competitor Faces Criticism – Is Diaspora DOA?

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Really – should any Alpha version be fed through a chipper-shredder like Diaspora has? The basics are simple:

    • The basic premise behind Diaspora is that it will allow users to have social networking functionality similar to that offered by Facebook, but with far greater control over personal data.
    • Diaspora was born earlier this year largely in response to privacy issues related to Facebook's data collection and usage practices. The effort is being spearheaded by four New York University students: Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer and Ilya Zhitomirskiy.
    • In the months since the effort began, it has attracted growing interest from Internet users and more than $200,000 in donations on sites such as Kickstarter. It has also received considerable attention from mainstream media such as the New York Times which ran a lengthy profile soon after Diaspora was launched.

Transparency

  1. The point of open source is to share the information at the earliest stage possible. Mark a check in the box ‘fulfilled’.
  2. The point of an Alpha is to identify the worst issues as quickly as possible. One of the vulnerabilities listed was XSS, also known as Cross-site Scripting which has recently impacted Twitter just this week. If the pros can’t completely protect against XSS it’s really unfair to look at these college kids and talk smack.
  3. I figure that the experts need to lighten up and stop whining. Submit your bugs and vulnerabilities and see where the Beta goes. Maybe even volunteer some project management experience which these kids may really need instead of sniffing about what you’ve probably not had the guts to try at twenty-something.
  4. For those who volunteer to test the usability, not the code, remember not to use passwords and profile usernames you previously used on other accounts. Like your email or banking accounts. That way if you’re compromised it doesn’t help cybercriminals.

And as this snarky yet accurate bug report [Facebook has a majority market share] states:

  1. People should become aware of Diaspora and be able to decide freely and independently from their friends, i.e. peer pressure. (Integration with all current online services, including Facebook, is therefore a must.)
  2. Diaspora should be marketed for its great security, privacy and structural benefits in comparison to Facebook and it should be introduced to people as a real alternative.
  3. Seed providers (as soon as they pop up) should keep them as secure as possible to maintain Diaspora's reputation.

Securing Our eCity Contributing Writer

Author ESET Research, ESET

  • Mike

    You are DOA you don’t really understand what they have been saying. Do some research before you blab. Your mom is calling you for dinner

    • Randy Abrams

      what an incredibly compelling argument you make… NOT. If you’re going to disagree then provide something intelligent to add to the discussion.

    • http://www.securingourecity.org/blog/about/about-charles-jeter/ Charles Jeter

      Thanks Randy, I also enjoy debate as long as I have enough detail to understand the objection.

      @Mike, I would love to know which part you disagree with – the headline or the actual body of the article. Maybe you could explain what you think the people slamming Diaspora are really saying if that’s what you meant by ‘they’.

      As for the DOA bit, I think my article answers that portion effectively: Diaspora is not DOA, it is still in Alpha. My main point in Transparency (3) is that the code is being critiqued unfairly and in Transparency (4) I expressed that the critics would be best living up to the spirit of open source if they would contribute more involvement into the higher level and less into simply bug chasing and stating how unoptimized the code is.

      In short, leverage the collaborative strengths of open source and allow Diaspora development to work smarter, not harder. I have the feeling you would agree with my points. And no, I’m not DOA – at least my certificate of live birth proves that. ;-)

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