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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Tackling Network Effect

From: Michał 'rysiek' Woźniak
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Tackling Network Effect
Date: Tue, 15 May 2012 01:18:45 +0200
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Dnia poniedziałek, 14 maja 2012 o 15:16:38 Ramana Kumar napisał(a):
> On Mon, May 14, 2012 at 12:42 PM, Michał 'rysiek' Woźniak
> > We could create a *simple* directory protocol (no, LDAP won't do)
> > for finding out people's e-mails, JIDs, etc (if, of course,
> > those people would provide such data); integrate it into
> > available solutions (client-side: Pidgin, mail clients,
> > Diaspora, etc.; server-side: ejabberd, mail servers, Diaspora,
> > etc.) - when providing profile data (like e-mail addr) users
> > could select to make that info available for federated access by
> > other servers and clients.
> Are there any existing directory protocols that would serve this
> purpose?

Not sure, haven't done the research.

> What's wrong with LDAP? (It has the advantage of being
> already standard.)

It has the huge disadvantage of being extremely complicated, 
cumbersome, difficult to implement and use. We need something much, 
much simpler, that can, however, be built upon LDAP. Maybe a subset?

> Are we reinventing FNS (XFN)?

No. FNS AFAIK was used for naming machines, not keeping human contact 

> If a new simple protocol is required, let's make a short spec of it
> here and now!

Sure, as soon as I get some minimal sleep... ;)

> Michał, I hope you will oblige to start on that, or otherwise
> explain a bit more what you mean.

Yes. I would love to, and I am very happy this seems to be picking up 
steam on this list. I will try to do some preliminary specs during the 
next few days. Shall we use a pad?

> > We could create a website for "leave your proprietary
> > network/service day", hold such a day say once per two months.
> > People could log-in with their proprietary network logins
> > (Facebook/Twitter/Google+) and pledge leaving the network for a
> > libre one (like Diaspora) or at least setting up an account on a
> > libre network  on a given day, or when the number of their
> > friends pledging the same reaches a given number.
> LibrePlanet, is there anyone here, or do you know of anyone, who
> would be able and willing to design this website?
> Also, to host it?

I can provide for some minimal hosting, either via my lab or the FLOSS 
Foundation here in Poland.

> I am willing to pay for domain registration and hosting if nobody
> else volunteers, or no organisation can donate it, if there is a
> good design. (Of course, donations would be welcome to help spread
> the cost!)

I would suggest using an established name for starters. LibrePlanet 
seems a great place, but I don't want to impose my ideas on anyone 
here. A sub-domain maybe?

> > This would obviously be sent to their walls, timelines or
> > whatever it's called in their proprietary social network of
> > choice. their friends would get the message and see that maybe
> > they are not alone in their idea of leaving Facebook.
> > 
> > This is obviously just a preliminary idea, it would need to be
> > properly thought through and blueprinted.
> I thank you for taking the time to sketch the preliminary idea! It
> sounds great.
> I suggest we keep working out the details on list.

Indeed, I'd love to see it taking off.

> > Second idea that I might start realising soon myself is firing up
> > cloud service providers that integrate many libre software
> > services (like XMPP, e-mail, Diaspora, StatusNet, OpenID,
> > Mozilla Sync, ownCloud, etc.) so that people would have a chance
> > of using a *single* service for all their communication needs,
> > while retaining control over their data (using standard, free
> > software projects would mean switching the provider would be
> > much easier than leaving Facebook).
> > 
> > 
> > These two ideas should for obvious reasons be put into practice
> > about the same time.
> Yes. Michał, would you be interested in making a prototype of such
> a service with me?

In fact, similar service (many integrated services, including 
eGroupWare, ownCloud, StatusNet, e-mail, webmail, XMPP, Mozilla Sync) 
is already set-up in the lab I run here at Warsaw University of 
Technology. It still needs a lot of work to be prime-time ready.

I am also thinking of either spinning it off as a separate company, or 
doing it under the aegis of the Polish FLOSS Foundation.

> > > Describe the world where I find out Skype is nonfree and then
> > > [go where] ([why there?]) and [do what] to get a free
> > > replacement, that anyone can easily do.
> > 
> > is just such a place to go for "Facebook
> > replacement". It needs better exposure, and much better
> > information on-site, but it's the right idea.
> Presumably it can be advertised on that website for "leave
> proprietary network day".
> What about for Skype replacement?

I am talking generally, Skype is just one of the building blocks. For 
that I would like to see either JID/Jingle or SIP.

> > Problem is, in my opinion, that we need to refocus.
> > 
> > We - the FLOSS Community - are by and large great technicians,
> > programmers, we have the manpower and will to tackle *technical*
> > issues.
> > 
> > However, our problems currently are not purely technical; Free
> > Software is often technically superior to proprietary/centralised
> > solutions, yet users still use the proprietary platforms (ICQ/AIM
> > being one of the examples).
> > 
> > Why? Reasons are many. Sometimes it's the usability (like with
> > Skype); sometimes it's the network effect - already vast amounts
> > of users use the proprietary solution, so the incentive to use
> > it is much stronger, as the aim is to keep in touch (Skype,
> > Facebook, ICQ/AIM, etc.).
> Excellent point.


> > These two problems are not easy to solve for us, as we are not
> > that competent in those areas. Especially usability would need
> > new sort of people joining in and helping out - UX designers and
> > the like. This is one of the reasons why I feel that while many
> > things Canonical does are really bad (please, let's not get into
> > a "Ubuntu is Evuhl" flame now, m'kay? ;) ), we are still - as a
> > community - getting a lot of good stuff from the fact they are
> > employing UX designers, for example.
> One method might be to spread the ideal of freedom in the Ubuntu
> community, to leverage the existing talent there.
> This might essentially be: promote gNewSense over Ubuntu. But it
> might be more than that.

It will be hard to promote gNewSense to Ubuntu users. I do not 
envision them moving to gNewSense in droves.

However, we *should* point out blatant mistakes on Ubuntu's part. Like 
calling both Skype and Ekiga "Free" in Software Centre. There should 
obviously be two different categories, and that is something both easy 
to do and high-profile.

> > Now, the network effect thing is more "tackleable" by us. It's
> > really a question of focusing on creating ways for people to
> > feel that they are in a group. they are connected, easy ways to
> > find other people, etc. Diaspora, as I wrote already, does it
> > well. We should simply move this up on our priority list, so
> > that our techie community would find that important to work on.
> > 
> > Specifically, I strongly believe that tackling the network effect
> > problem is more important than Gnash, Google Earth, FLOSS network
> > router drivers. I think it should (after finding a suitable way
> > of describing it) make it to the priority projects list.
> FSF, your response?

I am also extremely interested in FSF's reply here.

Michał "rysiek" Woźniak

Fundacja Wolnego i Otwartego Oprogramowania

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