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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Tackling Network Effect

From: Ramana Kumar
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Tackling Network Effect
Date: Wed, 16 May 2012 18:12:42 +0100

On Tue, May 15, 2012 at 12:18 AM, Michał 'rysiek' Woźniak
<> wrote:
> 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?

I think a subset of LDAP would be a good starting point.
In particular, just using LDAP will confirm whether it really is too
complicated and focus our attention on what we would want from a
simpler protocol.

>> Are we reinventing FNS (XFN)?
> No. FNS AFAIK was used for naming machines, not keeping human contact
> info.
>> 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... ;)

(Or alternatively, pick out the bits of LDAP to use; or maybe I can
try to do that based on what we come up with for the simple protocol.)

>> 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?

Ah, yes, sure!

>> > 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?

So what would you call it?

>> > 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.

Do you use it?
What kind of work is necessary to get it ready?
Can I try it out?

>> > > 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.
> Thanks.
>> > 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.

Point that out where?

>> > 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.

They do read this list, right?

> --
> Pozdrawiam
> Michał "rysiek" Woźniak
> Fundacja Wolnego i Otwartego Oprogramowania

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