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Twitter, identi.ca and the rest

Despite my being a fan of Twitter, just like Dave and Dave, I am getting fed up with the failing… and the fact that the fail whale is like some cute little “oops” mascot is sort of annoying. But hey, it’s a free service, what do you expect? No much, right?

Along came Plurk which is, well, I dunno… completely ignorable. Oh, and there is FriendFeed which Dave Slusher dumped Twitter for, but that just feels like too much too often to me. Too many updates, and updates from friends of friends? Argh…

Right now Twitter still has an advantage, but I feel like it’s slipping away with every feature that gets disabled, and every whale they serve up. identi.ca is interesting to me because it can be decentralized, and because it’s open source. But is it too late? I don’t think so. I mean, Blogger was the deal years ago, and they kept having their own fail, and nowadays look at WordPress. It ain’t over til it’s over.

I think identi.ca has to do a few things to step up as a Twitter replacement.

  • Twitter compatible API – We need clients to make identi.ca as easy as Twitter to use
  • Friend importer – We need an easy way to migrate from another service
  • Continued development – Right now Laconica is open source, that’s all good, but interested from developers and widespread adoption of a community will be key

I’m now using Ping.fm to post to both Twitter and identi.ca. This is a bit of a pain, but it works. Sort of. I opted not to post from Ping.fm to every damn service I belong to, as I find it annoying to read the same thing from my friends on 6 different networks. (And yeah, some sort of de-dupe filtering sort of thing is needed here.)

Anyway, I have hopes for identi.ca as a replacement for Twitter, or at least as a “private label” Twitter since the source it out there for you to use as you like. Go forth developers, and make something awesome!

(You can follow me on identi.ca, I am raster)

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What makes Firefox open-source?

I’ve had this argument many times with Justin… defining what exactly makes something open-source.

He is confident in telling me that Firefox is not open-source, and (as I understand it) he believes this because the Mozilla Organization, which controls the source code for Firefox, does not easily allow people to contribute code. They keep a tight grip on who was their bits put into Firefox. And while it is true that there are pieces in Firefox that you cannot use elsewhere (branding elements, graphics, etc.) I still believe that Firefox is open-source due to the fact that it uses the Mozilla Public License which is considered an open-source license by the Open Source Initiative.

I asked the question on Pownce recently, Is the Firefox web browser open-source?

And I think it’s a question that most people who have a basic understanding of the term “open-source” would answer “yes” to, but… Is that the case?

I thought maybe searching for “firefox is not open source” would unveil some great conspiracy I was not aware of, but no such luck.

Personally, I don’t think allowing people to contribute code is a requirement of open-source. It may be an important component of community and “open-ness” but accepting someone else’s code into your project does not seem to be a requirement. Providing the source code, and allowing people to modify and use that source code does seem to be a requirement, and though I’ve always downloaded binaries, I just downloaded the source code to Firefox.

So what is the scoop here? Is Firefox open-source?



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Aaron’s Money

Aaron’s writing is often fascinating. Now Aaron has money, and he’s not sure what he will do with it:

A friend told me to be sure not to let the money change me. “How could it possibly do that?” I asked. “Well, first you’d buy a fancy new car.” “I don’t know how to drive.” “…you’d buy a big house in the suburbs.” “I like living in small apartments.” “And you’d start wearing expensive clothes.” “I’ve worn a t-shirt and jeans practically every day of my life.”

This seems to demonstrate how different people see money’s use. Someone did comment on the idea that “Money doesn’t make you happy” by saying:

Money can’t buy you happiness. But it can buy you freedom. And freedom can buy you happiness.

Freedom = happiness. I agree with that. To me, having enough money to provide me my freedom would allow me to do things I want to do, without worrying if they provide sufficient income. I could make music, and films, and art and not worry about having to sell them. It would also allow me to attempt to improve things like software, the internet, technology, things that I think could help improve people’s lives. I’ve got dozens and dozens of ideas. It’s bascially all those things I try to do now with the spare 10 minutes I have each day, I could just expand that to 10 hours per day.

Right now, the chances of me selling a startup seem pretty slim. So I probably won’t have to worry about sharing Aaron’s problems any time soon…