Diaspora (software)

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Diaspora social network project official logo, helvetica font.png
Diaspora latest.png
Developer(s)The Diaspora Foundation
Stable release[1] / 13 May 2019; 34 days ago (2019-05-13)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inRuby[2]
PlatformRuby on Rails
TypeSocial network service
LicenseAGPLv3,[3][4] some parts dual-licensed under MIT License[5] as well

Diaspora is a free personal web server[3] that implements a distributed social networking service. Installations of the software form nodes (termed "pods") which make up the distributed Diaspora social network.

The project was founded by Dan Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer and Ilya Zhitomirskiy, students at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. The group received crowdfunding in excess of $200,000 via Kickstarter. A consumer alpha version was released on 23 November 2010.

Konrad Lawson, blogging for the Chronicle of Higher Education, suggested Diaspora in July 2011 as an alternative to corporately produced software.[6]


Diaspora is intended to address privacy concerns related to centralized social networks by allowing users set up their own server (or "pod") to host content; pods can then interact to share status updates, photographs, and other social data.[7] It allows its users to host their data with a traditional web host, a cloud-based host, an ISP, or a friend. The framework, which is built on Ruby on Rails, is free software and can be modified and extended by external developers.

A key part of the original Diaspora software design concept was that it should act as a "social aggregator", allowing posts to be easily imported from Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. As Village Voice writer Nick Pinto explained, "the idea is that this lowers the barriers to joining the network, and as more of your friends join, you no longer need to bounce communications through Facebook. Instead, you can communicate directly, securely, and without running exchanges past the prying eyes of Zuckerberg and his business associates."[8] As of 2016, the API for this feature was still under discussion.[9]


Ilya Zhitomirskiy and Daniel Grippi (2011)

After the project raised over $200,000 in crowdfunding via the Kickstarter website by 1 June 2010, the group began working on the software.[3][10] A developer preview with a number of security holes was released on 15 September 2010.[11] On 23 November, a redesigned website was published in preparation for the alpha release, with the old site still available as a blog section. The early security holes were fixed with the alpha release.[12] The early alpha version contained many bugs and security flaws, but feedback on the free software led to quick improvements.[13]

After its foundation was completed, Diaspora's developers intended to concentrate on creating a "battery of add-on modules" in order to "facilitate any type of communication," and planned to offer a paid hosting service for Diaspora seeds.[3][14]

The software's beta release was originally scheduled for November 2011, but was postponed due to the need to add new design features and also Zhitomirskiy's death.[13] In February 2012, the developers indicated that they had completed work on the software back-end to improve both pod up-time and website response time. The next phase of work involved changes to the user interface and its associated terminology to reflect the way users are actually interacting, as the software moves towards beta status, anticipated for later on in 2012.[15]

By May 2012, development was underway to allow a high degree of customization of user posts, permitting users to post different media, such as text, photos and video with a high degree of personalization and individual expression. The developers felt that allowing individual creativity in posts would differentiate the Diaspora platform from competitors.[13]

In June 2012, the development team was scheduled to move to Mountain View, California as part of work with startup accelerator Y Combinator.[13] In August 2012 the developers focus changed to working on creating makr.io, as part of their yCombinator class.[16]

In August 2012, the founders of Diaspora announced that they would let the community take over governance of the project, while they would stay involved, but take a lesser role. The project was adopted by, and became part of, the Free Software Support Network (FSSN), which is in turn run by Eben Moglen and the Software Freedom Law Center. The FSSN acts as an umbrella organization to Diaspora development and manages Diaspora's branding, finances and legal assets.[17][18][19]

In October 2012, the project made its first community release at, dropping all references to the Alpha/Beta branding it had previously used.[20] At the same time development was moved to a development branch, leaving the master branch for stable releases.[21] Additionally, efforts were underway to package Diaspora for Linux distributions and other systems.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Diaspora Project (13 May 2019). "Diaspora releases". GitHub. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  2. ^ Vernon, Amy (12 May 2010). "Striking back at Facebook, the open-source way". Network World. International Data Group. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Salzberg, Maxwell; Daniel Grippi; Raphael Sofaer; Ilya Zhitomirskiy. "Decentralize the web with Diaspora – Kickstarter". Kickstarter. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Diaspora, Inc. Contributor Agreement". Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Diaspora Contributor Agreement".
  6. ^ Lawson, Konrad. "Remembering Diaspora: The Open Source Social Network". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 15 July 2011. Even if they never dominate the field, their decentralized approach and rallying cry to “take back your network” may help maintain a sustained pressure on the Googles and Facebooks of the world.
  7. ^ "Diaspora: A first peek at Facebook's challenger". Computerworld. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  8. ^ Pinto, Nick (15 February 2012). "Rise of the Facebook-Killers page 3". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Current and future development - diaspora* project wiki". diasporafoundation.org. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  10. ^ Dwyer, Jim (11 May 2010). "Four Nerds and a Cry to Arms Against Facebook". New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  11. ^ Goodin, Dan. "Code for open-source Facebook littered with landmines". The Register. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  12. ^ "Private Alpha Invites Going Out Today". joindiaspora. 10 December 2010. Archived from the original on 22 December 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
  13. ^ a b c d Weise, Karen (15 May 2012). "On Diaspora's Social Network, You Own Your Data". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  14. ^ "join diaspora – the project". Archived from the original on 26 November 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  15. ^ Grippi, Dan; et al. (3 February 2012). "DIASPORA* grows up". Diaspora Foundation Blog. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  16. ^ "Diaspora's Next Act: Social Remixing Site Makr.io – Liz Gannes – Social". AllThingsD. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  17. ^ "Les créateurs de Diaspora confient les rênes à la communauté". Numerama. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  18. ^ Grippi, Daniel and Maxwell Salzberg (27 August 2012). "Announcement: Diaspora* Will Now Be A Community Project". Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  19. ^ "Diaspora*". Joindiaspora.com. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  20. ^ "Diaspora Released!". The Diaspora Project. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  21. ^ "Define a clear git branching model". Loomio. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  22. ^ "Open Call for Packagers". Diaspora Developer Blog. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.

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