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Dreamwidth logo.png
Dreamwidth logo
Type of site
Blog/Social Network
Available inEnglish
OwnerDenise Paolucci and Mark Smith
Alexa rankNegative increase 9,549 (January 2018)[1]
Written inPerl

Dreamwidth is an online journal service based on the LiveJournal codebase. It is a code fork of the original service, set up by ex-LiveJournal staff[2] Denise Paolucci and Mark Smith, born out of a desire for a new community based on open access, transparency, freedom and respect.[3]

Dreamwidth was announced on 11 June 2008[4] and went into open beta on 30 April 2009.[5]


For the most part, features are similar to those of LiveJournal: users have journals, where they may post entries, each of which has a webpage of its own, and on which other users may comment. Dreamwidth also provides shared or group journals called "communities".[6]

Areas in which Dreamwidth differs significantly from LiveJournal include the following:


Initially, Dreamwidth accounts could only be created with an invite code. In December 2011, invite codes were turned off, originally as an experimental temporary measure. As there was no significant increase in spam accounts and the servers were adjusted to handle the load, the invite codes were not turned back on at the start of the new year as planned,[7] and new users can still create an account without the use of an invite code.

Free accounts have limited features. Paid accounts exist on two levels, "Paid" and "Premium Paid", and have additional features.[8] At the time of the open beta launch, a limited number of Seed Accounts were also available.

User relationships[edit]

In response to criticisms of LiveJournal's friending system, Dreamwidth has split user relationships into two parts: subscriptions and access control. Users may subscribe to other users' journals or grant access for other users to read locked entries as separate actions. Dreamwidth's terminology reflects this split: for instance, the "friends page" has been renamed as "reading page", and "custom friends groups" has been split into "access filters" and "reading filters".


Dreamwidth provides greater interoperability with other LiveJournal-based sites, including the ability to import a journal from another site, crosspost to multiple sites, and greater functionality for users who log in via OpenID.


In addition to the search facilities brought over from LiveJournal, paid account users can search their journal.[9] This was introduced on 24 July 2009.[10]


LiveJournal was initially free of advertisements, but gradually incorporated them, until by 2017 ads were shown to all non-paid readers on all pages.[11] Dreamwidth remains free of advertisements.[12]


The following features, available on LiveJournal, are not available on Dreamwidth:[13]

  • S1 style system
  • to-do lists
  • TxtLJ
  • pingbacks
  • nudge
  • Last.fm music detection
  • singles
  • commenting using Facebook and Twitter accounts

Despite the lack of these features, Dreamwidth is acclaimed for it's strong community and transparency.


Dreamwidth is based upon the free and open-source[14] server software that was designed to run LiveJournal. It is written primarily in Perl. The majority of the Dreamwidth code is available under the GPL for other sites to use.[15]

Unlike many other social networking sites using the LiveJournal codebase, such as InsaneJournal and DeadJournal, Dreamwidth is a code fork, removing unwanted features (such as advertising) and adding new ones as described above. Founders of the site rejected the advertising model as intrusive. Instead, they implemented a payment system, where users can purchase add-on or premium features.[16]

A 2009 OSCON presentation saw Dreamwidth identified as highly unusual among open-source projects, for the number of women on its development team. About 75% of its developers are female,[17][18] compared with around 1.5% in the field as a whole.[19] Paolucci and Smith also spoke at linux.conf.au 2010 about Dreamwidth's development model[20] and have been invited to speak at Web 2.0 Expo[21] and OSCON[22] about their techniques.

Dreamwidth was accepted as a GSoC mentoring organization for the summer of 2010.[23] They were allotted seven students, who worked on a variety of projects.[24]


Athena, also known as Afuna or fu, was introduced as the site's first paid employee on 7 April 2010.[25] On 7 September 2010, Mark Smith announced that he had stepped back from Dreamwidth's front line[26] and moved to work for StumbleUpon.[27] He is still an owner of Dreamwidth along with Denise, however.[2]


Following the positive reactions to Dreamwidth's diversity statement and model of inclusiveness, various other projects have followed suit, including Python's diversity list[28] and Dreamfish.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dreamwidth.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  2. ^ a b Dreamwidth: Our People
  3. ^ Dreamwidth Guiding Principles
  4. ^ synecdochic: Announcing Dreamwidth Studios. Coming Summer 2008.
  5. ^ "Welcome to Dreamwidth Studios!". dw-news.dreamwidth.org.
  6. ^ "How to Attract More People to Your Open Source Project". itworld.com. September 23, 2008. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  7. ^ Dreamwidth Update: 6 January 2012
  8. ^ FAQ: What are paid accounts?
  9. ^ Search Dreamwidth
  10. ^ mid-week surprise feature rollout
  11. ^ LiveJournal: Important Updates, April 4, 2017: "Starting from April 4th 2017, non-authorized users will see advertisements on all LiveJournal pages."
  12. ^ Dreamwidth News (and welcome!), 14 April 2017: "we display zero advertising on Dreamwidth".
  13. ^ If you're coming from LiveJournal to Dreamwidth: What's Missing?
  14. ^ LiveJournal Code
  15. ^ Dreamwidth repositories Archived May 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Renee Montagne, Laura Sydell, et al. "Social Networks: They're Popular, But Will They Pay?". NPR – Morning Edition. June 23, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2009.
  17. ^ Krill, Paul. "Microsoft maintains openness push". InfoWorld. July 23, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2009.
  18. ^ Kirrily Robert: Standing out in the crowd
  19. ^ FLOSSpols
  20. ^ "Build Your Own Contributors, One Part At A Time". lca2010.org. Archived from the original on 2009-09-25.
  21. ^ Build Your Own Contributors (One Part at a Time), at web2expo.com
  22. ^ Build Your Own Contributors (One Part at a Time), at oscon.com
  23. ^ Welcome, Google Summer of Code students!
  24. ^ GSoC Results
  25. ^ Update, April 5, 2010
  26. ^ The State of Mark: Dreamwidth
  27. ^ The State of Mark: StumbleUpon
  28. ^ DiversityInPython work in progress on wiki.python.org
  29. ^ Dreamfish humanifesto on dreamfish.com Archived October 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]