July 13, 2010

The Diaspora Project: FOSS Community Builds a Better Mousetrap

When Facebook users started getting nervous about the social networking company's privacy missteps, the open source community did what it does best -- stepped up to build a better platform based on transparency and open source tools. Four college students from New York whipped together the Diaspora project, launched it publicly on April 24th, and promptly found themselves sitting on $10,000 in donations in just 12 days.

When the FOSS community rallies behind an idea, it doesn't mess around. Indeed, seed money for the Diaspora project jumped to more than $24,000 in a matter of weeks (the developers say they're not looking for further donations at this time). Although part of the Diaspora team's initial success was simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time, it also speaks to how quickly the open source community comes together over projects that meet an immediate social need. Businesses and developers alike, take note: the next time you're brainstorming your Next Big Idea, consider what the FOSS community might bring to the table when you need an "all hands on deck" development approach.

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