The big buzz today is around Indenti.ca, a new open source, and open platform microblogging service. That the code is open source is great in itself, but the biggest breakthrough is support for the new OpenMicroBlogging standard, which means that in theory, anyone could host the script and each service would talk to each other, creating a distributed, decentralized Twitter.
Dave Winer has been talking about something like this for months, and a while back I wrote on another site that while it was a great idea, it wouldn’t happen, because no one would build an open platform like this because the economics of doing so didn’t add up. After all, if you’re a startup, with funding, why would you build something that others could take and use, possibly (and likely) to bypass the startup in the medium to long term. Centralized services are popular for a reason: it keeps people coming back to the destination site.
I was wrong. Someone has done it. The folks behind Identi.ca have done it, and I couldn’t be happier.
There’s already a lot of discussion around Identi.ca v Twitter in relation to features and usability, and I get a lot of the negative sentiment. Identi.ca as a stand alone service is basic at best, and perhaps I’d even go as far as calling it fairly lame, as the current version isn’t exactly exciting for the end user. But that’s irrelevant in the bigger picture. Even if Identi.ca and Laconi.ca code that runs it turns out to be complete failures, it has achieved one thing: it proves that open source, decentralized microblogging is possible, and that it can be done.
It’s way to early to make a call on the code and the OpenMicroBlogging standard at this time, and even then I’m no expert in code so I’m not remotely qualified to make a call on where it is at, although I will be playing with it shortly. But I can call it a start. As I described it in a FriendFeed thread, it’s a freedom seed, the start of something much bigger at a time the market is desperately seeking alternatives as the Twitter train wreck keeps on chugging. The only question now is how quickly will new sites pop up that run this code, providing improved consumer choice and driving the open source project forward so that it may one day fully compete with Twitter, and then eventually pass it.
More on The Inquisitr here.