after installing diaspora yesterday i expected a full-featured fbclone with enhanced privacy settings.

i have to add that i never was a fan of hyped projects, especially if there is much money behind it. for me 200k is so much i even can not imagine it. but i also hate people always talking about money and profit. so i took a look at diaspora as the (maybe typically intended) guy who is able to install and use it.however, after installing diaspora on our ubuntu machine (ok at first it did not work because i still was on hardy, you know, never change a running system and so on) i was dissapointed.

maybe i have to say some words about my background as a software engineer: i worked in a team realizing a software project with +300 features and the budget was much less (more imaginable 😉 ). atm its on production level and is used by several clients.

this is not meant to be a comparison at 1st sight, its meant to show the disappointment other devs might feel after checking out the source. with “other devs” i don’t think of me – our project is situated in a completely different area – i think of the devs of Elgg, Japixx or other projects who did not get the same media response and financial support, but still fight for the same cause: enhancing privacy and trust – at least i dont know any sources to prove that they are not heavily funded, which however may be the case.

the idea of a heavily distributed social network is very nice. also the fact that diaspora does not depend on other protocols or on a server infrastructure is the right way i think to achieve the target.

so what did i like about diaspora? i liked the fact that every url included a hash – no nice urls. if some proxy is in the middle or a link is shared no one can make predictions just on the url. i liked the aspects. i liked the simple user interface (…the parts that worked).

the guys at diaspora definitely put much work into this pre-alpha release. in fact they wrote a very detailed installation guide (which would have worked seamlessly if our server would have been up to date). i really like projects explaining how the program can be installed. a post in the discussion group (currently closed for whatever reason) hit the mark: “installed – now where to go”. the guide simply missed this part!

after installing you have no idea what to do next. play around – ok, but as a dev i still have no idea how it is intended to work – is it a bug, that a friend can only added to one aspect or is it a feature? so: no documentation. now to the core of the hole diaspora-hype – the federated architecture. no documentation that explains how to connect two diaspora seeds. just a quick note in the dev-group to take a look at some seed-files. so i took a look at those files. still no idea how this is intended to work because there are no comments explaining anything.

this is the real reason why i am disappointed, because 1st i could not try out the features of the ui due to bugs (which is ok – it still is a pre-alpha) and 2nd because i could not understand how the core is intended to work (without reading millions of lines of code).

so don’t call it real at the moment. you had much work with what you’ve done, why not add 10 more lines explaining what to do next after installing it?