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The Diaspora’s message protocol debate

September 24, 2010

ZerMQ? XMPP? or oStatus? or…?

There has been a quite debate of Diaspora lately for which message protocol it needs to implement. It has been proposed that Diaspora should follow the standard message protocol such as XMPP instead of making their own in-house message protocol.

Today, Raphael Sofaer, one of founding members of Diaspora project sent a message about this on the dev list, which seems quite interesting.


While I appreciate the desire for discussion and improvement, I’m trying to keep the github tracker more specific than things like a general dissatisfaction with our message passing technology. I think that email is a better place to discuss anyway, since the text isn’t restricted to github’s small column.

Anyhow, I sort of don’t understand this thread. We haven’t made a ‘choice of message passing technology’ in any meaningful sense, we could rip out that segment of the codebase and replace it pretty rapidly. All we are doing is using EventMachine’s non-blocking http request class to queue up and send out POSTs over HTTP. If we reached a point where XMPP was helpful, we could start using it. I’d rather not write an XMPP schema or similar doc until we are more sure of what we need.

ZeroMQ seems like a cool technology, but we aren’t having scaling problems or anything like that right now. If we do need more speed, we could certainly look at it.

We actually implemented OStatus for public posts a while back, but took it out of Diaspora until we had a real place in the UI for it. That will be back in fairly soon.

Thanks for being part of this design process,

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2010 2:04 am

    As with many startups, total lethargy when it comes to embracing standards that the IETF works hard to promote but totally happy to bastardise a protocol to get it to do something it wasn’t designed to do.

    Let’s just keep inventing new things ’cause we’ll be successful overnight and get rich quick… btw what happened to OneSocialWeb? “We’re Ahead Of Diaspora In The Creation Of An ‘Open …”… and then blink, Vodafone pulls the plug…

    I’m not against innovation, far from it, I’ve been an innovator al my life. But to turn innovation onto products and services businesses will pay money for you have to build to standards, unless of course you a huge marketing budget 🙂

    Here’s a tip for people building messaging platforms, use a messaging protocol, the internet will love you for it..

  2. October 5, 2010 12:56 am

    I wonder what Dexter says about that…

    Fondest regards

  3. November 3, 2010 12:50 am

    I like the aproach of getting something working and deriving the requirements from that. With those requirements picking one (or multiple) protocols is a fair game. It is not like “stadardizing by committee” always leads to good results. What we can witness here is te implementation of a prototype and reference implementation. You might not be used to it.

    What I see on the horizont is, that Diaspora might be a good new-style homepage/blog software with “better subscription and aggregation” optimized for status updates. And I do like the idea (but it is not really the advertised p2p alternative – at least not like most people understood).

    With connects to twitter, facebook ans – and a decent client – I bet I might switch asap. Not caring about privacy, but of owning the data and the hub (I hope salmon will work for all intended aggregators).


  4. September 28, 2011 8:00 am

    Nice post about The Diaspora’s message protocol debate « Newsicare. I am very impressed with the time and effort you have put into writing this story. I will give you a link on my social media blog. All the best!


  1. diaspora – Ein erster Eindruck | Jan 'luckyduck' Brinkmann

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