Diaspora releases code

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Facebook rival publishes code

Diaspora, a new social network that aims to offer a secure alternative to Facebook, has moved a step closer to becoming a reality.

Designed by four programmers at New York University, it aims to be "an intrinsically more private social network", according to a post on the Diaspora blog. The team has just released the source code in the hope that other members of the web community will help detect and resolve any bugs ahead of the full launch at an unscheduled later date.

Diaspora details

Initial screenshots of the site show an understated white and gray interface with thumbnail pictures for every user. Photos and albums can be uploaded already and all non-image traffic is automatically signed and encrypted. The developers plan to introduce Facebook integration, internationalisation and data portability by October 2010.

In the blog post, the Diaspora team explain why they have decided to go open source. "Getting the source into the hands of developers is our first experiment in making a simple and functional tool for contextual sharing," they said. "Diaspora is in its infancy, but our initial ideas are there."

Diaspora aims to provide an alternative to commercially-minded sites like Facebook, which has been beset by privacy complaints in recent years. However, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was among the high-profile figures to give money to get the project up and running. Speaking at the time, Mr Zuckerberg told Wired: "I donated. I think it is a cool idea."