What the open source arm of Twitter is working on • The Register

After several years of work, the open source branch of Twitter, Bluesky, has released code and more information about what it does, but not yet a new social network.

Just weeks after Elon Musk took steps to buy his parent company, and more than a year after it was discussed before Congress, the Twitter affiliate has shared some of what it’s working on.

In a blog post, Bluesky CEO Jay Graber revealed some information about what the new company plans to do, along with some of his team members.

Bluesky has developed a prototype of a new “social self-authentication protocol” which it calls ADX.

This is an abbreviation for Authenticated data experienceand part of the source code is available on GitHub.

For non-programmers, there’s more to be learned from Bluesky’s ecosystem overview, which clearly indicates that the company has made efforts to research existing tools, protocols, and services in this area. The document lists and discusses eight protocols and five applications that are already there.

Additionally, the GitHub project page also has a long and detailed description of the ADX protocol architecture.

What he is not Still, anything that looks like a new site or service, or even really the tools to create one – but the research seems solid. The papers identify some weak spots in existing tools and discuss what Bluesky thinks needs to be done to fix them.

There are already many social networking sites, and indeed, these things predate the World Wide Web. The Usenet News service has been around since the 1980s, although as recently as 20 years ago it was inundated with spam.

Existing distributed social networks, such as Mastodon, can be compared to messaging services. Email is already distributed and federated: anyone on any email service can email anyone else on any other instance and communicate with them.

You most likely get an email service provided by your ISP for free, and you most likely don’t use it either. The problem is that even if it works perfectly, if you switch ISPs, you will most likely lose access to that particular email address, including all of your emails if you’ve kept them on your ISP’s servers.

And since accounts on other services are often tied to an email address, that’s a big deal: switching email providers also means updating your accounts on dozens of other sites, which may require access to your old email account.

For example, while most of the original 1990s messaging services (MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, etc.) are all long gone, one of the oldest, ICQ, is still around. . But if you can’t remember your old credentials, the account is likely tied to an email address you had decades ago — and don’t have access to either.

So most tech-savvy guys use an independent external provider for their email: either a freebie like Gmail or Hotmail, or maybe a paid account. Hardcore hosts its own.

Today, Facebook and Twitter are identity providers as well as social networks. You can log in to many other services using your Facebook credentials, such as Spotify. In time, they will probably also die or simply disappear. Myspace, bought for 580 million dollars then sold for 20 million dollars, is still there. Bebo, sold for $850 million and bought back for $1 million, is not.

The same thing can happen to, say, Mastodon. Although Mastodon instances are federated across the Fediverse, if your home instance disappears, your account and all your connections to people on other instances will disappear. It happened to one of Mastodon’s biggest instances, witches.town, in 2018.

Undoubtedly, the services of the giant FAANG should be broken. If they were, perhaps they would gradually wither away. Or just suddenly disappear, like Google Plus and Google Buzz and Google Orkut. With all of their user-generated content and connections.

This is the problem Bluesky is working on. Independent accounts, which can be used on several separate and federated social networks, but which do not depend on a single hosting site. An account that can survive the demise of the server or service it came from.

Put it like that and it’s hard not to wish them well. ®

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