GigaOm, Jul. 4, 2012
Amid the recent brouhaha over Twitter’s future — which some say is aimed at restricting what developers can do with the real-time information network, in an attempt to monetize it more easily — a number of critics have proposed duplicating the network using open-source tools and principles. This idea, which has also been proposed in the past by blogging pioneer and programmer Dave Winer, seems to have a lot of merit: after all, if a short-messaging utility like Twitter is a useful service for society to have, then why not recreate it as an open-source project? The only problem is that others have tried to do exactly that, and have mostly failed to achieve any traction. For better or worse, we seem to be stuck with Twitter.
The latest kerfuffle started with a blog post from Twitter’s director of consumer product Michael Sippey, who said that the service plans to tighten the restrictions on use of its API by third-party developers — an announcement that came on the same day that Twitter shut down a partnership with LinkedIn that allowed users of that service to cross-post tweets to their LinkedIn feed. This led to a number of critical comments from outside developers about the company’s treatment of them, a relationship that has been somewhat strained in the past, as Twitter has tried to control more and more of its ecosystem.
ROBERT STEELE: OpenBTS (Range Networks, BurningMan cell service for 10,000) is out there, and if OpenBTS is possible, then Not Twitter is possible. Where we are all failing is in perpetuating the industrial era stove-pipe of isolated corrupt analytics. My new book, THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust, addresses where we need to go now–right now–to break away. Microsoft, Oracle, Google, Facebook, Twitter, are all twisted manifestations of corrupt capitalism with rotten feedback loops (information pathologies). We need to cleanse the global information system, and in my view, OpenBTS and Open Non-Twitter is the way to start.