will an open source Twitter clone get traction? will an open source Twitter clone get traction?

This morning, I heard mentioned more than a few times in comments on Twitter, the microblogging service that’s having problems staying reliable as its popularity grows. is, as the name perhaps suggests, almost identical to Twitter in the way it works. At this stage, it has a few things missing to limit its appeal – you can’t search for other users, you can’t use other applications to monitor it, and it has no current API to hook in and expand it. But a look at the FAQ section on the site reveals some interesting news:

Public timeline - Identi.caThe software we run, Laconica, is still in its early stages,
and many features people expect from microblogging sites are not yet implemented. Some important ones that are expected “soon”:

  • SMS updates and notifications
  • A Twitter-compatible API
  • More AJAX-y interface
  • Maps
  • Cross-post to Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, etc.
  • Pull messages from Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, etc.
  • Facebook integration
  • Hashtags
  • Image, video, audio notices
  • Automatic url-shortening
  • Multilingual interface (using Gettext)

Behind the service is the Canadian Control Yourself, Inc., whose blog of July 2nd also added: –

…’s underlying software is available under an Open Source license. is also the first service to support OpenMicroBlogging, a standard for exchanging short messages between microblogging sites. also makes public user data available under a Creative Commons license in standard formats.

The key element, in my view, is an Open Source code base, so as more developers contribute to developing that, and with could using the de facto microblogging standard, then the scalability issue that Twitter has been struggling to overcome might be more readily solved: Replicate that software, and place the capability ‘in the cloud’. Tweet!

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