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Identi.ca: a bellweather for new open source models?

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Damon Edwards / 

Twitter’s legendary outages have driven a significant number of influential bloggers and pundit types to the new indenti.ca service. Indenti.ca is interesting not just because it’s a Twitter clone but because it’s an Open Software Service.

An Open Software Service is defined as a service:

1) Whose data is open as defined by the open knowledge definition with the exception that where the data is personal in nature the data need only be made available to the user (i.e. the owner of that account).

2) Whose source code is:
   1. Free/Open Source Software
   2. Made publicly available.

For the majority of users of consumer services like Twitter, Facebook, or GMail, whether or not the service is open probably seems inconsequential. However, when it comes to enterprise web services this could be a very interesting trend. The open data part is likely a non-starter, but the open source aspect opens some interesting doors.

Run it yourself, have someone run it for you, or even more interesting… some combination of the two. The opportunities for real innovation under this model are fascinating. In traditional open source software, “adding value” generally meant you added special features or provided timely code updates for a fee. Under this new model, “adding value” is all about the managed services and network effects that you can provide to end users.

I’ll be eagerly watching indenti.ca to see if they can make a going concern out of being a service provider when anyone can run the service for themselves.

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