Sometime soon, perhaps this week, Facebook will turn the year-old Facebook Platform into an open source project, multiple sources have told us. The immediate effect will be to allow any social network to become Facebook Platform compatible - meaning application developers can easily take their Facebook applications and have them run on those social networks, too. Bebo already licenses the Facebook Platform, which allows third parties to make their Facebook applications work on Bebo, too. With the new announcement, social networks wont need to go through the hassle of doing a deal with Facebook ... This is a nearly inevitable response to Open Social ... Facebook has been looking more and more like a walled garden of late, and they are being regularly out maneuvered by competitors. Time to fight back. moreSid Yadav poked us:
[Facebook isn't] opening up the code to actual Facebook site, but rather the platform where applications are created. Two different things. I'm sure opening up their site's source code would lead to vulnerabilities. And its a private company... I don't think they need/want outside input when it comes to their main code. But the opening of the Platform code is similar to OpenSocial movement by Google/Myspace. moreFacebook has nothing to say, except this tease:
Facebook has been developed from the ground up using open source software, and we are proud to give back to the open source community through various open source projects ... We will continue to expand this list and have several exciting projects in the works. moreNobody expects Duncan Riley:
As developers flee the service for the open source Google led Open Social initiative ... [is this] too little, too late? ... While there is zero doubt that this move by Facebook is a direct response to Google (and reactionary moves are never brilliant) the depth of applications on the Facebook platform will likely see a slew of mid to low range social networks rolling out support for this. The down side: we are now seeing a social networking cold war where various parties are lining up behind Google and Facebook, with some trying to remain neutral. Will the stand off benefit users? Unlikely, but the future of the biggest game in town is at stake, so expect both sides to further up the ante as the stand off continues. more"Tom" waxes cynical -- or realistic, depending on your POV:
The best way for Facebook to eat away at their competition is to keep their competition from innovating. The easiest way to do that is to hand out the Facebook platform. That way your competition thinks they're getting the holy grail when in fact they are stunting their own growth. If a Social Network works exactly like Facebook than there is absolutely no reason for users, developers, et al to leave Facebook. So while Facebook's competitors probably see the ability to integrate the Facebook platform into their service as a huge opening its actually just Facebook "preventing other people from selling software." Plus Facebook gets to kill off Google's OpenSocial in the process. Not bad for a day's work. moreLilia Martinez pets her lizard:
Two days until Googles I/O. While my primary reason for attending is to geek out on Android up close and personal, I may decide to spend some time attending OpenSocial discussions ... I have been reading up on OpenSocial only to come to the conclusion that it doesnt have a mobile API. Now Im wondering if Google may perhaps unveil some fancy mobile APIs for mobile. moreBrij Singh likes the sound of it (errr, I think):
Facebook is primarily a database repository. For database company to go open source meaning what gets distributed will be marginal. This codebase cannot threaten core offering, which is all about enriching and protecting social graph (Scoble is always right!). Which means APIs for read and write can go totally open source but actual data repository will be hard to release. Privacy issues will be real. If I allow conspiracy theory to run for a while then I see a nice complement to Microsoft's cloud computing initiatives. Also possibilities for tight desktop strategy with WPF/Silverlight APIs linked in. Mother and satellite node picture always gets product managers drooling and I can definitely sense similar temptation here. moreRandal Leeb-du Toit has more questions than answers:
The big questions that arise: what open source license would Facebook choose to operate under? what parts of their platform would be open source versus proprietary? will they operate under a dual OS/pty model, like mySQL and Sleepycat? what level of support would there be for adopters of the OS platform - a spec, reference implementation etc.? moreAnd finally...