A few months back, when the Facebook privacy meltdown was on in full force, a few plucky young college students told us they wanted to do something better. The Diaspora project was put on Kickstarter in hopes of gaining a few thousand dollars in funding. In the end, the project received over $200,000 in pledges. Now the first developer release of the code for this distributed social network is available for download.
Users will be able to run a "seed" server in the Diaspora network to aggregate all their social data. The seeds can then talk to each other to form the network. All this would be governed by a user's personal privacy settings, and all connections are encrypted. In this way, all a user's data is kept under their personal control.
Diaspora is an open source project and the developers are inviting anyone with the skills to contribute. It's good to see that the founders have made it to this important milestone. Apparently all that Kickstarter cash went to good use. The dev preview is looking a little spartan, but the UI is clean. There is already a system for adding people as friends and sharing pictures. Have you had a look at the code?