The Appleseed Project
ML: Michael, Appleseed is getting a lot of attention as a free software social network. How can users of Appleseed help the project and what can developer-minded developers do besides running their own Appleseed nodes?
MC: Other than bug testing/fixing and documentation, which are always needed, the best thing developers can start by doing is familiarizing themselves with the framework. Appleseed is a very large project, and it's a lot easier to plug people in to building features in the roadmap if they have a sense of how it works. There's some documentation, and a heavily commented example component as a starting point, and the best bet for learning is to build a component from scratch, even if it doesn't do much. From there, it should be pretty easy to start working on the core components and functionality, and helping out with building new features.
ML: Now is a good time for free software social networks, with Diaspora getting lots of press attention, and projects like Appleseed and GNU social also actively working on the problem. How are these projects working together, and do you think there is room for multiple projects in this area?
MC: We're all tackling the same problem, but this is undiscovered territory, so we're all doing it in our own way, which is very healthy at this early point. GNU social seems to be doing a lot of good work with OStatus, something the Appleseed project has watched closely for the future. And Diaspora has helped popularize the possibility of decentralized, open networks as an alternative to walled gardens like Facebook. I don't doubt we're all interested in interconnecting, and once the various software projects stabilize, it won't be until protocols are finalized, and adopted across all the free software social networking projects.