Open source copy-cats

de.lirio.us is a new clone of del.icio.us. I’m stymied. I understand that the intention is to make an open source clone, so that others can innovate at the API level. But I still don’t get it.

First, what you need here is open APIs – something delicious has been quite good at – not open source. Open source is useful for running another instance, something you don’t want to do with a social service. The power comes from many people using the same instance.

But more important, it’s disappointing to see an exact replica of delicious. There’s zero innovation, even though there is plenty of innovation to be done. In fact, delirious is even uglier than delicious, which certainly wasn’t a beauty to begin with.

Plagiarism like this isn’t going to get me to switch.

2 comments

I think open source is still more valuable than just open APIs. Think of the 1980's when the Unix vendors repeatedly stressed that they sold "open systems". I believe that having Unix and the BSDs, with their open source code, is a lot better than the "open systems" of the 1980's. As for running separate instances of social services, I think this would be quite useful in closed environments like large corporations where you don't want to use an external service. Of course social services are more useful if more people use them, but saying that There Can Be Only One only serves to stifle innovation. Why isn't your blog on TypePad or BlogSpot? (My answer: Because formats like RSS and services like Technorati and weblogs.com still provide substantial network effects.) Open APIs should mean that users could migrate data between de.lirio.us and del.icio.us and that they could share data somehow. For example Technorati's tag pages.
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And just to repeat my point again: I run an instance of Movable Type. My friend also runs an instance of Movable Type. But it's an exact replica! And my friend's instance is even uglier than mine! Granted, blogs aren't as social as social bookmarking services, but having everything in the same instance would still allow me to follow what my friends are writing... Oh wait, I can still do that with RSS, news aggregators and Technorati.
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