Thursday, December 16, 2010

Proposal for an open cloud delicious alternative

The news is out that Yahoo is going to close This hurts me at a deep level. I was early enough on the delicious train that I have my first name as my delicious login.

We need an open cloud. I have thoughts about what that means - peer to peer, distributed hash tables, caching, etc. And replicating delicious seems like a great project to test out the idea. Delicious links are intrinsically open, so you don't have to deal with privacy issues on the reading side.


Anyone want to work on it? Email me,

So...on to my rant.

For various reasons I didn't use it much over the last seven years. (yes, seven years). I only have a bit over 1,000 links.

But those 1,000 links are important to me. And the piece of web infrastructure which delicious provides is important.

OTOH, the social aspect of delicious became less valuable as it grew. Sadly we have not yet figured out a very effective way of filtering out the ordinary wankers which doesn't also sanitize our news of the exceptional. To be all current meme, we want tools to hide the white swans and expose the black swans as soon as even a hint of them appears.

But we don't have that. For the first little while, early 2004, Delicious did that. But it did that service because only interesting people had adopted early.

It will require someone more clever than I to solve that problem. Fortunately there are clever people out there.

But in the meantime, the basic function of allowing us to save our own links to 'Delicious' for our own research and use, and to publish for people who actually want to follow us, is useful.

Major and minor players who made, or attempted to make, their fortunes aggregating user generated content have repeatedly demonstrated a callous disregard for those users.

People put their creative effort into generating content, and then one day after being more or less responsible about providing exports and notice and all the data is gone.

Yahoo did it with GeoCities, and now with Delicious, and Google is regularly guilty.

Right now I am utterly disgusted at Google Groups. Each time I log in it seems that a new feature is being removed.

Now they are disabling 'pages and files' from Google Groups. They announced it Sept 22, and 'in Feb 2011' you will no longer be able to access this content.

How kind of them to provide such notice.

I sort of expect it of Yahoo, since they have been completely unable to keep from turning everything they touch into mush, but for Google to kill content after 5 months strikes me as deeply disturbing.

Have they run out of disk space?


  1. Rich,

    I think I'm almost as frustrated as you about the loss of delicious. I never much used the social features, but I totally relied on it to breadcrumb my path through the web. Sure there are other services that will allow you to post links and find them again later, but none of them stay out of your way as well as delicious does.

    Anyway, I'd be interested to hear more about your ideas for a distributed peer to peer service architecture. There's a clear need for this type of does-one-thing service and if we don't need to rely on a single organization to keep it running we're a lot better off as a species.

  2. Hi, Rich-

    I don't have any special insight into this but I think that the Google powers-that-be found a lot of redundancy between different Google apps and decided to phase out Google Groups features that were already being handled elsewhere.

    Like I think their suggestion would be to move Google Groups pages to Google Sites, looking forward to a future day when Groups and Sites will work together better and we'll all live happily ever after.

    Of course, even if that's true they should have explained it, and offered a process to help you migrate your data, and a way to retain your old urls after migration, etc etc.

  3. Also, with you on the open cloud.

    I use a lot of cloud services, love the syncing convenience, but I would much rather combine that with control over my own data, at least to the extent that it never dies as long as I'm willing to pay to host it.

    I hope the Yahoo folks at least cut some kind of a deal with the Internet Archive so all of that information doesn't just go away.

  4. Hi.

    Got here looking for answers about perl geocoding, but had to weigh in...

    I was a delicious user for about six months in 2010. I had little interest in the social aspect - found it rather a distraction. What I wanted was all my links in the cloud. I then wanted an easy export of my links back to me in JSON, so I could do things with them. That turned out to be problematic, when it should not have been. I finally captured all my links in some godawful xml format and deleted my account - about a week before their announcement.

    IMHO yahoo does some things very well but rarely makes the business work right. We are going into web3.0 with HTML5/canvas which will soon allow our links to be a 3d web, like a forest with regions we can move into and thru, the coordinates being based on some 3 grid axes related to our interests like "personal vs professional" or "image vs symbolic" or "spiritual vs carnal" etc.