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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Competitive analysis
A. Saad Imran (7218332)
Network Application Development

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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Table of Contents
Diaspora.....................................................................................................................................................3
Pandora.......................................................................................................................................................3
Mastadon....................................................................................................................................................4
Custom app proposal: Tweater...................................................................................................................4
References..................................................................................................................................................5
Evaluation..................................................................................................................................................6

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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Diaspora
URL: https://diasporafoundation.org/
Diaspora is a decentralized, peer to peer social media network. Like the internet itself, Diaspora
isn’t housed in any one particular area and it isn’t exactly operated by any one entity. Diaspora is open
source and free software which consists of a social network of many “pods”. A “pod” is just a node in
the Diaspora social network and can be hosted by any individual or organization. Hosting your own
“pod” (aka server) in this way allows you to link your server to the larger Diaspora ecosystem. You can
run a server (or pod) entirely by yourself either publicly or privately. You also have the option of
hosting your information on a public or private “pod” which already exists[1].

Authentication method(s)
Diaspora authenticates users using OpenID, a popular standard and protocol for decentralized
authentication[2].

Platform
The Diaspora software is written in Ruby on Rails and the client interaction happens through
conventional web pages delivered via HTTP. This information can be discovered on the project’s
Github page which hosts the source code for the software.

Pandora
URL: https://github.com/Novator/Pandora
Pandora is an absolute peer-to-peer social networking application. The application includes no
centralized servers, trackers or any other similar service. Pandora’s functionality includes instant
messaging, audio and video calling, file exchange along with a trading platform and a payment system.
Each node in Pandora has its own identifier generated based on some information entered on
first use. This identifier is then used to initiate and engage in communication sessions. Nodes interact
with each other directly through the internet [3].

Authentication method(s)
Pandora has its own protocol for authentication. Pandora generates a key based on user
information and this is used to identify the user across different sessions [3].

Platform
Pandora is written in Ruby and has a user interface which uses the gtk2 ruby gem.

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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Mastadon
URL: https://joinmastodon.org/
Mastadon is a distributed social media network with interesting microblogging features which
mimic Twitter. Mastadon forms part of the Fediverse, which is a larger decentralized collection of
independently operated servers which are used for various purposes including file sharing and social
networking. On Mastadon, users publish “toots”, which are text messages of 500 or fewer characters.
These “toots” can be public or private and are exposed to various users depending on the user’s privacy
settings. A primary aspect which distinguishes Mastadon from Twitter is its orientation towards
communities.
The easiest way to join Mastadon is to register with an existing server, which is commonly
referred to as an instance of the software. Each instance is a node in the social network and can opt into
administering unique rules, account privileges and privacy settings. Instances typically cater to some
communal interest but this isn’t always the case [4].

Authentication method(s)
Mastadon authenticates users OStatus and ActivityPub. Mastadon is also compatible with other
social networks using these protocols.

Platform
Server side is written in Ruby on Rails and client side is written in Javascript using React.js and
Redux.

Custom app proposal: Tweater


Tweater will be an entirely decentralized, peer to peer clone of Twitter. A public ledger, similar
to the blockchain used by Bitcoin, will be used to publish “tweats”, which are short text messages, on
the Tweater network. Each instance of Tweater will have to be installed locally and will act as both a
server and a client. For authentication, the app can use OpenID like many other peer to peer social
media platforms. This OpenID can be associated with a unique handle or username to identify “tweats”
made by a particular user. Once the user publishes a “tweat”, it is propagated through the network and
added to the public ledger using a consensus algorithm. Once a “tweat” has successfully been added to
the public ledger, it cannot be deleted. This app can be written in Ruby on Rails.

Authentication method(s)
This application can authenticate users using OpenID, a popular standard and protocol for
decentralized authentication.

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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Similar applications
Mastadon
Pandora
Minds

Why is this a good idea?


Concerns over security, privacy and censorship have continued to escalate with conventional
centralized social media platforms despite their firm monopoly on the common person’s internet
experience. With conventional social media platform, all your data, including private communications,
are stored on the servers of some corporate entity. In essence, this means that Google has access to your
private emails and Facebook has access to your private messages.
Peer to peer platforms, in stark contrast to the social media platforms mentioned, allow
consumers to take control of their own data since data is stored locally and communication happens
directly between nodes on the network without a need for a centralized server. While there still may be
security concerns with peer to peer platforms, privacy can become a much more prominent focus and
censorship becomes more difficult, if not impossible in pure peer to peer systems.

References
[1]
Yegulalp, S. (2010, September 17). Diaspora: A first peek at Facebook's challenger. Retrieved from
https://www.computerworld.com/article/2515941/internet/diaspora--a-first-peek-at-facebook-s-
challenger.html
[2]
Diaspora. (n.d.). Diaspora API: Authentication. Retrieved from https://diaspora.github.io/api-
documentation/authentication.html
[3]
Galyuk, M. (2018, March 30). Pandora: Install-and-first-run. Retrieved from
https://github.com/Novator/Pandora/wiki/Install-and-first-run
[4]
Farokhmanesh, M. (2017, April 07). A beginner's guide to Mastodon, the hot new open-source
Twitter clone. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/7/15183128/mastodon-open-
source-twitter-clone-how-to-use

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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Evaluation

Document Self Evaluation Score

Conciseness, Clarity and Language 5/5 /5

Formatting and Style 5/5 /5

References 5/5 /5

Research

Application 1 Details 5/5 /5

Application 2 Details 5/5 /5

Application 3 Details 5/5 /5

Originality 5/5 /5

Proposed Application

Application Details 5/5 /5

Originality 5/5 /5

Reflection Self Evaluation Score

Self Evaluation Accuracy 4/5 /5

Subtotal / 50

Group Size and Completeness Scale Factor 5/5 /5

Total (Subtotal * Completeness Scale Factor) 49 / 50 / 50