I’ve been on app.net for two weeks now. In the excitement about it, people raised the rather legitimate question about why people are excited about it when identi.ca and, more generally, StatusNet have been doing it for years. And there has been general questioning of why people are jumping from one closed service to another. And how only open source services are are real solutions.
I’ll table the questions of relative energy for now. I think that app.net is more likely to succeed than identi.ca has, especially since they’ve already gotten a lot of the types of people that made Twitter fun early on, but that is mostly irrelevant to my primary point here.
In general, I insist upon free/libre software for as much of my computing, especially day-to-day, as possible. Why, then, am I excited about app.net, and do I willingly embrace other services, such as Pinboard, to which I do not have access to the source code?
Many, in their zeal for free software, think that not only software they run, but software they interact with on other servers, needs to have source available, modifiable, and redistributable. This results in things such as the Affero GPL, which requires that administrators who deploy covered software as a user-facing network service make source code available.