“Paperairplane”:http://www.paperairplane.us/ looks _very_ interesting (link courtesy of “Die Puny Humans”:http://www.diepunyhumans.com/archives/000161.html). Based on JXTA technology, it is a Mozilla plugin (here’s hoping Firefox is supported too) which allows the development of decentralized communities. The content is stored and served from individuals machines, hopefully providing the ability for individuals to setup communities where they would otherwise be restricted form doing so (either due to commercial or political reasons). I was a big fan of the “peek-a-booty”:http://www.peek-a-booty.org/ project, originally launched with much fanfare, that attempted to provide methods for sharing information that could not be blocked by governments, however little has materialized since the project was first announced over two years ago. Paperairplane seems to of made at least one of the same mistakes as peekabooty – it has announced a project without anything to actually show for it (the java.net website for the project contains the usual “We’ll post code when we have it” type message). From the peekabooty Lessons Learned doc (PDF):
What did I learn from the first version of Peekabooty?
1. Dont release before it does something useful.
This lesson is recounted in Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source
Revolution as well as other places. I had even read about this rule before we
released, but I had to learn it for myself. If you release too soon, you spend a
lot of your time answering emails instead of developing.
I hope that the paperairplanes project manages to produce some actual usable code, and doesn’t join the ranks of other vapourware OS projects like peekabooty (and many of my own). If it can, then it will undoubtedly prove useful in a world where censorship is on the rise.