Laconica — OpenSource microBlogging

I had fun today adding a microBlog to this site at /laconica/. It is called Laconica and is the basis for identi.ca which is an alter­na­tive to Twitter which I have men­tioned in ear­li­er posts.

A microblog, for those not famil­iar with Twitter, is a place to leave short mes­sages for friends and fol­low­ers to read. Twitter and Laconica have a 140 char­ac­ter lim­i­ta­tion, some­thing I find a bit frus­trat­ing at times but *shrug* They are try­ing to allow SMS (cell phone tex­ting) com­pat­i­bil­i­ty. Since I total­ly and whol­ly object to SMS due to the phone com­pa­nies out­ra­geous pric­ing, the com­pat­i­bil­i­ty to SMS for a microblog is irrel­e­vant to me. I guess that is why I like Pownce!

Anyway, Laconica has sev­er­al very nice fea­tures. First, it is open source which mean any­one can set up a microblog using its code. It can even be mod­i­fied for spe­cial­ized usage. Companies which would like to set up an inter­nal microblog for its employ­ees can set up this code on one of their servers locked down so only their employ­ees can use it.

Second nice fea­ture is the poten­tial (not sure how well it actu­al­ly works yet) for peo­ple who sign-up on one Laconica based microblog (or any oth­er code that imple­ments OpenMicroblogging) can fol­low peo­ple on oth­er OpenMicroblogging based microBlogs. This means that dif­fer­ent spe­cial­ized microblogs can be set­up but allow peo­ple to fol­low peo­ple on each one with­out hav­ing to sign-up for each one and flit about from one to the oth­er.

Another nice fea­ture is its use of OpenID. This is a mech­a­nism that was set up so that you can sign-up once with an OpenID provider and use it to log into any site using OpenID. Makes it much eas­i­er to sign up for dif­fer­ent web sites. Yahoo has an OpenID imple­men­ta­tion that I have been using. There are many oth­ers out there as well.

Feel free to play with my instal­la­tion but I can’t guar­an­tee I will main­tain it well at this point. I per­son­al­ly have become rather dis­en­chant­ed by microBlogging.  There just is too much noise and not enough good stuff on them. I do see that Laconica can maybe change that with very spe­cial­ized microblogs ori­ent­ed around spe­cif­ic top­ics.

I found the instal­la­tion Laconica some­what straight for­ward but only because I fol­lowed the instruc­tions found on 0xDECAFBAD. Even then there were a cou­ple issues.

First, he men­tions a file named dataobject.ini which appar­ent­ly you don’t need any­more. I spent a bunch of time look­ing for that file but decid­ed that the con­fig­u­ra­tion was now in the config.php file. No big­gie. After a cou­ple oth­er minor con­fig­u­ra­tion issues that I just had to get right, I had the microblog work­ing with one major minor prob­lem.

I was get­ting a php error that indi­cat­ed a vari­able was attempt­ed to be used but wasn’t defined in a func­tion. I went in and mod­i­fied the code, adding the line $lan­guage = common_language(); in the appro­pri­ate place and it all worked. Now I am pret­ty cer­tain that is a seri­ous kluge to get my instal­la­tion work­ing and not some­thing oth­ers will expe­ri­ence. I have looked through the bug reports and dis­cus­sions and haven’t seen any­one else men­tion it so some­thing with my set­up. No big­gie. I believe that since Laconica is still ear­ly beta, it will get a lot eas­i­er to install and many nifty keen fea­tures added.

Have fun!

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