The first open-source challenge to the pioneering microblogging site Twitter launched earlier this month. Identi.ca, built using open-source software Laconica, was started by the Montreal-based company Control Yourself. The site is getting attention from microbloggers who hope that Identi.ca will improve upon Twitter, which has been plagued by problems.
Evan Prodromou, Identi.ca's founder, says that he came to see Twitter as a form of communication on a level with e-mail, blogging, and podcasting. "I was starting to feel dependent personally on Twitter as a communication medium," he says, "and I realized that's not the way that the Web that we've built works. Having one company be the sole controller of a particular communication medium is kind of difficult. It's not something that is sustainable in the long run for the Web." Prodromou says that he felt people needed an open-source version of the tool.