(This is a copy from matrix chat as the topic deserves more elaboration.)
So, I have been reading for a while in the docs and blog of the AT Protocol that Bluesky is creating. Last time I checked Bluesky was just after Paul Frazee had joined. I knew Paul from DAT project, where I gave a bunch of feedback on their chances of success (adoption, healthy ecosystem) which I deemed to be quite low. Reason: only deep tech-focus and coding. I lost faith in DAT because of that.
What I’m seeing now is that Paul is applying gained insights and knowledge together with a team that is able to holistically address all project aspects. I am struck by how much more thorough the approach is to the situation we have on the Fediverse, where tech debt rules supreme, and each small protocol improvement is endlessly discussed and maybe turned into a FEP. The holes that exist in AS/AP et al were addressed from the very start in AT Protocol. They ditched Linked Data in favor of a pragmatic extension mechanism. All this makes me get the impression that…
“ Oh my, we may be looking at an ActivityPub killer here.”
Reading the specs makes me want to implement them and give a feeling of “this is complete and guides me”. The intention of Bluesky (the Social Benefit Company) is to bring AT protocol to either IETF or W3C eventually.
I’ve seen a lot of discussion about Bluesky that withheld me from checking out the docs till now. Why was that? Well, once more because the discussions on the Fediverse are for the most part concerning the Microbloggoverse, and comparing Bluesky App… microblogging. Just one first use case for the AP protocol.
Regarding AS/AP we are going along in ecosystem evolution at a pace we didn’t achieve before. Lotta good things happening. But the manner that tht evolution necessarily goes and against the backdrop of the protocol decay and tech debt makes it precarious in the face of well-organized contenders.
And even in AS/AP space itself a big corporate entry could easily take the lead. Simply by going on a similar approach to what Bluesky is doing: Create a rock-solid portal and flesh out all the missing pieces and focus on developer experience and ecosystem formation.
Skip all the grassroots chaotic discussion culture, just take its feedback, and move forward with a team of well-paid protocol experts and coders.
Wrt Bluesky, simply put, I do not trust that company. They smack too much like Silicon Valley Big Tech aspirations, VC money, and all that jazz. They have invite-only test network right now, which on one hand makes sense: controlled maturing and stabilization of specs. OTOH they can guarantee their dominance in the network that way.
Since the key parts of AT Protocol are open source and accessible I am curious about the extent to which all this might inform the formation of a “Calm Waters” guilds network. One where we aren’t afraid to deviate from stuff specified by Bluesky and will deviate on any place that improves guarantees of a network for the Commons and without corporate shitshow calling the shots.
We might even fork the protocol and keep it as an upstream to sync with. Might relicense AGPL. And may bring our own innovations to it… Interpeer? Librecast? Spritely? Etcetera…
@realaravinth responded with:
I don’t trust Bluesky either. But IMHO, we shouldn’t place our bets on a single protocol. I think the future of Social Experience (SX) depends on breaking (not winning) network effect. To do that, SXs shouldn’t be tied to a single protocol or single anything (data format, clients, etc.) for that matter. They should be adaptable and must be able to cater to the ever changing needs of its users. It’s difficult, but I think with some flexibility in our design, we should be able to achieve it.