If you’re interested in such things, great explanation of twitter, laconica, and OpenMicroBlogging here. Make sure you check out the comments as well, some great points in there including a hint at where twitter could be headed for a business model.
I’ll admit I’m biased as I met with Evan recently and he lives here in our little country but I’d still tie my wagon onto laconica over twitter had I to choose. I’m also not the type to chase business models tied to selling people’s patterns and data so if that’s where twitter’s headed then god speed.
While it’s not the main point of the above article, there is mention about twitter and it’s use of open source technology. While it’d be lovely if everyone using open source was able to contribute back into it, that’s not a requirement and I’d be cautious about suggesting it should be. As well, it’s not always obvious how that contribution occurs. Maybe some of twitter’s developers contribute heavily to these projects in their off hours? If this return contribution was required then it should be in the license. If they aren’t violating any licenses then they’re good.
[Wow, am I actually defending twitter??]
If you’re involved in open source, do you really want businesses like twitter choosing NOT to use your projects simply because they’re business model, horribly flawed or otherwise, prevents them from contributing back in an equal and fair manner? I’d think not, you’d want anyone and everyone using it regardless. Sure the ideal outcome is twitter participates in OpenMicroBlogging and open sources lot’s of their technology. If that’s not possible what should they do? Certainly we’re not suggesting they have to use all commercial software are we?