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The fbOpen Initiative: Facebook Confirms Plans to Open-Source Its Platform

Posted May 27, 2008 by Erick Schonfeld (@erickschonfeld)
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A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed to us that the social networking company will announce an open-source initiative around its Facebook Platform sometime today or tomorrow. We originally broke this story we broke yesterday. We’ve also learned from another source that the name of the initiative will be fbOpen.

As Michael previously reported:

Facebook will turn the year-old Facebook Platform into an open source project, multiple sources have told us. The immediate effect will be to allow any social network to become Facebook Platform compatible – meaning application developers can easily take their Facebook applications and have them run on those social networks, too.

They’ll simply map their existing APIs to Facebook Platform (which isn’t trivial) and go. Expect to see the four major technical pieces of Facebook Platform – FMBL (markup language), FQL (query language), FJS (Javascript library) and the Facebook API to be open sourced and made available to anyone.

This is a nearly inevitable response to Open Social, which is backed by Google, MySpace and Yahoo. Open Social is also an open source platform, run by the Open Social Foundation

More details around the initiative will be announced in the next day or two.

Update: Facebook has issued the following statement about this initiative:

“We’re working on an open-source initiative that is meant to help application developers better understand Facebook Platform and more easily build applications, whether it’s by running their own test servers, building tools, or optimizing their applications. As Facebook Platform continues to mature, open-sourcing the infrastructure behind it is a natural step so developers can build richer social applications and share what they’ve learned with the ecosystem. Additional details will be released soon.”

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