You may recall that back in the summer of 2009, there was a lot of hubbub over a Google 20 percent project with a near impossible name: Pubsubhubbub. Creators Brad Fitzpatrick and Brett Slatkin actually unveiled it at our Realtime Stream CrunchUp back then. And it garnered a lot of buzz for a good reason: it aimed to speed up traditionally slow feeds of information to realtime. Well, now the two are back at it again (with a few other contributors) with a new project: Camlistore.
First of all, aside from the fact that I keep typing “Camilstore”, this name is a significant improvement over the last project. It’s an acronym for “Content-Addressable Multi-Layer Indexed Storage”. But more importantly, the project once again looks to be a very interesting one. Though the team is quick to note on its homepage that it’s “not ready for users”, the site has quite a bit of information about the general hopes for the project and how they imagine it working.
So what is Camlistore? As the team’s first bullet point notes, it’s “a way to store, sync, share, model and back up content”. Farther down, they also call it your “home directory for the web”. Naturally (from these guys), it’s also entirely open source.
So it sounds like it could be a potential competitor for a few things, namely, Dropbox (and the like), Amazon S3, and MySQL. The group addresses the latter two right on the homepage. They note that it’s “not necessarily” a replacement for S3, and that it’s “not yet” a MySQL alternative. They also say it’s both “cloud” and “local”, which again sounds a bit like Dropbox, though they don’t bring up that service or any of its direct competitors.
As for the competition angle, they want to make it very clear that this is not an official Google project — as they say, it’s “not Google-centric nor endorsed by Google (other than them letting us open source our side project)”. Humorously, they also note that it’s “pro-paranoia and privacy”.
Long story short, it appears we’re going to have to wait a bit to see what it evolves into. But it certainly sounds ambitious at this point.
And it’s definitely worth following given that Fitzpatrick is not only behind Pubsubhubbub, but also Memcached (which he first developed for his startup LiveJournal), and the equally ambitious WebFinger.
The full team behind Camlistore is Brad Fitzpatrick, Brett Slatkin, Dan Erat, Evan Martin, Adam Langley, and Andrew Gerrand. And they’re encouraging others to help them out.
PubSubHubbub is an open, server-to-server web-hook-based pubsub (publish/subscribe) protocol as an extension to Atom, designed to speed up RSS and improve its competitive edge. Parties (servers) speaking the PubSubHubbub protocol can get near-instant notifications (via webhook callbacks) when a topic (Atom URL) they’re interested in is updated. These hubs are decentralized and not directly related to any specific company.
Brad Fitzpatrick originated the OpenID protocol in 2005 while working at Six Apart, which he started in 1999. He’s also known creating memcached, MogileFS (a GFS-like filesystem), djabberd (a Jabber server), Gearman (and RPC balancer), and other open source backend software. He now works at Google. Microsoft Corp was briefed under a non-disclosure agreement on the OpenID architecture by David Gale in 2004-5. Fitzpatrick claimed to be the originator of the OpenID architecture just three weeks after a formal complaint was logged...