Not alpha is an understatement. I'm going to ignore diaspora for at least a year and then I'll see if it even still exists. So far, it's a rails based nightmare of installation requirements conflicts, and the operators who claim to have it running WILL NOT say how they got theirs working. All installation instructions fail on requirements conflicts, and in two instances, the directions are flat out wrong.
Ruby/Rails is not very successful at all. In fact, statistically it's a recipe for failure. This site documents the "Top 50" rails sites, and note that all these sites basically suck.
Sure, you can write games in Java, and you'd better keep them small because they'll be slow as hell. Sure, you can write web apps in Rails, but you'd better be a hell of a debugger or it won't do anything, and when it works it'll still be shit.
There are good reasons why most servers run Apache, why most programmers use C++, and so on. They work best. NEW does not equal BEST or even slightly better. Rails is a newer language, but it's got undeniable weaknesses, and I see it as most useful for programming advertising than making good websites that'll be robust.
If you can't write games in C++, don't bother. C#? Please, get a real language and call me in the morning. Any "language" that requires .net to work is crippled by default, and .net adds in all sorts of security holes. Again, people use C++ because it IS the BEST. There's no fanboi cheering here, it's simply put one of the strongest languages you can use for gaming.
Don't like it? Tough. Tell it to Quake, Blizzard, or anyone - so they can laugh at you. Real programmers use compiled code. Friends don't let friends script. Java won't be ready to replace C++ until processors can top 100Ghz or more, and are widespread. Even then, if it's not open sourced, I won't use it.
C++ has no secrets. The source is there. It remains the best compiler worldwide by popularity and security, by utility, by power, and almost any other metric I can think of. In fact, only by crafting specially designed metrics that favor Java or another language, can you even compare other languages to C++ and have them come out on top. In short, they shill.
Diaspora is doomed to suck. There are alternatives, however, and I'll be on the team that proves it. I've been down the PHP highway and seen the scripting insecurities and code failures. I've seen entire sites locked up due to a PHP error. I've seen unskilled hackers take them over. I'm done with that, with playing with broken toys.
What people need is a website that allows socializing, allows the user full control over themselves, and prevents hostile activity. That's really all people seem to want, and have yet to find.
You want to play stupid games like farmville? Go back to AOL. If you want to game, cough up a few bucks and play WoW or SC2 or Sims or whatever you like. Websites are still not up to that, mainly due to bandwidth and processor limitations. That's not going to change soon, and that's not the primary purpose of the 'nets. Gaming is too intensive even for most machines, and you sure don't want to try to play SC2 over a dialup connection. I've seen WoW lag on my FiOS connection.
People use the internet to communicate. It is a form of telecommunication, and is in fact using telco technology. That is its origin. Sure, you can game over the nets, but not very well. Internet use is designed for static pages and limited two-way data. You can stream one way, but not so well bidirectionally. Most people only have 1/10th the upload capacity of their download stream!
Now, this could change in the next few years, but more people will still use the internet for communications than intensive gaming. Even in WoW, the most common activity is standing there chatting. I've watched five teens play it in a gaming cafe, and over four hours of observation, they spent about half their time just talking. About a quarter of their time was spent running. The rest was game activity, fighting, leveling, building, etc.
HTML 5.0 has brought about some wonderful new possibilities, and Diaspora has made zero effort to utilize any of it. Facebook is too hateful, and with a tool like Zuckerfool running it, I doubt that people will ever be loyal to it. Myspace was the lead dog for a while, and look how fast everyone ditched it. Before that it was Livejournal. I went on LJ last week, and I hadn't been there in years. 25% of my contacts no longer existed, and half the rest hadn't been on LJ in 12 months or more. It's a ghost town.
Something new will come along that actually works better, and replace Facebook just as easily as it replaced Myspace. I have no worry about that, and it's just the waiting for it that bugs me. I've been ready to move on since before it got popular, because Z-man had the supreme idiocy to state publicly that he doesn't believe in privacy - even though he guards his privacy zealously. Do as I say, not as I do, Zuckertool?
The revelation that he probably stole the technology from friends only highlights how the media turns spoiled privileged people into celebrities overnight, while ignoring people who do more important work. Despite probable criminal origins, FB is constantly promoted in our corporate media. It's a game of who can be the best whore. I'm not interested.
I do hope that an open source solution evolves. I'd like to see a website that doesn't blow goats like Diaspora's does.