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OpenPhoto, a photo service for your S3 or Dropbox account's video poster

A cloud based open source photo sharing service where you own and control the photos, tags and comments. Your S3 bucket, our interface. Read more

Sunnyvale, CA Software
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pledged of $25,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on July 13, 2011.

A cloud based open source photo sharing service where you own and control the photos, tags and comments. Your S3 bucket, our interface.

Sunnyvale, CA Software
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About this project

The Deliverables

  • Build a top notch photo sharing service that stores photos, tags and comments into a users cloud service account (i.e. Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloudfiles or Dropbox)
  • Provide two versions of the service, both free - installable and hosted
  • Allow photos to be easily uploaded, searchable and shared via Email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Document the crap out of it so others can build their own OpenPhoto applications
  • Open source the installable version on Github

I can't promise the following deliverables but if we can get some additional pledges I would commit to do the following.

  • Mobile application for iPhone and Android
  • A marketplace for designers to create their own themes for free or paid
  • A community based feature request voting system
  • AMIs for easy setup on EC2
  • Many more...

The Method

I just left my job as an engineer at Yahoo! to persue this project. I'll be spending countless hours at the Hacker Dojo to build OpenPhoto.

I've been building web applications for over a decade and previously co-founded a photo sharing service I still use myself. Over the last 8 years I've learned a great deal about online photo sharing services so I'll be building the majority of this myself. I will, however, work with some awesome designers to make sure that the site looks and functions great.

Why $25,000

A portion of the money will be used to pay bills since I'm not getting my cushy paycheck from Yahoo! anymore. There are also various other expenses such as design work, space at the Hacker Dojo and lots of peanut butter, jelly and bread.

In reality this venture will cost more than $25,000 but it sounded like a good starting point. This is an ambitious project that compares to photo sharing startups who raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. $25,000 is the first of many steps. But it's the most important step and you all rock for making it happen.

The Dates

The installable source code to run your own OpenPhoto site. This will be downloadable from Github.

A hosted version of OpenPhoto where anyone can sign up for an account. You can always switch from an installed version to the hosted version and back whenever you want. Your data is made completely portable by the OpenPhoto system.

Join me in setting everyone's photos free!

You can fork the project on Github or follow us on Twitter.


  • OpenPhoto is free to use. You will have to pay for storage and bandwidth from whichever cloud service you choose. For Amazon S3 and SimpleDb the costs are roughly:

    20GB of storage ≈$2/mo
    A 250KB photo served up 4,000 times ≈$.10/mo-- ten cents
    A simpleDb database for a personal account is typically free

    That would be about $2.10 per month if you get a lot of views on your photos and store 20GB.

    Last updated:
  • When you upload photos to Flickr or Smugmug they essentially host your photos hostage. Without your account with them your photos are inaccessible. If you want to switch from one service to another it's extremely difficult to export all of your information, you're basically stuck.

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  • Yes. But you're still tied to the company you signed up with. If you signed up at Flickr, for example, you have to keep your account with them else your photos will be inaccessible and deleted. The APIs are great for additional features but they do not address the ownership problem.

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  • Amazon Web Services will be the most common since they offer both cloud file storage (S3) and cloud database (SimpleDb). Rackspace Cloudfiles and Dropbox will be the other popular options to store photos. Note that if you select either of the latter two options you'll still need something like SimpleDb to store your tags and comments.

    Last updated:
  • Adding support is as easy as adding an adapter so that the cloud service you'd like to add conforms to what OpenPhoto expects.

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  • That's why I'd like to build a hosted version of this software. It lets anyone enjoy the benefits of OpenPhoto without requiring any technical know-how.

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  • Yes. See the following tweets.!/jmathai/status/75680509363101697!/jmathai/status/75710080758202368

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  • It takes attention away from my receding hairline. Or so I think.

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    184 backers

    Beta access to the project as it progresses and status updates.

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    Pledge $25 or more

    114 backers

    Your name on a credits page that is included with the source code for OpenPhoto and linked to from the footer.

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    Pledge $50 or more

    52 backers

    Your name and a profile photo on the same page above, highlighted at the top.

  • You selected
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    28 backers

    An OpenPhoto tshirt. The logo is TBD (To Be Designed) but it'll be awesome.

    Plus everything above.

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    7 backers Limited (43 left of 50)

    Custom camera strap with the OpenPhoto name and logo. These will be sweet.

    Plus everything above.

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    13 backers Limited (12 left of 25)

    Installation / setup of the OpenPhoto service on an Amazon EC2 instance of your own.

    Plus everything above.

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    4 backers Limited (1 left of 5)

    Have an idea which you'd like implemented? This reward gives you the opportunity to pitch an idea to myself for inclusion into the project. Ultimately, I may or may not be able to include it but I'll do whatever I can to make sure you're satisfied.

    Plus everything above.

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    I will migrate your Flickr or SmugMug account to your Amazon account. Freedom never tasted so sweet.

    Plus everything above.

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    1 backer All gone!

    Anything you want. Except that. Maybe.

    Plus everything above.

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    Corporate sponsorship of OpenPhoto. Your contribution will be made publicly aware so everyone know how awesome you are. Plus everything above.

Funding period

- (30 days)