It’s awesome to see them get financial support for this project. Distributed social networking is an exciting arena and I really believe that the software being created to support these types of projects is the next evolution of the web. And it won’t stop with social networking. Distributed systems that communicate with each other are what’s going to make the real time web and internet of things a reality.
We don’t have any financial backing, but we’ve built an app (alpha stage at the moment) that can be used for distributed social networking. It’s called 6d (http://get6d.com). It’s built on the PHP5/MySql stack, with HTTP and a RESTful architecture, under an MIT license, targeting commodity servers like shared hosting accounts just like WordPress. I’m grabbing my shorts, because this is going to be a hellova ride.