There is work under way to separate the diaspora federation layer, and hopefully this will lead to diaspora's federation working. As I understand it, this work will not determine what protocol diaspora uses, and may even allow diaspora to support multiple federation protocols.
Seems to me like an agreed standard for decentralised social network federation should be a major outcome that the diaspora project should be working towards - and that this needs to be something that can be used by other social networks. I think it would be really good to work with a few other distributed social networks (movim, friendica and ostatus come to mind as to my mind projects with potential) from an early stage to develop a protocol that can be flexibly and easily extended and some kind of process/foundation that becomes the agreed way of agreeing and improving this.
I'm creating this discussion so we can start thinking about a) what federation protocol we should use for diaspora, and b) how we work with other decentralised social networks to make it something that others can use
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