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    Epicyon - a flat file, federated, HTML/CSS-only social networking system

    Archer Ships · 4 days ago - 01:46 edit

https://epicyon.net

"Epicyon is an AGPL licensed ActivityPub protocol compliant federated social network server suitable for hosting a small number of accounts on low power systems requiring minimal maintenance, such as single board computers. It's the ActivityPub equivalent of an email server, storing posts as human readable JSON on file, rather than in a database. It also uses only a small amount of RAM.

An Internet of People, Not Corporate Agendas

Epicyon is written in Python with a HTML+CSS web interface and uses no javascript which makes display in a web browser very lightweight. It can run as a Progressive Web App on mobile. Just say "no" to boring social media sites packed with generic adverts and zombified corporate influencers."

#epicyon, #blogging, #activitypub

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    Freedom in the Cloud (ten years later)

    ericbuijs · news.movim.eu / open-source-software · Wednesday, 20 January - 12:59 edit · 2 minutes

After a conversation here on Movim yesterday I again watched the famous speech of Eben Moglen on that Friday night in 2010 at the ISOC-NY. That speech has influenced me greatly. It was the first time that I realised that client-server infrastructure of the internet is a huge problem. This very infrastructure ensured that all the data were aggregated and used (or abused) by the ones that owned the servers. At the same time the clients were being deprived of power. And that with the accumulation of servers in a data centre and he virtualisation of the servers (cloud) these owners were getting even more powerful.

I wasn't the only one that was influenced by this speech of Eben. It also marked the beginning of the development of Diaspora. As it happens some of the initial developers of Diaspora were present at that Friday night at ISOC-NY and it inspired them to build the Diaspora software.

A lot has changed the last ten years, and I will get to that, but what hasn't changed is the client-server infrastructure, the source of evil. If anything the power of ones that own the servers like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple and even Twitter has increased greatly. And as a consequence the ones working on the client side have become even more powerless. Snowden (2013) and Cambridge Analytica (2016) are just a few examples that demonstrate that this abuse of the 'architecture of the catastrophe' took directions that we (or I) couldn't have envisioned.

On the plus side since 2010 a lot of developments have started to halt this catastrophe. Some were more successful than other but it's undeniable that if someone is looking for a free (as in freedom) alternative right now a lot more options are available than 10 years ago. Also these options seem to be sustainable and rather successful. The #Fediverse with Mastodon, Pleroma, PeerTube, Funkwhale, Pixelfed, Lemmy and others has made great progress since the introduction of the #ActivityPub protocol. #XMPP has made great progress with the introduction of advanced clients like Conversations, Movim and Gajim.

It appears that #Freedombox hasn't lived up to it's expectations. The development of Freedombox was initiated by Eben and allows to set up a simple private server in your home. The last time I checked even Diaspora was not supported by Freedombox making social networking with it impossible. Luckily other initiatives have taken flight such as #Yunohost. They make it easy to self-host a server and install software for blog, chat, social networking, online storage and file sharing. Yunohost and others bring the dream of Eben closer of a peer-to-peer network instead of a client-server network.

Another noteworthy development is Scuttlebutt, a client-based peer-to-peer application for encrypted social network. Just install the app on your PC or phone (Manyverse) and communicate directly with others that installed the app.

Or Briar, a client for messaging that uses Bluetooth, WiFi and the Tor network to communicate. The need to host your own server has been replaced by simply installing an app that doesn't rely on a central server. Even if the internet is down the information keeps flowing over WiFi and Bluetooth.

Although we still live in the catastrophe that Eben spoke about there are more possibilities to escape and it appears that more and more people are discovering this. With every scandal, every update of the term of service a wave of new users appears on the networks that I mentioned above and that's something to be grateful about but it should also motivate us to keep fighting for a free (as in freedom) internet.

  • Eben Moglen - Freedom In The Cloud (2010)

    Everyone wants a piece of you these days: Google, Facebook, Flickr, Apple, AT&T, Bing. They'll give you free e-mail, free photo storage, free web hosting, even a free date. They just want to listen in. And you can't wait to let them. They'll store your stuff, they'll organize your photos, they'll keep track of your appointments, as long as they can watch. It all goes into the "Cloud" Eben Moglen is a Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia University and the founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center freedomboxfoundation.org softwarefreedom.org emoglen.law.columbia.edu

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    7 Like

    Danie van der Merwe , jynkoh , Matt , agentcasey , zenterial , Minh Le , Melvin C. McDowell

  • 3 Comments

  • 21 January ericbuijs

    @LPS thanks for the tip about Jami.

  • 27 January Matt

    Great post... THUMBS UP SIGNI really should check the People feed more often..

  • 27 January ericbuijs

    @Matt Thanks.

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    Dennis Schubert: ActivityPub - Final thoughts, one year later.

    debacle · Sunday, 13 January, 2019 - 22:46 edit · 2 minutes

Dennis Schubert: ActivityPub - Final thoughts, one year later.

Maybe Diaspora could be re-implemented using XMPP? :-)

I would like to hold XMPP up as an example, here. If you do not know XMPP, it is short for Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, a protocol for building distributed instant messaging applications. While extensibility was so important they even made it part of the protocol’s name, they did not want to end up with a runaway specification that depends on having implementers talk to each other to be working reliably.

Instead, they wrote a very strict base set of the absolute minimums required to build on XMPP, and pushed that through the IETF’s standards track, ending up with what is now RFC 6120. Acknowledging that they can never address all needs in such a strict specification document, they opened themselves for more flexibility:

This document specifies how clients connect to servers and specifies the basic semantics of XML stanzas. However, this document does not define the “payloads” of the XML stanzas that might be exchanged once a connection is successfully established; instead, those payloads are defined by various XMPP extensions. For example, [XMPP-IM] defines extensions for basic instant messaging and presence functionality. In addition, various specifications produced in the XSF’s XEP series [XEP-0001] define extensions for a wide range of applications.

They introduced XEPs, XMPP Extensions Protocols. The very first XEP ever published, XEP-0001, describes the process of getting a new XEP published to the world, and that process of that is not very hard to understand or tricky to follow. Everyone is invited to submit a proposal, you do not have to be a member of any organization, and in fact, you do not even need to maintain your own implementation. As long as your proposal follows the rules and matches the required format, it will be taken into consideration. After a proposal has been made, there is a specific chain of events, but it boils down to an open discussion on those proposals, and if there are no more doubts or things to improve, and if people agree that the proposal would be a useful thing to standardize, the proposal will eventually end up as an actual XEP.

At the time of writing, there are 151 active, draft, experimental, final, or proposed XEPs, and all of them can be found on the XMPP Standards Foundation’s website. Everyone interested in reading up on those topics, for example because they want to implement a client or a server, can find those documents there, and there is also a central infrastructure for asking questions and proposing improvements, which is open to everyone. This way, the XSF has ensured XMPP can be extended to all imaginable use cases, without ending up with watered-down or vague specifications.

If, for example, I wanted to implement an XMPP server or a client4, I could read the relevant RFCs as well as the XEPs that are relevant to my project. Some documents, like XEP-0387 for example, would even help me out deciding which XEPs are essential, by listing the things that are important when building a web client, or an advanced desktop client, or a mobile application, … There would be no need for me to talk to other XMPP server or client implementers for my implementation to work, and I could be very comfortable about the interoperability of my systems if I built them in accordance to the specifications. That is what specifications are meant to be.

#activitypub #diaspora #standards #xmpp #movim #salutatoi #xep