On the question of IoT where Stallman recommends abstinence, that's possible now but I don't think it will be in another five or ten years. So it is worth thinking about how small computers everywhere will impact software freedom. Surveillance Capital plus IoT does not seem like an equation with a good outcome.

Remember what Stallman did ~30 years ago when proprietary software dominated, he didn't recommended abstinence he came up with a positive answer aka Free Software. We need to do the same with today's evolving technology (cloud, saas, IoT, whatever). Ignoring it will change nothing we have to get engaged and shape it in a freedom and privacy respecting way.

@bjoern @bob We need an easy self-hosting platform for the server side that works in the cloud, on a local appliance, or on any random hardware one has laying around, and we need a platform for the hardware itself, with built-in autoupdate.

@bjoern @bob NextCloud and FreeNAS have the right structure IMO, though we want a full OS like FreeNAS.

@seanl @bjoern @bob building a cloud platform that is based on real people trusting eachother e.g. PGP? Trusted cloud parties would be fun like signing parties

@faxmodem @bjoern @bob I do think there are lots of applications for a published web of trust that contains metadata on WHAT people trust one another to do.

@faxmodem @bjoern @bob IMO this is one of the things that has hobbled PGP: aside from the advanced technique of assigning trust levels, which are still one dimensional, signing an identity means only one thing: that everything in the identity belongs to the person who controls the primary key. It doesn't mean you trust the person not to hack into your computer and steal all your Bitcoins.

It's a shame that Keybase isn't fixing this.

@bjoern @bob to an extent, fast home broadband provides a way out in the 5-10 year timeframe. Alternatives you can run in your own home with (hooray) federation have value here, and working on making that the norm is part of a reasonable escape strategy.

Obviously, ISPs can always block/charge extra for the "privilege" of having ports open to make this possible, which is an evolving arms race and possibly one being lost in general at present.

@lupine @bjoern It depends where you live and what software you're running. So long as they're not being actively blocked anyone could run a Pleroma and XMPP server from home on low cost hardware.

@bob @lupine @bjoern
if they're not behind a carrier-grade NAT. Also, having a dynamic IP doesn't help.

@Wolf480pl @bob @bjoern agreed. IPv6 is the unfulfilled promise at present.

Worst case, we can always set up a community TCP gender-changer service, but I'd really rather not.

@bjoern @bob is RMS *really* recommending full *abstinence* as or the tech equipvalent of not drinking cheap sprits full with fusel oil and wood alcohol (that will make you ill?)

there are many useful embedded systems that can be linked to a local network for building/environment control etc, often not as much need for much of the data to cross firewalls or only one-way monitoring is really needed, or if data must go outside (or on public radio frequencies) it should be encrypted..

@vfrmedia @bjoern @bob the problem is that people are very intimidated by the perspective of using a self-hosted service - people are intimidated by the perspective of using Linux instead of Windows/macOS! At least that’s what I see when I talk to my friends.

IMMV, we should focus on (1) making running NextCloud as simple as signing up to Dropbox and (2) hyping it so that people will *want* these solutions - FUD hasn’t worked so far; people just don’t care.

@fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

maybe that is a wider problem of the "RTFM/Wontfix" culture of a lot of FOSS "communities" that is often hostile to non techies (more so than commercial software)

it is literally only in this last year with the advent of Mastodon I've seen a consensus of people actively wanting to change things for the better, yet I have been using FOSS for 20 years (and I still don't know 100% how to use git properly 😆 )

@vfrmedia @bjoern @bob I think you’re spot on on the RTFM-culture...
Even in regards to Mastodon I see my non-techie friends totally lost. They just go “oh, it will be a lot of hassle to choose an instance etc., and everybody is already on FB...”

If there was a hype around all this, people would want to move, even if a bit difficult at first - these people get around to using SnapChat, which can get more confusing than Git! haha

I agree that alternatives have to be accessible to be anything more than a marginal niche. Try reading Nextcloud's installation instructions from the eyes of anyone not in system administration: it's complete gibberish to me. You can imagine it can't be automated or simplified, but then you come across something like Mail In A Box, and one script sets up a mail server AND Nextcloud. That's what we need.
@fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

@eladhen @fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

this has worked to an extent with VOIP (especially Asterisk and FreePBX) but what has happened over the years is the two projects become competitors or their devs disagree over how things should be done and only begrudging co-operators both are trying to also fund their own commercial solutions) and it gets progressively harder to set up "bare metal" system as both are nudging you towards (paid for) cloud services (a lot of projects seem to go this way)

@vfrmedia @bob @bjoern @fredmbarros @eladhen I appreciate this conversation. This is something I talk about a lot (as many of you are well aware) and I’m glad to know I’m not alone in seeking solutions.

@ajroach42 @eladhen @fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

also Linux is *not* an "instant gratification" setup (even with an RPi which is arguably one of the easiest things to get started with but still easy to go wrong).

Now there is the UEFI (including flawed implementations) and not always as much info freely shared on what hardware is compatible (unless you want to spend a few hundred $/£/$ on a new server which not everyone can afford, or its the blog of a site selling the h/w)

Yep. And even after going through with the installation, some in the Linux "community" will berate you for using a "basic" distro like ...
@ajroach42 @fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

@eladhen @vfrmedia @ajroach42 @bjoern @bob that’s precisely it: the FOSS community should work to make it all more accessible and cool. I know it borders on ridiculous, but that’s what people pay attention to: being cool to do/use.
There’s a project called NextCloudPi that consists in an image of a NextCloud installation ready for the RPi. It’s things like that that make it accessible, but still we have to show it to our friends.

@fredmbarros @bjoern @ajroach42 @vfrmedia @eladhen I do agree that FOSS could use more general promotion, preferably from people who are not software engineers. We should avoid too much cool kids stuff because in that past that didn't go so well, but if we could find the next generation of Jono Bacon - someone who can talk about Free Software and play guitar in a livestream - then that could certainly help. Preferably someone who could potentially be a role model yet still remain humble.

Promotion is one thing, but actual tools for home users with no sysadmin knowledge is even more important.
@fredmbarros @bjoern @ajroach42 @vfrmedia

@eladhen @vfrmedia @bjoern @fredmbarros @bob documentation, a desire to learn, and comprehensible software are prerequisites for the revolution.

@eladhen @vfrmedia @ajroach42 @bjoern @fredmbarros FOSS on the desktop is a done deal. It's not 2005 anymore. Servers and userops is more challenging though.

Linux on the desktop is not done, but it's pretty good. Now we need easy to use self-hosting solutions.
@vfrmedia @ajroach42 @bjoern @fredmbarros

@bob @eladhen @ajroach42 @bjoern @fredmbarros

for servers/userops people need to be shown it is not so difficult.

No more than putting a rear rack (if the mounting holes are already there) and set of panniers on your bicycle or adding extra lights/speed display etc.

Its not even as if you are getting a box with frame, wheels, chain all separate and have to build them (though some people can still do that if they wish).

@bob @eladhen @ajroach42 @bjoern @fredmbarros

ofc you still need some *basic* knowledge (such as 700c wheels will not usually fit on a frame made for 26") but there is a lot of good, reliable info both online and in dead tree format.

Also many are (understandably) still scared to ride as the roads can be dangerous, but again helpful people can warn you via social media what is good safety gear, where to avoid and what are good routes..

@vfrmedia @bob @eladhen @ajroach42 @bjoern well, what I’ve been doing is give some friends a thumb drive with Ubuntu MATE with persistence in it. Then they can slowly try it and see there’s absolutely no need of Windows or macOS for everyday usage - browsing the internet, some word processing, listening to music, accessing social media and YouTube/Netflix. It seems to be working, but that’s it: Ubuntu Mate is a user friendly distro.

Well, this shows some of the developers bias, but as a user in predominantly Hebrew speaking environment (which is a language written right to left), a live usb would be cool, but it wont be ready to use. There are several things to tweak to get everything working well with Hebrew. But I have installed Linux Mint for several of my friends, including the needed setup.
@vfrmedia @bob @ajroach42 @bjoern

@eladhen @fredmbarros @bob @ajroach42 @bjoern

I suspect any non-US user is likely to experience the same on initial setup - in Britain the " and @ would be wrong way round, other Europeans would be missing accented characters for their language - but all this happens on a new user install of WIndows too (even when Redmonds telemetry means it *knows* what country the user is in!)

RTL languages add a layer of headache to the whole thing. As for Windows — installing it is ten times the headache of installing Mint, Ubuntu or even Debian. But, of course, most people never do that.
@fredmbarros @bob @ajroach42 @bjoern

@eladhen @fredmbarros @bob @ajroach42 @bjoern

its quite common though for a Windows machine (whether or not on a domain) to be shared between endusers all with their own user profile.

With Win10 every time you set up a new one it defaults to the USA keyboard layout, on a desktop machine (which isn't going anywhere) where Maps even shows it correctly in the UK!

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I tried several times to understand what I need to do to install Nextcloud. Everything I could find assumed a lot of prior knowledge I don't have. But apparently, Mail in a box could install it with a script. Knowledge is great, but I want sudo (package manager) install nextcloud to get me the thing up and running. Or better, have a GUI where you click to get it set up.
@bob @ajroach42 @bjoern @fredmbarros

@eladhen @fredmbarros @bjoern @ajroach42 @vfrmedia At one time Owncloud was like that on Debian. You could install it with the package manager. But the thing is that just installing the software is usually not enough. There's the web configuration, obtaining a domain name and certificate, port forwarding for nat traversal. All of those things are obstacles to self-hosting.

Mail in a box has a tutorial for all of that. Nextcloud assumes you're a sysadmin and do that twice before lunch.
@fredmbarros @bjoern @ajroach42 @vfrmedia

looks like they've already shipped their previous router - Turris Omnia, so they're less likely to fail IMO.
OTOH, only one mPCIE could be a problem if you want both 3G/LTE and WiFi.
They seem to be able to include additional wifi in the MOX A module, not sure how that works tho.
Turris Omnia is IMO cooler, but it's pretty expensive, and the price of a single Turris MOX module is much lower.

@vfrmedia @bob @eladhen @ajroach42 @bjoern @fredmbarros
From what I've seen, many of the projects that intend to make self-hosting something easier end up making appliances. Which means they're easy to use, but not user-friendly.

Do you know of any successful attempts to make setting up something complex (of similar complexity to nextcloud) achievable to users while being user-friendly and encouraging the users to learn?
Something that did it right, so that we could learn from it?

@bob @bjoern @ajroach42 @vfrmedia @eladhen I’m not a software engineer and I can play the guitar, but I’m not cool nor have the communication skills of JB... :-P

I would like to know what you mean by cool kids stuff. Just curiosity. What happened in the past? Anyway I was thinking about something that people find to be interesting, “in”, to do. Not something that kids who write hacker with a 4 instead of a like doing.

@fredmbarros @eladhen @vfrmedia @ajroach42 @bjoern

By cool kids stuff I mean cultivating a rockstar persona with adoring groupies and a giant ego. So as not to get too controversial an example of that from the distant past would be someone like John Draper.

What we want are people who can entertain and inspire, but not turn into cult leaders.


I see. But I’d like to know about the more controversial cases too! Haha

I don’t know much about FOSS-people. As I said, I’m not a programmer or sysadmin. Having started way back on an Apple II, then on MS-DOS and so on, I got into free software and Linux in 2009-10, but it has been a totally individual endeavor until about two years ago, when I started listening to Linux-related podcasts etc.

@eladhen @vfrmedia @ajroach42 @bjoern

I think calling accessibility "instant gratification" might be an attempt to color it morally inferior. We're in danger of staying alone on our higher moral ground...
@vfrmedia @ajroach42 @fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

@eladhen Well that dpends on what @vfrmedia meant by "instant gratification".

My point is that instant gratification, as employed by socnets, is harmful and causes addiction and procrastination.

If we mean something less harmful, we should use a different term.

If we mean the exact same harmful patter that socnets use, then we should think twice whether we actually want it.

@ajroach42 @fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

@eladhen @Wolf480pl @ajroach42 @fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

to me accessibility means a different thing (for both FOSS and proprietary systems), its use by those with medical conditions (eyesight. hearing, mobility etc)

something I am very interested in as I work in tech for healthcare (and am not getting any younger myself!

What I meant wrt FOSS deployment is "learning curves", and also that you may often need *another* computer to look up things to make the FOSS system work well (or at all)

@vfrmedia @eladhen @ajroach42 @fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

Back in the days of WinXP, you had to either prepare the network (and maybe video) drivers on your disk or USB stick before installation, or needed another computer to download the drivers and transfer them via usb stick.

With Linux you don't need drivers, you just need instructions on how to set up network. So it's not worse. OTOH, regular users usually didn't install WinXP on their own.

@Wolf480pl @eladhen @ajroach42 @fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

those are good, and should be made easier to find. (I'm thinking of situation not of us techies, but a young person around mid teens, who has an interest in tech, and whose family cannot yet afford multiple devices (or they have to be shared with siblings etc).

But they are likely to be attending high school, which should be a good place to get access to other machines/printers. (I think using FOSS *should* be taught more at school)

@Wolf480pl @bob @bjoern @fredmbarros @ajroach42 @eladhen @vfrmedia

That's if you are lucky and have ethernet. WiFi still sometimes needs extra drivers.
I had to plug in a USB WiFi dongle for my sister's laptop because the internal Broadcom chip didn't work and transferring the package through a pendrive didn't work for some reason.

So we need more developers doing what does — "cutting the red tape" of jargon, and making simple installations, among other things.
@fredmbarros @bjoern @bob

@bjoern @bob that is correct, but IMO there is something missing. Free Software mostly has failed to identify why proprietary software came to be, why it became the norm and why free software development and more ethical technologies still struggle to thrive to this day.

The reason why software freedom is still at stake today is not because of some moral issues but because there are systemic incentives to go the other direction.

@bjoern @bob My 2 cents here.

1) DRM compounds the proprietary software issue and software freedom can't break into the mainstream without defeating it first.
2) If we can fully exploit it, p2p & federated systems have usability advantages we can use to make it mainstream.
3) Computation is cheap enough now that true SaaSS has no reason to exist, it's just newfangled properietary software. One we have to be more nuanced to identify.

@bjoern @bob

4) IOT cannot be made freedom respecting (or in the future it might not be possible to avoid) without regulation and/or hardware companies on our side entering the space.

@bjoern @bob I'm not so sure proprietary software dominated as much as a lot of it was tied to hardware products.

On the other side was the hacker culture, in rms's case coming from ITS. That was a completely open system, where even the idea of a user password was seen as something bad. He wanted to make sure that open community was not stopped by the rise of proprietary software.

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