Pete Moss is annoyed
Hubzilla Install question

  
On a scale of 1-10, how difficult is it to implement a hub for someone with only a basic knowledge of coding. Is it necessary to get stuck into manually altering config files, or is it more a matter of troubleshooting errors?

Just curious because I have a plan to create a hub and am curious how much legwork I need to do before I can safely tackle it.
  
Cool, thanks! :)
  
@Anmol Sharma has done good work on the YunoHost app for Hubzilla, but I would not agree that it is a 1 out of 10. Something like PrivateBin is a 1 out of 10. You install it and basically forget it after some simple configuration. While I have not needed to manually hack code to keep Hubzilla operational on my server, Hubzilla is a complex system that changes fairly quickly. When things break or you have questions, there is not a huge support community to help troubleshoot. The few that do help are earnest and generous with their time, but you will definitely be more self-reliant to troubleshoot, and that requires a certain level of expertise. Personally I have found it an excellent way to learn admin skills, among other things, but that is because I enjoy spending time on it.

My advice is to be bold and try it out! But only slowly increase your dependence on it in proportion to your capabilities as an administrator.
  
Thanks for the reply Andrew. It's advice I'll keep in mind going forward. :)
  
I'm considering starting a FOSS social instance for a niche interest. Right now I think Mastodon might be the best fit as it fulfils a role that another proprietary company covers in a fairly straightforward manner and would have a gentle learning curve for new users. If everything were to work out ideally, such a social ecosystem could grow to include Hubzilla as an extension building upon simple profiles and statuses.

This got me thinking and wondering if FOSS platforms like #Hubzilla and #Mastodon have greater potential serving niche or special interests instead of the public at large? I think it certainly could more easily gain traction in such instances which is why I'm considering undertaking the effort.

PS. The fact that one person can get multiple(!) social networks up and running on their own is one the truly amazing things that the future we live in is providing.
 #FOSS
  
This got me thinking and wondering if FOSS platforms like #Hubzilla and #Mastodon have greater potential serving niche or special interests instead of the public at large? I think it certainly could more easily gain traction in such instances which is why I'm considering undertaking the effort.

This is the same or at least similar reasoning to what we went through a few years ago when we rebranded RedMatrix as Hubzilla. The idea is that your social/communications network doesn't have to be one giant platform that engulfs everyone. Instead, individuals and organizations can run their own independent websites like they have since the beginning of the web as we know it,  but with a revolutionary improvement: these independent websites can seamlessly authenticate each others' members and provide access control without sacrificing their independence.

If enough "niche interest groups" adopted this system for their own purposes, they would start to see the advantages when they started interacting with people on other servers in other organizations, or when they left one niche interest to join another group and find that they can take their identity with them. Eventually, the "public at large" would even start to get it, kind of like how they eventually learned the utility of email, or visiting websites to get information.
  
That's true. Arguably what Facebook did was combining the functions that a lot of separate websites offered at the time and rolled them into a single service; redefining the web for the public masses.

My hunch is that people are becoming more likely to pay small amounts for similar types of services which are free of advetising, and that's where FOSS platforms like Hubzilla could be at an advantage.
  
Pete Moss updated their profile photo

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Pete Moss is cheerful
  
Switching.social actually is how I discovered OsmAnd and can now finally ditch Google Maps.
  
In case you need a handy resource to point people who wish to leave the $ilicon Valley walled garden, this website is not only user-freindly, bus also has great #FOSS suggestions.

switching.social – Ethical alternatives to popular sites and apps

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Ethical alternatives to popular sites and apps You can get started by clicking on the site or app you want to replace: Alternatives to Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Outlook Alternatives to WhatsApp, Messenger and Skype Alternatives to Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer/Edge Alternatives to DropBox, Google Drive and Google Docs...
  
What's a few cool things the novice can do with their server besides a personal cloud and media hosting?

No Hubzilla yet though, I'm working my way up to that :D
  
Cool! I'm gradually learning about all the things that servers can do since their purpose is to run 24/7 and provide data on demand.
  
Data backup is another useful one, if you aren't including that in "personal cloud". One of the simplest backup solutions is Syncthing (one of its many use cases).
  
Yes, after a decade of rolling the dice, I implemented #Nextcloud as a backup for my mobile device instead of Google's services. I'll check Syncthing out though. Thanks!
  
OLPC’s $100 laptop was going to change the world — then it all went wrong

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The $100 OLPC laptop was supposed to revolutionize education.
 
To me, the Sugar OS seems like the worst part of this whole affair; it made it seem like a toy or a joke. If it was running a standard Linux desktop, and Sugar was just a Qt or GTK application I think it would have been better received.

It's also really painful to see them talking about the limited capabilities of the hardware in one paragraph, and then saying that they made Sugar into a web-app in another paragraph.
  
And in addition to yellow, Musk was said to dislike too many signs in the factory and the warning beeps forklifts make when backing up, former team members said. His preferences, they said, were well known and led to cutting back on those standard safety signals.


Tesla says its factory is safer. But it left injuries off the books

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Undercounting injuries is a symptom of a larger problem: Tesla has put electric car manufacturing above safety concerns, former safety experts say.


This is an example of the dark side of tech; putting advancement above the benefit to people.
#elonmusk #tesla #tech
  
I've been exclusively using #Linux at home for over ten years!

Wow, time flies when you're having fun, eh?
  

The Full Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Pilot Episode
by Lincar Rox on Vimeo

This was pretty awesome to watch!
Ning

  
I tooted on #Mastodon the other day about Ning. The service was/is a 'white label' social network platform that lots of people used to build their own social sites for anything and everything.

#Hubzilla reminds me of that in a good way :)
  
Pete Moss is tired
On FOSS Economics

  
Something that I've been thinking of in recent days is about the economics of FOSS projects. The #Mastodon instance mastodon.cloud is having some severe service disruption issues that seem to stem from its hosting service more than anything else, but the episode serves to underline the fragility of the service. It relies on pretty much just one admin who's running things in his spare time and he's clearly not able to do so for an instance with tens of thousands of users.

What makes me wonder though is the fact that financial help from users like me wouldn't necessarily solve their problems, which in this case, appear to be technical. As FOSS software begins to transform into providing SaaS in addition to traditional roles, the issue of how projects' implementation are funded and maintained will become a more prominent issue.

It's one thing to fund a developer to write code, but its entirely different to fund infrastructure on an ongoing basis. The latter cannot have time and effort donated to it on an ad hoc basis as easily as code can. There is a need for a consistent human presence that keeps everything running smoothly. This is one area where proprietary closed source software (and very large open source) companies have an advantage in that they can simply assign employees to perform the necessary roles.

Most FOSS aren't quite so lucky and indeed, often have a single individual simultaneously running the project and its implementation. The skills and abilities needed to actually run something are quite different from building something, and I'd hazard a guess that many future FOSS projects will run into dilemmas as their success becomes entirely dependent on a successful popular implementation.

Patreon and Librepay are great tools, but are not entirely ideal for addressing the problems outlined above.

What would be useful is a standardised way of providing users (and therefore backers) with a detailed breakdown of a project's needs at any given time. If server costs are an issue, there could be a meter for that. If admin help is an issue, there could be a list of acute needs for that, if code help is needed, there are already tools available to assign roles.

Reddit's meter of daily server time paid with Reddit Gold subscriptions is a good example, as is Join Diaspora's donation meter. I think more FOSS projects that intend to operate as services should consider similar ideas to provide users with a better understanding of the resources needed to keep the lights on. Most internet users aren't willing or able to host their own and in the absence of an easy way to do so, they will rely on others to do handle toe nitty gritty details for them. Transparency is important, and as we're all aware, knowing what you're getting in return is always desirable, especially if your data and/or privacy isn't part of the bargain.
  
Had to migrate my #Mastodon account.

I'm now here: https://mstdn.io/@PeteMoss
  
I have thoughts on the economics of FOSS projects but will have to post them later.
  

Something For Nothing
by MFSB - Topic on YouTube

Some of you may recognize the melody from a rather different song by Jay-Z but this is the original by MFSB.
 music
Some Uses that Hubzilla is Ideal For

  
Now that I've explored Hubzilla a bit and gotten used to it, I began to think of some uses that it would be ideal for. We're all familiar with the usual social media mantra of 'bring people closer together' and ' making the world a better place'; you know, the usual Silicon Valley nonsense that has long proven both stale and wrong. FOSS tends to be different though, and one of the things that attracts me to the concept is that it exists for the sake of putting knowledge to use, and not letting the results be subject to restrictions.

Hubzilla is a social network, but like similar FOSS projects, it doesn't have a marketing team that attempts to persuade (or manipulate, depending on your point of view) new users into signing up. Which means that it can be tricky for uninitiated users to know what it is and how they can obtain its benefits without expending the energy to sign up and explore. What helps is if such new users are aware of a clearly defined use for the service that serves as a beacon to guide them to the service and their initial foray into it.

With that in mind, here's a few uses for Hubzilla that I think it's ideal for and could serve as selling points to wider engagement.

1. Neighbourhood Hubs
My local neighbourhood association (not a HOA thank goodness) uses Path as a way of sharing information between members and as a way of organizing and promoting local community events. Path is proprietary and despite its marketed restricted nature, also harvests user data. Hubzilla is more than capable of fulfilling the community functions that Path does, and membership to the hub could easily be restricted to users within a geographical area, without limiting their ability to interact with users on other neighbourhood hubs. Hubzilla could easily function as the local news (and gossip) source, a bulletin board, a community calendar, and a forum for discussing neighbourhood issues.

2. Organization Hubs
The premise of a social network for an organization of any kind can seem rather unappetizing. It's kind of like when a company creates a social network for employees and only the most brown-nosing in the ranks sign up. Yet some organizations could benefit from running a hub as a productivity tool instead of a social one. The file-sharing abilities of Hubzilla would be useful, and integrating other FOSS communication and productivity tools like #Matrix would only enhance and extend those abilities.

3. Club Hubs
One of the great aspects of Hubzilla is that users can reside on more than one hub, but can choose a primary hub and federate from there. For entities like clubs, Hubzilla would be a great way to provide a central point for members and non-members alike. There could be a public-facing channel, and a private one for members. Akin to the neighbourhood benefits listed above, clubs could benefit from the social, organizational, file sharing, and photo sharing abilities. Think of the benefits of Facebook's pages but with much better member cohesion.

These are just a few ideas for what Hubzilla is ideally suited for. I'm sure there are many others, but it's worth considering as the platform grows.
  
I'd like to add one.

4. Family Hub
Hubzilla can be used to share photos, schedule events, and status updates with family members. Keep a central repository and webpage of genealogical information that everyone can access.
  
I wrote this post yesterday, and today I notice the @tenant-hoa account was created...
 
I'll say a great thing that Hubzilla has going for it is the demo server, for projects with no marketing it is really important to easily show that your system actually functions. The start.hubzilla.org is then almost like a tier II demo, where you can easily make an account and become more familiar with how things work in Hubzilla land.
  
Pete Moss is cranky