[Freedombox-discuss] Software as Data, Transformation as a Service

John Gilmore gnu at toad.com
Wed Aug 15 07:47:12 UTC 2012

> Lionel Dricot [0], Dr. Daniel Smith [1, 2], Michiel de Jong [3], Mike
> Macgirvin [4], and Markus Sabadello [5] seem to have come to similar
> conclusions: having a bunch of semi-interoperable applications that do
> the same thing but don't share their data is wasted effort and added
> complexity (it's "silly").  When applications can share their data store
> and give the privilege, responsibility, and complexity of storing their
> data to a separate data layer, writing applications becomes a lot easier
> and the applications themselves become more reliable, flexible, and
> under the user's control.

The One Laptop Per Child includes a shared text editor that
works in realtime, based on AbiWord, and which uses the Telepathy
"tubes" sharing interface.  See:


This code was also eventually released in the mainstream AbiWord
version 2.9.1 in 2011, as part of the "Collaboration plugin":


Despite that last link, this is not a web-based service; two or more
users of AbiWord can collaborate directly via TCP (without using any
server as an intermediary), or can collaborate via a Jabber/XMPP
chatroom (using an XMPP server), or via LAN multicast using the Salut
local-area shared chat protocol (no server).

This AbiWord collaboration is a different thing than multiple people
editing separate copies of a document and then sending their revised
copies to each other for merging, git-style.  Instead, the editor
program sends each tiny change to each other shared instance of the
editor, as the changes are made, so all can see the same document
within seconds of each change being made.  But at the same time, this
model requires that everyone who's sharing be online at once, which
the git-model does not require.  I think the world has uses for both
models, and wouldn't it be lovely to have a word processor that did

I'm not totally sure what this discussion has to do with FreedomBox,
since the FreedomBox is a server that sits unobtrusively in a corner,
not something that runs software and a GUI in the machine in front of
the user.  A FreedomBox could be a back-end server (and could help to
form a network of federated servers) in such a document-sharing
protocol, but to be useful and visible to a FreedomBox user, we would
still need a separate front-end GUI program that ran on the user's
tablet or laptop or phone or whatever.


More information about the Freedombox-discuss mailing list