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

Melvin Carvalho melvincarvalho at gmail.com
Thu Sep 6 16:49:30 UTC 2012

On 6 September 2012 02:18, Dr. Daniel Alexander Smith <ds at ecs.soton.ac.uk>wrote:

> On 14 Aug 2012, at 16:35, Nick M. Daly <nick.m.daly at gmail.com> wrote:
> > In short: we have several groups of folks working on problems of
> > standardized, distributed, and data-centric applications.  Why aren't we
> > cooperating, or at least communicating, about our problems and
> > observations?
> >
> > ----
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Here, we have several communities with at least a few dozen people
> > working in this problem space, so we should try to communicate and
> > cooperate on our shared goals.  In this world of limited resources and
> > volunteered time, there's no greater sin than duplicated effort.
> >
> > I believe that the Unhosted, WebBox, and Friendica projects are furthest
> > along in their work, and it'd be interesting to hear which pieces
> > they've completed.  We could then start getting ideas of how everything
> > can interact, cross project.  Some FreedomBox tools, like Exmachnia [6]
> > (and, to a lesser extent, FreedomBuddy [7]), might also be useful here.
> >
> > I'd love to hear any thoughts you folks have on this subject.
> >
> > Thanks for your time,
> > Nick
> >
> > 0: http://ploum.net/post/freasy-future-for-gnome
> > 1: https://github.com/danielsmith-eu/webbox
> > 2: http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~mvk/webbox-pim.pdf
> > 3: http://unhosted.org/manifesto.html
> > 4: http://friendica.com/node/24
> > 5: http://projectdanube.org/
> > 6: Exmachnia is a tool to allow maintainable, system-wide automated
> >   configuration from any front-end.
> > 7: FreedomBuddy is location-ignorant location tool: it lets friends keep
> >   communicating despite constant motion through both IP- and
> >   meat-space, without relying on third parties.
> Hi Nick, Everyone,
> I am indeed the main developer on WebBox. Since the original e-mail I've
> looked into the other software, and have started on developing
> compatibility with RemoteStorage. Specifically I've implemented WebDAV
> (almost entirely, more than is required by RemoteStorage), and WebFinger.
> I'm almost there with OAuth2, but some important deadlines have stalled
> this, but it should be there around mid-October.
> I agree that fragmentation and duplicated effort is a bad thing, and I
> want to do what I can to prevent it on the WebBox front.
> We have some particular offerings, in terms of the methods of
> WebBox-to-WebBox sharing communication that seem to be unique, and I will
> want to push those ideas into some form of standard way to doing machine to
> machine sharing (all using existing protocols of course).
> Freedombox is definitely a driver for us, and has been heavily referenced
> in our meetings, although we're not as au fait with the hardware (dream
> plug?) as the mailing list is - we're not involved with any hardware in
> terms of our own remit, so I'm happy to push to whatever makes sense,
> although I should say that I do have a couple of Raspberry Pis here that
> I've been enjoying playing with.
> We're almost at a point where we will want to tackle things like WebBox
> communication through NAT, using changing IPs and NAT-to-NAT broadband type
> things - so for us, any help in that area will be welcome. If I can avoid
> burning our own cycles on that kind of development, that would be great, as
> it's not really an area we're particularly into (and, selfishly, not an
> area I'm confident in submitting research papers into! I'm doing this under
> my academic research hat at the moment.)
> In conclusion, thanks for the update, I completely agree that we do need
> better communications. I for one have subscribed to the freedombox list.
> I wouldn't mind a new list/organisation that for just for "us" though -
> perhaps the RWW group as Melvin Carvalho suggested, would be a good place
> to start? The WebBox history aligns with this quite well, as we did start
> WebBox in TimBL's office at W3C/CSAIL.

You're very welcome to use the RWW list to help develop ideas.  We're about
60 like minded people now, it's a pretty clued up group, and timbl is a
member.  You should try and drop by his office again if you get a chance,
he's brilliant at getting to the heart of a problem.

In any case, would definitely like to keep track of WebBox and glad to see
progress! :)

> Sorry for the wall of text! I'll keep an eye on this list in the mean
> time, and I encourage any ideas of how we can merge our efforts (and I'll
> try to reply in a more timely manner!).
> Best,
> Dan
> --
> Dr. Daniel Alexander Smith
> Research Fellow
> Scalable Semantic Web Interfaces
> Web and Internet Science Research Group
> Electronics and Computer Science
> University of Southampton
> http://danielsmith.eu/
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