[Freedombox-discuss] Friendica Red

Bob Mottram bob at sluggish.dyndns.org
Tue Sep 18 22:25:02 UTC 2012

On 18.09.2012 22:48, Russell Edwards wrote:
> It still encourages people to store all their stuff on someone else's
> server, and to send copies of it the servers of Facebook and others.
> In fact, in amongst all the sweeping design improvements listed for
> Red, is the plan to "provide incentives for organisations to provide
> servers for people."

For Red (not yet released) that will be true, but for the original 
Friendica it isn't.  I've been running Friendica on a plug server now 
for two years with very few issues - even on the cutting edge repository 
version rather than the stable versions.  It does the job, and I keep 
the logs.

I think the problem which Mike identified was that there just aren't 
many people like me out there.  Although many people expressed a desire 
for decentralized federation, when it came to the crunch there were few 
takers.  The barrier to entry with regard to setting up a server is 
still too high.  It's still not completely plug and play, though 
hopefully Freedombox will fix that.

So I think the goal with Red is not full decentralization, but some 
meso-scale situation between a plug server and Facebook in which there 
could exist a business model of paying users to cover the costs of 
running a megaserver.  How well that will pan out we'll just have to 
see.  Personally, I'm sceptical about it, because the megaserver 
scenario comes with a range of additional issues - some of them legal 
ones related to data protection compliance as a "service provider".

IMHO the most practical approach is going to be the fully 
decentralized/federated personal home server scenario.  I'm an existence 
proof that it can work, and that you can run your own social network 
system for extended periods of time and keep the logs.  The main task is 
just to make that easy for the average person to install.

> When I first heard Eben Moglen's 2010 ISOC-NY speech a few weeks ago,
> it was like a belated awakening for me to face what I'd known deep
> down for years. Coming at it nearly 2 years after the fact, I 
> thought,
> great, surely "we" have just fixed it by now.  I went and deleted my
> Facebook account. No freedombox yet? No worries, I set up a home
> server, got mail going and started searching for the killer
> distributed social networking software to use... but I am yet to find
> any!

Personal tastes vary, but Friendica (not Red) is that distributed 
system you speak of.  It's easy to install on a LAMP stack.  For anyone 
with a cursory amount of technical knowhow, and who doesn't like 
Facebook, there is no excuse not to be running your own social network 

> I would rather see FreedomBox come out with no social networking than
> an imperfect solution.

I think that's not a very pragmatic approach to technology.  If you 
wait for a system to be perfect before using it then you will be waiting 
indefinitely.  Systems don't improve by magic.  They need users, user 
feedback and bug reports.

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