[Freedombox-discuss] Sunday HackFest

Melvin Carvalho melvincarvalho at gmail.com
Mon May 11 01:39:48 UTC 2015

On 20 February 2011 at 19:59, Michiel de Jong <michiel at unhosted.org> wrote:

> Hi all,
> > trying to hack together an experimental version of the freedombox in a
> virtual server image,
> > with whoever wants to join in. The starting point will be this:
> > http://pagekite.net/community/DebianFB/ [...] and the goals will be
> this:
> > http://www.freedomboxfoundation.org/goals/
> People are still actively discussing the 7 goals set by the
> freedomboxfoundation in the IRC channel, but I have to leave, so as
> promised, here is a little round-up email of today's Sunday Hackfest. This
> email describes my personal findings, it is not an attempt to reflect
> everybody's opinions, nor everything that was said. A better source for
> that would be: http://titanpad.com/3LsfCMplSR which was/is the working
> document we used and are using. Also, people that were, and still are, in
> the IRC channel today, please add any info to this email thread. Also, if
> you see anything incorrect here, or biased (as i'm sure is inevitable),
> please correct it.
> I didn't produce a next snapshot of the virtual machine, because
> everything is still in such an exploratory phase. Instead, the product
> (from my side) of today's Hackfest would be the following "draft", which
> more or less in words describes what should be on the freedombox for it to
> accomplish its 7 goals:
> 1) Safe social networking, in which, without losing touch with any of your
> friends, you replace Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and other centralized
> services with privacy-respecting federated services;
> -> I looked into this one. I think many of the open source distributed
> social networks out there "replace Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and other
> centralized services with privacy-respecting federated services". There is
> a choice between xmpp federation and OStatus federation. The tricky part is
> "without losing touch with any of your friends", which means an aggregator
> for both free and non-free social networks. I looked at diaspora, but their
> current solution is not feasible. It relies on registering an api key with
> Facebook, and although this makes sense if there are, say, 100 diaspora
> nodes in the world, it does not make much sense if there are millions. I
> also investigated facebook-notify, which uses OAuth to be a read-client for
> facebook. It only displays notifications (not lower-priority news), but I'm
> sure it should be possible to write a client that OAuths against facebook
> to read and write, much like a twitter client. I will continue to look into
> this.

Thanks for the report.  Re: federation, OStatus was pushed about 5 years
ago, and arguably it didnt achieve the adoption it would have liked, even
the creators have now moved on to pump.io and activity pump.  Pretty much
no one was able to get the core use case of SWAT0 to work
interoperability.  IMHO it has technical weaknesses, one of which is
webfinger, which has lost a lot of popularity.  Systems like mediagoblin
are moving on with their federation.  OStatus is starting to feel legacy.
XMPP federation could be a nice to have if XMPP is already on freedombox,
but it does solve limited use cases.

The W3C social web WG is working on standardizing an API, with 3
candidates: activitypump, indieweb and SoLiD.  I was in paris last week to
talk to the folks there.

Each has pros and cons.  And they are not mutually exclusive.  Things are
undecided at this point.

Activity Streams 2.0 seems to be the most solid deliverable that's on

My personal preference here for SoLiD to be supported, for federation, if
possible.  I believe some folks are looking into an integration with
freedombox, so maybe that's a path to look down.

[1] https://linkeddata.github.io/SoLiD/

> 2) Secure backup: Your data automatically stored in encrypted format on
> the Freedom Boxes of your friends or associates, thus protecting your
> personal data against seizure or loss;
> -> this doesn't seem to require much thought. Just a cronned rsync job
> would already do the trick. You would have to have a user interface where
> you request and allow backups from/to friends that you know from meatspace.
> maybe use PGP's WoT, or out-of-band passwords for confirmation. Nobody is
> currently actively looking into this.
> 3) Network neutrality protection: If your ISP starts limiting or
> interfering with your access to services in the Net, your Freedom Box can
> communicate with your friends to detect and route traffic around the
> limitations. Network censorship is automatically routed around, for your
> friends in societies with oppressive national firewalls, or for you;
> -> i think this can only be done with a wifi mesh. Volunteers for looking
> into this?
> 4) Safe anonymous publication: Friends or associates outside zones of
> network censorship can automatically forward information from people within
> them, enabling safe, anonymous publication;
> -> this is the one we talked most about in #freedombox at irc.oftc.net, i
> think. freenet and gnunet were generally considered too young by some. Tor
> was highly regarded, but it needs to be combined with some sort of
> mirroring. Nobody is currently actively looking into this (although many
> people were talking about it).
> 5) Home network security, with real protection against intrusion and the
> security threats aimed at Microsoft Windows or other risky computers your
> network;
> -> willma is looking into this one, and also into general detection
> intrusion and security hardening. Willma indicated that this goal needs
> some clarification as to what its author means.
> 6) Encrypted email, with seamless encryption and decryption;
> -> this can easily be done with SquirrelMail. Somebody could experiment
> with setting this up, with the automatic PGP key generation and everything.
> Volunteers?
> 7) Private voice communications: Freedom Box users can make
> voice-over-Internet phone calls to one another or to any phone. Calls
> between Freedom Box users will be encrypted securely;
> -> Asterisk has been mentioned. Any volunteers for experimenting with this?
> Next week I'll do another Sunday Hackfest with whoever wants to join, and
> I think we can make it a regular thing.
> Cheers,
> Michiel
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