Follow

The Small Web isn’t about going back to the days of GeoCities. It’s about going forward differently, using modern tech in a non-colonial manner.

It’s not about building clones of Twitter, YouTube, etc. There’s no way anyone can self-host a dozen different services. Instead, it’s about having a single-tenant place on the Web that you own and control without technical knowhow; a place you can add Twitter, YouTube, etc., *features* to.

small-tech.org/research-and-de

@aral
Not everyone can manage self hosting. Ultimately, the problems come down to modern software being to brittle, having too many bugs, and not being user friendly enough. It's sad because you're right, we shouldn't be paying with our freedom–but the reality is in order for someone to have access to modern services someone needs to be patching/updating/debugging/tweaking and paying.

@awaspnest Your first sentence is exactly what I’m saying in my post :)

@awaspnest (That doesn’t mean we built multi-tenant services. It means we build a single-tenant service that can be set up and used without technical knowhow. And then we make it so that the mechanism for doing that can be hosted by anyone with technical knowhow. And further, we make it so they can do so sustainably within the current socioeconomic system and in the better one we hope systems like this will help usher in…)

@aral
I've only poked around on your website a bit, but you're making a web application right? I think just running a debian server with nodejs on it is well beyond the reach of most people (In order to host sitejs). But maybe I'm missing something?

@awaspnest When it’s ready this will be your experience:

1. Go to small-web.org
2. Choose a name
3. Either pay €10/mo (or maybe, for example, your municipality will give you a code, so enter that instead.)

In under 30 seconds you’re up and running with your own place on the web.

(And anyone with tech knowledge can run their own small-web.org at their own domain. And you can easily move your place from one domain/host to another.)

Very early demo: small-tech.org/videos/small-is

@aral @awaspnest once it's a bit further along, I would love to offer this as part of nixnet.services!

@amolith @awaspnest Neat! I’m trying to make it as easy as possible for you to do so with Domain and would love your thoughts and feedback when it’s a little further along (it’s going to take me a week to two to create the first version of NodeKit and swap that into Domain so I have a bit of infrastructural yak shaving to do before concentrating on Domain itself again.)

@aral
I think this is all good until there's a zero day: Who's doing the updates and patches? Yes you can automate setups, but maintenance? It seems like at that point you're just running a platform with more steps. I really like the concept, I'm just a little pessimistic given my own experiences (as a reasonably skilled computer person) in making generally useful Webservices. Still I'll keep an eye on it.

@awaspnest @aral well you're paying minimal rent for those zero-days and electricity

@aral
Also, and maybe I missed this somewhere, but you should copy this toot and put it on your website somewhere. It seems like most links about what you're doing lead to hour-long live streams.

@aral I am totally inline with that view.

When thinking about it, I was wondering if Peer2Peer was not the way to go. Or a variation, Peer2ManyPeers for group discussions...

Well, of course we need ActivityPub for federating the Fediverse. I like the word "single-tenant" for bringing up the idea :)

Sometimes, I feel it would be great to have such a piece of software running on a standard computer, not 24h/24h online. But this brings challenges for exchanging the data between nodes...

@aral Maybe we could rely on trustful relays (let's say 2 of them for availibility) that we select, and use as a post office. This brings back some centralisation, but we would not be dependant of the relay if we can choose any, including our own "single-tenant" (in which case, of course, there is not much added value for the non 24h/24h running tool, except if we separate client UI and messaging).

Just throwing some ideas :)
(I have no time at hand for now for doing anything concrete)

@aral Have you seen Olia Lialina's "From My To Me" discussing the structural differences in between self-owned places (home page) and big tech profiles (feed) from a user perspective? It might be interesting for what you're building.

interfacecritique.net/book/oli

@aral Yes! A place on the web that users, errr, people :-) can own. I need to say that I also dream of a place wherein I can make my own terms of use, and privacy policy.
Currently ToU and PP are always a one-way notification from the service provider towards the user. A long text WHICH YOU HAVE TO READ.. and if you understand & consider it all, you actually do not want to accept (But still you do).
Now how to make my webplace in such a way that Google, Facebook et al HAVE TO read my terms? ;)

@aral@mastodon.ar.al If I reset my router, so that I can access the settings (I am locked out for some reason), I could self-host a website with its own RSS feed.

@aral Do you think Freedombox has the potential to evolve into something like this?

@aral I think there is something we need: a protocol to send or share contents among computers on the same network without having to send to external common computer (aka server)

@aral Yes! We don't need the whole shebang, you only need to add those features to your space which you value enough :) (i set up a honk server this morning, serendipitous that you post this~)

@aral I think both approaches have value. Best to think of the current #fedivere as a stepping stone.

The outcome is balence between Client/server as society is a balance between social and individual.

We need to respect diversity in our social change/challenge.

Stepping/bridge :)

#OMN

@aral I believe every household should have a server, and for most services you'd access your own server from anywhere rather than someone else's. In a world where governments and big tech believe censorship is their right and duty, we have no choice but to own the infrastructure together.

@sj_zero Sure, and there’s nothing stopping anyone from installing what we’re building on a raspberry pi and plugging it into their routers. But we can’t expect everyone to do that. That said, I can see us providing preconfigured little devices that folks can just plug in. Been prototyping them. Easier than ever to do today.

@aral I think that is something that can be the next big thing.

I've got a NAS that has a bunch of pacakages you can install including nextcloud. It doesn't include what I think you'd need, but something like what you're talking about would be perfect -- it's a big change in looking at the world realizing that our Internet connections are 2-way.

Best of luck to you on that!

@aral i'm even going beyond web and host little gemini capsules for everyone which are updated through git

@aral How do we use colonial technologies in non-colonial ways? It sounds extremely tricky when "modern" Internet technology has been developed almost completely for colonial purposes in one form or another.

@josias We repurpose them best we can and use them as a bridge. We evolve :)

@aral

Please stop saying that things like "There is no way anyone can self-host a doze. Different services"

This is simply not true. I am currently self-hosting 19 services.

@adam @aral I think the meaning is that not everyone can do it, just not ideal wording

Like, I can easily run tens of services on my servers, but not everyone can

@SigmaOne @aral Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate the sentiment of moving from choosing between companies that own and control your data (Google, AWS, et al) to moving to everyone self hosting everything, but speaking in absolutes is not helpful in getting there

As for saying that easy-to-use single tenant servers is not self hosting nor being controlled by the hosting provider (e.g., AWS)... well I'm not sure what to say to that. I must be misunderstanding something

@adam @aral I think the point is that non-enthusiasts don't have the capacity or willingness to run and maintain a bunch of services just to avoid the big companies, but there should instead be a single service they can run which has the features they need without the hassle of maintaining separate servers

So essentially things like peertube, a fedi instance, etc. rolled into one easy to maintain and use modular bundle

@SigmaOne @aral Sounds like just improving existing self-hosting solutions. Yunohost and Nextcloud both come to mind. However, I only hear @aral talk about building new things that will compete with the existing solutions.

If the community's efforts are going to be further divided, there should be a compelling reason. What requirement do existing solutions not meet?

@adam @SigmaOne They’re created to host from 1-1,000,000 people. So they’re designed for 1,000,000 people not one. That’s a huge amount of additional complexity.

It’s like telling someone, you don’t have to fly commercially, you can fly your own 747. Now it’s certainly possible; John Travolta does it. But the folks who want more people to be able to fly themselves are designing solutions that look more like drones.

@adam @SigmaOne In the same way, Small Tech and Small Web are about designing solutions for 1. Not 2, not 100,000, not 1,000,000. Single tenant apps, as we call them. That’s what reduces complexity and will make it possible for everyday people to use them.

So, for example, compare the effort of setting up PeerTube (which is designed to support thousands of people) with Owncast (which is designed to support just one). The latter can be up and running in under a minute on a tiny server.

@aral @adam @SigmaOne It sounds kind of like what Drupal 6 offered: An easy to use system that mostly worked out of the box and could be enhanced with all kinds of services.

Though that offered cooperation out of the box. Just add more users as needed.

@aral @adam @SigmaOne let's see if I understand you. You are talking about making "one user" versions of already available programs. Am I right?

@aral @adam @SigmaOne the different software architectual tools exist to allow building a non-poweruser friendly solution that scales up at the turn of a knob. we're not there, yet but the lego pieces exist. you got lovely ubuntu ux; they allow easily installing minikube; you got autoscaling objects in k8s, plethora of nice monitoring tools. i dont think complexity for 100k+ is infinite. it should just be a matter of available hardware. _should_

@aral @SigmaOne

Thanks for the reply. It sounds like you are saying the requirement is to make server software easy to install/setup/maintain/use, and you believe that the only way to get there is single tenant apps. Is that accurate?

@aral
Did someone say Geocities?

A bit of history here which shows some ideas back then that might still be worth reflecting on
qoto.org/@freeschool/108023769

And just for retro kicks and eye-candy...

Gif's here
gifcities.org/?q=butterfly

Midi here
botsin.space/@geomidis

@aral Watching "Small Is Beautiful #11" now, as a long time hoster of websites, I'd really love to find a newer/smaller way where users (sorry, PEOPLE) have control of all of their data!

@aral I'm a fan of your work! Small is Beautiful has had a huge influence on me since I first read it and always wondered what appropriate technology looks like in the context of software.

Nice to see someone pushing the envelope.

@ggpsv Thank you so much, Gabriel, it means a lot to hear that.

Now I just have to get over my latest burnout (fun for the whole family) and start pushing on NodeKit, Domain, and eventually, Place :)

@aral Elon should invest in #Multicast, that is the only way to supersede fediverse.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Aral’s Mastodon

This is my personal Mastodon.