[Freedombox-discuss] towards a business plan
On 3/7/11 6:09 AM, Bjarni R?nar Einarsson wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM, Yannick <sevmek at free.fr
> <mailto:sevmek at free.fr>> wrote:
> * blogging
> In the same way if we plan to put some service for blogging, like
> a web
> server e.g. Nginx+php/mysql support, with a nice tool to start
> your own
> blog e.g. wordpress, what if your ISP provider puts you behind a
> NAT for
> the port 80? How will people be able to read your blog? One
> solution is
> mesh wifi, i.e. everybody being a provider. It will probably need some
> This is exactly the problem I am working on, with PageKite (
> https://pagekite.net/ ). We hope to have official Debian packages
> ready within the next couple of months.
FWIW, this is something I think the FreedomBox could really use: While
it seems technologies like mesh networking have issues to be worked out,
there are incremental improvements available to put more network control
into the hands of individuals.
So, for example: PageKite. That's a promising tool to move the origin of
your content onto hardware you control. Stick a PageKite-connected
origin server behind a caching HTTP proxy to absorb traffic (eg. squid
or nginx), and you might have a decently performing personal web site.
Along with that, consider web publishing tools that produce static files
(Jekyll versus WordPress). Push those files up to Amazon S3 and other
cheap hosts. Make it easy to switch between hosts and update DNS entries
(remember wikileaks), keep the bulk of the smarts on the FreedomBox.
Progress from there to more robust solutions that use P2P and a
content-addressable network, which should have been made easier by
switching to tools that emit static content.
> You touched on this and also e-mail, both of which are areas where
> FreedomBoxes can be assumed to need some "help" from the cloud if they
> are to provide self-hosted services which are backwards compatible and
> interoperable with today's Internet.
I think that's a key notion: "self-hosted services which are backwards
compatible and interoperable with today's Internet"
Provide on-ramps. Embrace and extend existing platforms---for example, a
self-hosted microblogging rig that connects to Twitter as a client, but
also publishes static HTML & feeds and pings PubSubHubBub servers and
uses OStatus to federate with others like it. Build a Facebook app that
also maintains a "wall" on your own servers.
I think some services, like IMAP/POP3/SMTP for email, could be
troublesome thanks to spam and suchlike. But, the more a FreedomBox can
act as a bridge between free and non-free services, the easier the
transition will be.
> PageKite is really, really easy to use to make a self-hosted website
> visible to the outside world (circumventing NAT and all that other
> nasty stuff), but it is so because there is a business (my company)
> behind it providing in-the-cloud infrastructure. I believe that for
> the FreedomBox to scale to thousands or millions of end users, such
> support businesses will need to exist, and at some point we'll want to
> have a discussion about what they should look like: how must companies
> behave in order to be "Freedom and FreedomBox compatible"? :-)
One of the key things with PageKite is that, yes, you're providing
in-the-cloud infrastructure with running PageKite servers---but, you've
also provided the source to run our own. That should help commoditize
the service of tunneling a self-hosted server out to the web and save us
from lock-in. That's the kind of business I'm not afraid to support.
> Of course, some will just reject commercial involvement entirely...
> but not all, and I think some of those 1000s of small businesses will
> be providing on-line support services to FreedomBoxes, and we don't
> want them to become freedom inhibitors either.
That's where providing the source and commoditizing your own market can
help here. You probably won't get rich by offering one or more focused,
easily replaceable building-block services like server tunnelling or
static web hosting, but I think that's the kind of thing FreedomBox needs.
l.m.orchard at pobox.com
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