Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2019

schedule

LibreHosters

A federation of networks for cooperation and solidarity through distributed platforms.


librehosters is a network of cooperation and solidarity that uses free software to encourage decentralisation through federation and distributed platforms. The values of the group connect transparency, fairness and privacy with a culture of data portability and public contributions to the commons.

In this presentation we show how people with interest in self-hosting, system administrators from not-for-profit initiatives and members of hosting collectives are federating practices and infrastructure outside of the commercial market. Early members of the recently bootstrapped network will be present to counsel the conversation.

A data-driven approach to reactive provisioning of immutable infrastructure will be outlined and put into context with the diverse needs of associated user communities in the network. This will allow to close with an outlook about how to preconceive a federated computational commons, in which user data is not tainted by hegemonic discourses.

After a session about so-called migration networks (of user data) at OuiShare Labs Camp #3 in 2015, the conversation continued between a flock of hosting providers independently. Over the years a list of awesome-librehosters quickly filled, which only underlined the need for a cooperative praxis around independently hosting user and community infrastructure.

With the emergence of the federated messaging network Matrix, different hosting providers interested in supporting distributed computation environments got in touch directly on the channel #librehosters:matrix.allmende.io and prepared a physical meeting over the course of the year 2018. This ultimately gave birth to Librehosters as an independent, informal entity.

In there, groups and individuals find a communication and exchange platform about practices of Self-Hosting in general, Docker Compose and systemd based hosting with libre.sh in particular, plus a prospect of a shared Kubernetes-based hosting environment. A data-driven approach to framing the conversation are the application catalogue and member directory.

The latter currently (26.11.2018) renders into

``` { "weho.st" : "https://weho.st/librehost.json", "Petites Singularit├ęs" : "https://ps.lesoiseaux.io/librehost.json", "lain haus" : "https://lain.haus/librehost.json", "Indie.Host" : "https://indie.host/librehost.json", "aktivix.org" : "https://aktivix.org/librehost.json", "Webarchitects Cooperative" : "https://www.webarchitects.coop/librehost-api/librehost.json", "hackerspaces.be" : "https://hackerspaces.be/librehost.json", "snopyta.org" : "https://snopyta.org/librehost.json" }

```

and presents the beginning of a wider federation of computing resources. One can imagine a directory per offered service, where producers of FLOSS can find an easy to find, maybe even canonical place for hosting offers of their respective applications.

The movement inbetween the Librehosters leads to a convergence of documentation and practice within the field of self-determined hosting, which eases the sharing of use cases and appropriate answers to reappearing needs. General acceptance receive federated platforms, such as file, calendar and contacts sharing with Nextcloud, microblogging with Mastodon, instant messaging with Matrix/Riot, but also the communication and collaboration environments Discourse for post-email, web-native discussion spaces and CodiMD Markdown pads alike.

The convergence of hosting practices within a self-determined network of practitioners taking care of user data helps with achieving data portability between platforms and providers, provides a social network for security training & mutual audit and enables a commoning of process and resources within the hosting communities to construct shared infrastructure.

How to join the network?

The librehosters network is work in progress at this point. The first gathering kicked of the creation of the network, inspired by the CHATONS network in the french speaking world. Libre Selfhosters are also welcome in the network.

How to participate in the project?

We currently have a discussion ongoing at talk.libreho.st and are developing tools at lab.libreho.st. A list of librehosters will soon be published at libreho.st/librehosters. If you would like to be included in this list please add a librehost.json file to your projects website and add the project itself to the librehosters directory repository.

Speakers

Photo of Jon Richter Jon Richter

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