Sat 25 Apr 2020 11:34AM

Digital infrastructure/protocol

M mike_hales Public Seen by 131

We hope to have a more focused collaboration following Open2020. One aspect of this is a digital commons-infrastructure for collaborating, communicating, coordinating and coproducing. For commoning our work on the commons. At Open2020 we’ll need to home in on this. Assemble some views and options here, pre-conference.


mike_hales Sat 25 Apr 2020 11:36AM

@Bob Haugen What export options does Cryptpad have? Do they work? What’s it like to use, generally - compared with gDocs, Etherpad.

Have you used HackMD? Or AN other shared markdown app/platform?

I ask bcos Oli wants Open2020 to adopt a protocol that includes, among other things, digital infrastructure for collaboration. Coming off gDocs is a part of this.

Would you say that going into the git framework for team communication is worth considering? I feel alienated by it myself but that may be bcos most usage of it is minimally communicative, very geek-culture and deliverables-oriented, with little contextualisation or reader-considerateness. But somehow it seems intrinsically opaque to me.


Bob Haugen Sat 25 Apr 2020 12:41PM

What export options does Cryptpad have?

.html and .pdf

Do they work?

Yes. .html seems to work better than ,pdf, but I have not tried either very much.

What’s it like to use, generally - compared with gDocsEtherpad.

For general collaborative document editing, works pretty well. The encryption means you can collaborate on truly private documents.

Does not have comments, but does have chat. So you can discuss the document contents with collaborators etc, but cannot connect a comment to a selection of the document.

Some hosted Etherpad offerings have comments. The comment feature is broken in some of the hosted offerings. I don't have recent test results on that problem, but I just retried comments in a disroot pad. Worked fine in firefox, not in chrome.


mike_hales Sat 25 Apr 2020 11:38AM

I like the transparency of etherpad. But it won’t export to anything in the disroot instance that I use. The export-to-markdown is broken on the disroot instance, and disroot don’t seem eager to fix it. It’s free software, and we could have our own instance, with many plugin options. But the fact that it remains unfixed on disroot suggests that managing an instance isn’t 100% simple.

There are numerous public instances. I tried the framapad instance. Exporting there is different than disroot - so export options are configured per-instance. But I tried pdf, msword and html, and all fail miserably to render styles in the exported document. The markdown export in the disroot pad was cool - in the old days, when it worked. So thumbs down on etherpad? 


mike_hales Sat 25 Apr 2020 11:48AM

I’ve dabbled in hackMD but somehow it felt a bit klunky and I wasn’t encouraged to go further - at least until I had somebody else to ‘talk to’ in that framework. @Graham d’you use it? Does it work well as a collaborative writing environment? Personally I favour a tool that talks markdown - and preferably, has it explicitly up-front, as the writing space, rather than just being an export option.

Hack MD is oriented to web sharing of docs, within a framework of teams - it’s a bit Slackish. It’s not so much a document writing tool (where export option matter, to traditional formats like Word or PDF), as a team communication and documentation archive? Is that what we need? 

The file system seems pretty poor. And the interface with the file system is rudimentary. Searching seems rudimentary - within docs, across entire domains of docs. The interface is a bit geeky but has some geek simplicity as distinct from pseudo-MSword bells&whistles. 

HackMD has password access to (group) accounts - I think we need a defined membership of this tools commons (as in the present Loomio instance)? What do others think?. Public publishing of docs from the private group space is simple. Privileges can be specified for shared versions. I might be willing to learn to use HackMD well, within a defined collaboration, where partners were willing to be disciplined in filing docs under a limited number of team headings. But if it gets too ‘open’ the whole thing will go to pieces, and material will be unfindable.

So. . . unsure whether the tool will fit the community. Is it a disciplined team we want to equip? Or a load of disparate folks who really need some kind of social media? Plus a standard document format for sharing - as distinct from a collaborative writing space?

Actually, it’s CodiMD you use isn’t it @Graham ? Part of the Cloudron stack. https://notes.typo3.org/. Intriguingly, that url was listed on the etherpad site an etherpad public instance. So, somebody migrated? Is CodiMD same as HackMD?


Graham Mon 27 Apr 2020 7:31AM

CodiMD and HackMD look identical to my untutored eye.


mike_hales Mon 27 Apr 2020 7:48AM

Me too.


Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) Sat 25 Apr 2020 11:51AM

I'm looking at doing some work with some other co-operative across Europe on hosting BigBlueButton with Nextcloud integration, see this project, if it works well it could be a great solution, but is isn't going to be ready for a little while. Nextcloud comes with a very nice Markdown editor.


mike_hales Sat 25 Apr 2020 12:03PM

@Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) can you comment on costs and practicalities of going with Nextcloud? Would WebArchitects want to host a NextCloud instance for OpenCoop? Is there some ballpark idea of monthly/annual cost with WebArch? The ‘project’ would need to crowdfund, if we’re hosting our own instances (or subscribing to existing platforms, like collective.tools), rather than using free public platforms like disroot, framasoft, etc

The collective.tools package of NextCloud apps seems to be offered at a reasonable monthly cost. D’you know if they are in the BBB project too?

@Graham what’s the cost side of being with Cloudron/DigitalLife? Are there standard rates?

Well need to start thinking crowdfunding or paid membership for post-Open2020?


Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) Sat 25 Apr 2020 12:20PM

We can provide basic Nextcloud hosting for £115 a year (based on a shared server, this isn't yet listed on our website) but the BBB integration will probably require Nextcloud on it's own virtual server, see our Nextcloud packages.

I believe that collective.tools are involved with the BBB project, I should know more as the plans firm up over the next week I expect.


mike_hales Sat 25 Apr 2020 12:22PM

£115 = £2.30 per year, across 50 people. That doesn’t sound too painful.


mike_hales Sat 25 Apr 2020 7:33PM

A recent fediverse comment here on Big Blue Button - heavy duty to set up, but good when it's ready?


Graham Mon 27 Apr 2020 7:34AM

We had Big Blue Button running for a while as part of our systems at the Digital Life Collective. I used it a little bit. I think we stopped using it simply because the bulk of the video-conferencing had always used Zoom so weaning people off that onto BBB was a challenge.


mike_hales Mon 27 Apr 2020 7:38AM

Have DigitalLife folks used jitsi? It lacks the large-scale conference facilities of Zoom (recording, webinar mode, breakouts, perhaps degrades with scale) but seems quite adequate for ordinary size meetings.

To me, jitsi feels kind-of like the etherpad of video chat. Plain vanilla. Plug and go.


Bob Haugen Mon 27 Apr 2020 4:32PM

Jitsi does recording. https://jitsi.org/blog/learn-how-to-live-stream-and-record-on-your-jitsi-meet-install/

We've done it often.

Does Zoom offer breakouts? They are a feature of https://unhangout.media.mit.edu/ which is open source (as is jitsi).


mike_hales Wed 29 Apr 2020 2:38PM

@Bob Haugen Thanks for this link to the jitsi recording tutorial. However, that's server setup, for someone (like Mikorizal?) who has their own jitsi instance. AFAIK there's isn't a public instance of jitsi that offers recording, out of the box.


Bob Haugen Wed 29 Apr 2020 4:02PM

We don't host our own instance, but have no problem recording. See attached screenshot.


mike_hales Wed 29 Apr 2020 4:27PM

Ah, that's clear, thanks. Some instances of jitsi have recording (and livestream), and some don't. meet.jit.si does. meet.collective.tools doesn't.


John Waters Thu 30 Apr 2020 11:49AM

I've installed Jitsi on one of my servers but I need to start again for one very simple reason - their installation scripts expect (and require) /etc/hostname to contain the FQDN rather than just the hostname, which goes entirely against Debian/Ubuntu requirements and messes up other services quite badly. My attempts to correct the configuration in retrospect (after having installed while /etc/hostname contained only the hostname - as it should) resulted in a curious looping effect. I've written a small script which I hope will overcome this problem, but haven't had a chance to try it yet.

Perhaps Jitsi's developers assume it will always be installed in its own dedicated virtual server (which with Cloudron is not just an expectation but a requirement).


Bob Haugen Thu 30 Apr 2020 5:29PM

meet.mayfirst.org offers recording and livestream. Have not tried either, but at least they are on the menu.


mike_hales Sat 25 Apr 2020 11:54AM

Seems to me, the Cloudron stack is more ‘free software’ in orientation and culture, than the Nextcloud stack, which is pretty corporate-security, closed community oriented (even tho they provide community accounts). Do we have a basic style/culture hunch about this? Are we gathering together Cloudron people, or Nextcloud people?

In the NextCloud stack, the docs writing tool is OnlyOffice. Document filing is corporate standard. Chats and even workflows are inbuilt. But would we consider running an instance of NextCluld?  And do we want a corporate infrastructure designed for ‘fully on-site operation secure against data leaks’?

However . . . the collective.tools organisers’ toolkit platform venture in Sweden is implementing NextCloud in a community-oriented package https://collective.tools/features.html#collaborate. Personally I would be inclined to trust ‘the feel’ of this, as a non-corporate assembly of tools. But the text chat enviironment here is the Slackish Rocket.chat. @Oli SB and @Graham aren’t excited by this. Dunno about @Bob Haugen ?  So a question . . . is the community we want to build, going to be self-disciplined enough to settle into a simple ontology of internal groupings, that can be cleanly implemented in a ‘team based’ environment like Rocket/Slack? the DisCOs use Slack. But they’re a tight knit collection of well defined teams.

Again the question - is it social media the community needs? Or within-project collaboration?


Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) Sat 25 Apr 2020 12:11PM

Nextcloud is released under the AGPL, this is one of the strictest Free Software license that is available, see Why the Affero GPL. The manner in which Nextcloud is marketed is orientated towards business, because selling to this sector is how they pay the bills, but there is no doubt that their committent to the Free Software movement is solid, look at the Wikipedia summary of the ownCloud split, and listen to this talk.

The provisioning of the Collective Tools stack is based on Ansible code I wrote.


mike_hales Sat 25 Apr 2020 12:15PM

@Stacco Troncoso Where are the Guerrillas at, regarding the mainstream tools you use in DisCO - Slack, Trello, google stuff. D’you have a migration plan (eg the NextCloud stack)? And if so, what are your favourite alternatives?


Stacco Troncoso Mon 27 Apr 2020 11:46AM

We wrote about this in the Guerrilla Translation Handbooks. Here is an excerpt:

These are the tools we are using right now: the tools themselves are subject to change, but the logic behind their use probably won’t.  Our priority at the moment is to maintain both flexibility and resiliency, so we have chosen tools that we can rely on right now, while keeping our options open for when a change becomes necessary or would present an improvement to our existing systems. We want to use more open source tools and are invested in co-creating our own tools with sympathetic allies to help deploy the technical/structural aspects of our governance model.

Right now the bulk of carework hours are begin spent on project dev and urgent legal/financial issues, combined with the time we spend on Pro-bono work and paid work, there's not much time left over for tool migration and systematization atm. We need to do it properly, so this includes mentoring, documentation, rewriting the wiki and manuals, testing features etc.

It's always on the radar and we're looking at CoBox with interest as that's probably the easiest plug and play solution.


mike_hales Mon 27 Apr 2020 12:15PM

Aha! Cobox is built on Dat. So, it differs from anything else that's going. Stacco's link to Cobox worked.

CoBox is built on Dat. Dat is a modular peer-to-peer technology stack. You can find a good explanation of how it works in the guide ‘how Dat works’, and you can find out how we’ve made use of Dat in our developer docs. At CoBox, we’ve used Dat to build fully encrypted private spaces that synchronise seamlessly across multiple devices.

CoBox aims to encourage small- and medium-scale infrastructure as a service. This means non-technical people can plug in a small computer in their home and begin providing back-up services for their friends, neighbours and themselves.

CoBox is a Dropbox-like shared filesystem built on top of Dat.

Data is stored on your device, and we sync across the network if it is available, or across your work or home wifi.

Ah! Cobox is a Dat server, literally in a (Unix) box, plug and play. If you want to be a server admin, this is for you. For the rest of us . . well. The demo video has more techspeak than I really want to be listening to. And Cobox is just the secure P2P network tech (eg 'backups for your friends'), no user-oriented tools on it (apps). So, not in the same class as other things discussed in this thread. Not remotely similar to @Graham 's 'cooperation as a service' for example.

I love the P2P principle of dat, and experimented with it a while back, as a way to create a website in markdown. I quickly ran aground on seeming lack of non-geek guidance and support. With Cobox, looks like things haven't come on that far, even though the hardware/operating system is now packaged as a kit? What do others feel?

It's a shame, bcos the public presentation of the project, and the team, and their ethos, and their supporters, all look very appealing. But who's wanting to be a server admin? Seems to me, the apps, the interface and the naive-user service relationship is some way down the road.


mike_hales Mon 27 Apr 2020 12:23PM

Our priority at the moment is to maintain both flexibility and resiliency, so we have chosen tools that we can rely on . . . We want to use more open source tools and are invested in co-creating our own tools . . \[but] . . there's not much time left over for tool migration and systematization atm. We need to do it properly

That's pretty convincing.

The tools themselves are subject to change, but the logic behind their use probably won’t

@Stacco Troncoso Could you provide a pointer to where the logic is spelled out clearly (in the Handbook somewhere?)? Seems like we should be taking that in to our present discussion. A frame like that would be good to have - maybe OpenCoop can adopt it?


Stacco Troncoso Mon 27 Apr 2020 12:28PM

Sure. Check the Guerrilla Translation Handbook on tools, it starts at page 139. The proprietary tools let us pilot the features and functionality we want to see in free tools. The key is in having shared practices and agreements on how to work the tools together.


mike_hales Mon 27 Apr 2020 12:39PM

pilot the features and functionality

Yep . . so, a phased, evolutionary approach. With an intention to refactor things, some way down the line? getting out of the proprietary honeytrap? Does OpenCoop have the long-termism, to just 'get on with it' - the collaboration, the project - and assemble an ideal, politically correct tool system somewhere a little way down the line?

The key is in having shared practices and agreements on how to work

The work protocols are the thing? The apps and platforms are . . just tools 😆 The users' common work-focus, and their skill at doing 'collective' and 'commoned', are the core things? I would say that, I'm a culture hacker 😉

The logic underlying the toolset is still something that we need to build around? Handbook page 139ff.


Nick Meyne Sun 26 Apr 2020 9:21AM

Maybe take a bit more time, put up with the free, low privacy stuff for now, and meanwhile get some sort of architecture governance set up, with a small team accountable to the rest of the coop for transparent design and choice (according to weighted principles and basic requirements). Everyone votes on the principles / requirements and the weighting, not on the solutions. The architecture team make a rational choice of designs (not just products) justify it and live with it... and they implement and maintain it for us through a lifecycle. Or is that too corporate?


mike_hales Sun 26 Apr 2020 10:13AM

Sounds terrific Nick! Very unlike the way most 'voluntary' formations proceed. So this will be a challenge? It's simply state-of-the-art practice in participatory design of an infrastructure . . so as I said, quite challenging 😉

This means making a temporary agreement/protocol in June, around free, low-privacy means. Providing for a more durable, systematic protocol (and development undertakings?) later . . end of the year? Sooner? What's realistic?

@Oli SB @Simon Grant how d’you feel about this approach? Are you inclined to go straight for ‘the final’ protocol in June? Or to factor in an evolutionary stage of a few months?


Simon Grant Mon 27 Apr 2020 8:12AM

I think this has the basis of something worth going with. A couple of tweaks from me...

  1. What really seems to me to matter for requirements gathering is that people -- users that is -- get a real chance to express and have their needs and values understood, alongside them understanding those of others as well. This seems to me necessary in order to get beyond the "why don't you just do it may way, because it's better / simpler / more ethical / more obvious".

  2. This kind of empathic listening to / understanding of others opens the way to something that is way beyond 'voting'. Once I really understand what matters to you (and others) my imagination -- and indeed our collective imagination -- can work on this to find solutions that serve more or less everyone.

  3. If the governance is set up to work in the longer term, my guess is that it will serve well in the short term too. So to me it's not a case of finding a 'final' protocol (though who knows, with a really good process that might just appear) as finding a workable commons-governed way of working out when a change is needed and how to change it.

Having said all that, I'm not at all against a really good simple solution just because it happens to have been invented by one person. I'm thinking e.g. JSON. But much much safer if it is not promoted by its inventor, but recognised by others as a really helpful way forward.

So referring back to @Nick Meyne , how can we most effectively gather the "principles and basic requirements"? I'm not sure about this, but some process of dialogue seems to me to be key. An idea of the top of my head: everyone's requirements are written down by someone else after that dialogue process.

It's not a coincidence that again here I'm trying to point a way away from an individualistic methodology towards a collective, commons one.


Graham Mon 27 Apr 2020 8:29AM

The key thing here IMHO is is to shift the focus away from the very lengthy debates - that seem to go back years now - about which software tools we're all going to use, and towards what I think is a much more productive conversation about the practicalities of creating and strengthening a new economy.

I'm an active member and supporter of both Webarchitects and the Digital Life Collective. I use and enjoy the tools provided by both organisations. The Digital Life Collective opted to use Cloudron simply because it gave us the ability to quickly and painlessly install and maintain a variety of tools at very low cost. It's open source, but we're not wedded to using it. My colleagues there - notably Joachim Stroh and Jim Whitescarver have done some great work to put together the neat UI/UX at https://diglife.coop that helps to bring some of these tools together - primarily Mattermost as a useful Slack alternative and CodiMD for document production. Joachim is now working on the Hypha project (https://hypha.earth) to bring a transactional system into the mix to complement the conversational space that the Collective has created. The Collective in in process of on-boarding other communities of interest/practice into the shared space that we've called 'Cooperation as a Service', and we're looking at how to better enable these various communities to talk to each other and interact for mutual benefit - this is how we achieve co-operation at scale and how we facilitate the creation of a larger community of innovation - an Innovation Cooperative, a multi-layered multiplex cooperative. Collective intelligence.

Nextcloud is clearly useful and enables an organisation to get off the Google/MS roundabout, and @Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) at Webarchitects has a lot of relevant expertise there, and clearly - because I know him - his passion and values are totally aligned to progressing this type of project.

Other groups and organisations have also put together interesting and useful offerings, including Fairkom in Austria (https://www.fairkom.eu/en/fairapps) - I have an account there where I mainly use their fair chat app, @wouter@freeknowledge.eu and his colleagues in Barcelona, and others. And what about CoBox (https://cobox.cloud)? https://social.coop - there are many others.

What I'd like to propose is a process not where we review all the various options and tools and what have you with the aim of picking a winner, which I think is largely unhelpful, but instead where we aim to bring all of these projects and people together to collaborate for their and our mutual benefit. Create a powerful team of technologists that can focus on continuously improving the tools we all want to use, so that we can have ever better tech that we can trust and which can generate the revenue/value flows needed to keep the wagon on the road.

And at the same time enable the people who want to start new economy projects, create new co-operatives, to do so more quickly, more sustainably, and more cheaply than they could do by adopting shiny proprietary tools like Slack and G-Suite. This is what Cooperation-as-a-Service and the Digital Life Collective is about in my view. I think it's fair to say that, as the current chair of that cooperative, that we'd be very much up for this. And it's something that I for one would be willing to subscribe to.


Simon Grant Mon 27 Apr 2020 8:47AM

The key thing here IMHO is is to shift the focus away from the very lengthy debates - that seem to go back years now - about which software tools we're all going to use, and towards what I think is a much more productive conversation about the practicalities of creating and strengthening a new economy.

Yes, @Graham ! Dialogue is absolutely not debate, though the difference was not entirely clear to me until recently. William Isaacs's book of that title is one place to start. And ...

What I'd like to propose is a process not where we review all the various options and tools and what have you with the aim of picking a winner, which I think is largely unhelpful, but instead where we aim to bring all of these projects and people together to collaborate for their and our mutual benefit.

I'm in line with this, and it seems to me others are too. We're not talking about tweaking the currently dominant way of doing things, but rather of coming at it with a different mind-set. To me, the mind-set (or indeed 'heart-set', but that's probably too fluffy!) is key. And co-creative, generative dialogue is a good way forward.


mike_hales Mon 27 Apr 2020 11:02AM

'heart-set', but that's probably too fluffy!

Not at all. 'The heart' is the hard-wired but tuneable reflex survival system makes us lean and lurch, and align and affiliate, and blank off and disdain. It's where our judging and valuing lives. Greater skill in handling our 'heart-set', and those of others, is basic for an economy that really is 'new'. Speaking from my own experience, acquiring such skill is not fluffy at all, it's difficult and sometimes painful. Going off-topic . . enough 😉


mike_hales Mon 27 Apr 2020 11:06AM

what about CoBox (https://cobox.cloud)?

Something broken in that Link @Graham Is there another?


mike_hales Mon 27 Apr 2020 11:43AM

Thanks for the Fairapps tip https://www.fairkom.eu/en/fairapps. Very similar to what disroot offers. Etherpads (no export to markdown), jitsi chat, Nextcloud 200MB free cloud storage. Nextcloud calendars. Fairapps looks a little more organised, businesswise - closer to Nextcould in ethos than disroot? (sells corporate services.) Does anyone have a reason to select between disroot and fairapps? Fairapps looks like a well packaged platform of free apps?

@Graham what does DigitalLife bring that is absent in FairApps? Is it the user community, and their projects?


Graham Mon 27 Apr 2020 12:10PM

I think their site was down when I posted the link. Working now.


Graham Mon 27 Apr 2020 12:18PM

A fair question (excuse the pun). I don't know fairkom well and certainly can't speak for them or what might be thought to be absent in their offering. From the perspective of the Digital Life Collective our focus is on bringing people and groups together. De-siloisation (if that's a word) is in my view critical if we are to make progress. Bringing broadly aligned groups and communities together and enabling them to share and co-create both within and between groups. Most software works against this paradigm, being designed to keep people atomised or in the case of group tools like Slack to keep groups separate form each other.

In my experience progressive people and orgs are really really good at splintering and factional behaviours, which results in a very wide diversity of broadly aligned projects, the overwhelming majority of which lack the resources to actually achieve anything of substance. By enabling these groups to aggregate, and pool resources, we might even stand a chance of making some small impact!


mike_hales Mon 27 Apr 2020 12:28PM

our focus is on bringing people and groups together . . progressive people and orgs are really really good at splintering and factional behaviours . . enabling these groups to aggregate, and pool resources

This sounds like the bottom line? Looking forward to the DigitalLife session later this week 🙂


Bob Haugen Mon 27 Apr 2020 4:42PM

Hypha is interesting. Looks like the resources at the bottom of https://www.joinseeds.com/ are where the details are documented?


mike_hales Tue 28 Apr 2020 10:18AM

Discussion about communication & coordination infrastructure is very uneven across movements and organisations. FYI . . MayFirst Movement Technologists in the US are prompting thoughts about non-video, text-based communication . .

The jitsi meet developers seem to be working on making their tool better able to handle bigger meetings . . . Are live meetings the best way to move us forward? Or should we be working more on text based asynchronous tools like Discourse. It seems that LiquidFeedback falls into ths category - I’ve never heard of that tool and can’t tell if it’s open source or not. I have some experience with a similar tool called Loomio (Jamie)

And a response . .

I think it’s important to be up-front about the limitations. One of the (many) profoundly disappointing things about the landscape of tech is that many of us do need to compromise.

Here is their note on Alternatives to live meetings


Graham Mon 27 Apr 2020 8:35AM

I'll be talking about this on the Open 2020 webinar coming up on the 30th. I'm keen that we try to use that event to try to move this discussion on to action. If you've not already registered for that webinar do so here: https://open.coop/events/open-2020-webinar-digital-life-collective/


mike_hales Wed 6 May 2020 9:36PM

Just for comparison, you might want to checkout this thread It’s members of May First Movement Technology, discussing tools and platforms in the Covid/post -Covid organising situation. Basically, in the USA/Mexico.

One difference - they are cooler on video, hotter on audio (Mumble). They use Mumble plus Etherpad as a main way of having large meetings. I was just in a meeting of 50 MFMT people, and their facilitators handle things well, including dual language breakouts and translations.

Theyre not tech bleeding edge, but as organisers they might be worth learning a few things from?


mike_hales Mon 18 May 2020 2:54PM

@Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) and others - Can we gather recommendations here for wiki hosting, for this OpenCoop community? I have had Docuwiki recommended to me (flat files, simple, reliable) as distinct from Mediawiki. Haven't yet discovered a public host. Have requested a (Media)wiki at Miraheze but no response received on that.

@Graham recommends DigLife platform toolkit - and I've joined. But no wiki in the toolkit there - just CodiMD, which is nice for publishing web documents and co-authoring, but won't do service as a wiki. Graham, d'you use a wiki?


mike_hales Mon 18 May 2020 6:35PM

A very plain option could be Stroll. What d'you think? Would it handle 100+ pages?


mike_hales Mon 18 May 2020 2:56PM

Even with projects like DigLife and collectivetools, why is it still so hard to find a toolset-in-a-box that actually is an adequate, FLOSS, toolset for organisers? Assumptions seeem to be, that it's a chat app that's basic (Mattermost @ DigLife, Rocket.io @ collectivetools). But co-authoring docs and accumulating hyperlinked documentary resources are not well provided for - and folks run off and use proprietary popular honeytrap apps with a large installed base (Telegram, Gdocs) . . which still don't cover the need for wiki. Does anyone know a more satisfactory 'organiser's workbench' platform?


Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) Mon 18 May 2020 3:31PM

We can provide MediaWiki hosting for £155 a year, this includes the install and access to a Parsoid server to enable the WYSIWYG VisualEditor and a few other plugins that we have scripted the initial install of.


mike_hales Tue 19 May 2020 9:59AM

In the ontology thread I note Luxim/PMIsuite, which looks relevant. A project management tools suite, commercially oriented, hosted in Slovenia. But built on the NextCloud stack (?) and useable in a variety of ways? Not obvious how to get an account here (<Shop> seems not to be configured in English). But the shared document-creation app looks fine - easily as good as Gdocs - and is FOSS? And unsurveilled. Does anyone else have a view on this as a tool? Or other ('free beer'?) NextCloud instances.


JDN Tue 19 May 2020 10:45AM

That's my private account on my friends server. Sitting in his office. Not hosted. So you can not get account there. It is latest version of Nextcould. It is Google translation to FLOSS. You have everything there, conferences via jitsy, chat, collaborative openoffice suit, with spreadsheets, wordprocessing, basic project management stuff. And more. I just linked to the document so you could take a peek. How much space do you think you would need?

I think we have three options. One is to go with WebArchitects. The other, if there is some sys admin around here, we could get hosted server somewhere. Like Contabo for example. Here at least US will have difficulty with surveillance. Will be a bit easier (as the rumor goes) for Russians though. :). The third is to find "free beer" installation.

And BTW, that Stroll thingy looks quite useful.


I do not know about unsurveilled stuff. Slovenia is a bit peculiar country for "our overlords" agenda. :)


I uploaded docx and xlsx files. Double click them. And check out...


wouter@freeknowledge.eu Tue 19 May 2020 3:20PM

Dear @mike_hales and all, with @Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) and a few other cooperatives we have started working on a cooperative service based on BigBlueButton. Participating cooperatives didn't want to run such service alone and thus the idea to share it as a cooperative service was born: Meet.coop The working title: The Online Meeting Cooperative. As you can see on the little website we set up, we abide by the 7 cooperative principles and the responsibility is shared between currently three coops: femProcomuns in Barcelona (offering CommonsCloud.coop), Collective.tools in Sweden and Webarchitects in the UK. Co-producers contribute time, money, servers and other resources to the pool.

Apart from the producer members we have user/consumer members: organisations that contribute minimum 500 € for the first year and get to use the shared services. Heavy users are expected to contribute more. The more the merrier - so if we pool more resources collectively, we'll need more servers to run the operation and balance the load. We have already a few user members who committed and several coops interested to join us. Check out the initial content in the wiki at wiki.meet.coop

Why BigBlueButton? Some key advantages of BBB:

  • audio works very well and independent from video

  • moderation and room management is more advanced

  • presentations can be presented on the inline whiteboard, apart from the usual screensharing

  • collaborative features like drawing alone or together, a built-in collaborative pad, hold polls and share their results on the fly...

  • a plenary room can have break-out sessions

See more at: https://bigbluebutton.org/

If people here are interested, let us know, we do weekly online meetings to discuss the project on Thursday 15-16h CEST.


Oli SB Wed 20 May 2020 8:51AM

Hi @wouter@freeknowledge.eu - I'm keen to explore if meet.coop could help host OPEN 2020...? Can you let me know where the online meeting will take place on Thursday? either here, or via email... will we be able to get a demo of what it can do?