I just received the news that the Federated Networks Association is probably folding. More details here:
The potential demise of the Feneas.org services reminds me again that the success of federated networks depends on reliable instances, and avoiding re-centralization requires more instances, not bigger ones. This means server-side software needs to be as easy as possible to set up and maintain, and we need easy access to ways for people to learn how to host servers.
It seems to me that what would make a huge difference would be if someone like @PINE64 would sell a reasonably priced router with enough power and storage to be a basic family server with @yunohost pre-installed. Just plug it in, set your ISP modem to pass through and you have a working server. It could automatically open the right ports, use the new auto dns setup. Referral fees from in device domain purchases through a privacy friendly registrar could help fund.
Easy is a must here.
While @freedomboxfndn and @yunohost are critical pieces of the puzzle, they can never be an entry level solution by themselves. Why? Because if you want to make it easy enough for the average person, you can't expect them to need to learn about port forwarding on their specific model of router before they can even get started. The server needs to be plug and play which means being able to modify the router's ports and firewall automatically as needed.
I've loved #Freedombox and #Yunohost. They do great things. Both took me considerable time learning about modifying my router configs, opening up ports, port forwarding etc, to a level people outside tech circles just wouldn't bother with. What I wished for was something I could just plug in and have a webpage I could share with others. The strength is not a server, but a server and router working together to make the experience easy and automatic.
Yunohost already has a feature to auto-config domains, with a couple of registrars, and a plan to expand to others. Many registrars already have apis that let you purchase domains through them, often offering a referral bonus. Choosing the right registrar and then using the api, the project could let users register a domain through the interface and then set up the dns automatically.
The more difficult part is that everyone has a different modem with different interfaces for enabling pass through. That's just a single on/off setting though, that people's ISP support could walk them through.
Perfect zero knowledge needed may not be possible, but that doesn't mean we can't make something great that only needs a tiny fraction of the knowledge needed now. #Yunohost already did it once. We can take it even further.
@Blort @miklo @strypey @freedomboxfndn @PINE64 Theoretically we also do support plugging a VPN from the FFDN folks (through the .cube format and also now .ovpn). This allows to entirely bypass commercial ISP restrictions and have proper internet connectivity and exposure for your server, no need to configure the router. The drawback though is that you have to subscribe and pay a fee to a VPN offer (though not just any random VPN, gotta be a dedicated IP etc)
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