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[liberationtech] Flocks - "cloud-shy" social interaction

The Dod unclezzzen at
Tue Jun 7 22:45:42 PDT 2011

On Jun 7, 2011, at 1:42 AM, Moritz Bartl wrote:
> You might want to look 
> at/exchange ideas/meet/join forces with:
> - Buddycloud 
> - Protonet 
On 06-07 01:45, Bill Woodcock wrote:
> > There's also Diaspora.
In the "other solutions" section of
I specifically mention diaspora. I'm still trying to install buddycloud
[which implies that it has similar issues - at least at the moment :)].
Protonet is a wifi mesh thing (sounds similar to freedom box), so
although it has a social networking component - the limitation here is
geographic (is there such a mesh where I live?).

Flocks is much simpler than these projects [so simple I sometimes
suspect it's stupid :)] it's an app you install on your pc [maybe
- one day - your phone], and lets you:
* generate a *static* html+rss nest and publish it (a static microblog)
* watch feed timelines (a simple socnet-oriented feed aggregator)
* privately exchange trees of feeds (called flocks) via mail, im,
  piratebox, etc.
* publicly recommending feeds as part of your nest (FlockRoll is
  similar to a blogroll)

All these things are trivial, tried and tested concepts (RSS
aggregator, blogroll, etc.). There are 2 reasons for this simplicity.

* If the server has complex requirements like a fixed IP# (or Dynamic
  domain name), or dependencies like postgress, couchdb, node,
  ruby-on-rails, etc. geeks will install it somewhere in the cloud and
  their friends will sign up there as users. This can be cool for
  communities where everyone knows a geek with a server (or a home-PC
  with a known IP# or domain name and a properly configure firewall,
  etc. which is - essentially - "in the cloud"). Flocks is something you
  can [relatively] easily install on windows (*because* it's not very
  smart). The problem with a server in the cloud is that you'll never
  know whether it was legally (or otherwise) attacked, and information
  you consider private is actually exposed (not necessarily secrets -
  even "follow" or "friend" connections are intel in large enough
  quantities). Even if the original paltform you have is [or is
  supposed to be - in case of diaspora :)] built in a way that keeps
  your private information encrypted, who says that's the code the
  server is running? Because you know the admins personally? For all
  you know they can be cuffed and gagged at the moment. Flocks also
  relies on "the cloud" (you need to store your nest somewhere), but it
  tries to minimize requirements from it *as a design goal*. All flocks
  knows is that you serve a *static* folder at a specific URL (it
  doesn't even know whether you have a site or you're using something
  like dropbox). Except for your [very small and publicly available]
  nest - no information is kept on the cloud - only on your PC. If they
  target you (hack or confiscate your PC), they'll have *your* private
  information, but not the data-mining bonanza they get when they own a
  multi-user server.

* Flocks is GPLed and forkable code (and not much of it), so if you
  think your "dream socnet platform" should have this or that feature,
  you can fork it, add the feature, and test it in real life with real
  people (I'm here if you need a tester, and I have friends too).
  Specifically - what *I* am interested in is signed nests (see the
  wiki), but there are many other issues you can think of: irc/xmpp
  notifications, better js gui, rich formatting (markdown, oembed
  etc.). Think of it as a sandbox for social network paradigms. Even if
  you decide *not* to use Flocks as your socnet-erector-set (e.g. you
  don't like python,, or my code) - as long as what you do has
  RSS/ATOM, we can be friends :)

On Tue, 7 Jun 2011 16:35:57 +0200
ilf <ilf at> wrote:
> Videos:
Great videos. Already posted something from there to my Flocks nest :) 

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