julian

FOSS dev, self-hosting fan, Matrix, degoogling, small tech, indie tech, friendly tech for families and schools. Let's own our own identity & data.

Dear Local Organisation,

As a member of this Organisation, I would like to thank you for your efforts to keep your members updated, and for periodically re-evaluating the best way to do so.

Unfortunately you have lost me by asking me to join Mr Zuckerberg's Facebook club in order to receive your information.

I would like to invite you in your next reevaluation to consider providing your primary communications through a channel that is in the nature of a public utility, not a private members club.

I will explain why and how.

(I am professionally involved in the subject area of public non-proprietary communications channels.)

Contents:

  1. A personal, heart-felt tirade on why this is so wrong.
  2. Professional advice on the right way to communicate.

Facebook is Not a Public Utility

I am aware lots of people have begun to treat Facebook as if it were a public utility. Doing so is a mistake and causes deep problems. [[1]][ellis1]

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As if I didn't have enough else to do with my evening, I spent it making this. Why?

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Last week I began making this primitive Draupnir (moderation bot) UI, in my PubHubs work.

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A non-Amazon wish list, anyone?

I once thought I was making a neutral choice to shop at Amazon, and that their wish list was a nice convenience.

Just like I one thought Google was my friend, and signed up for their “free” email. I deeply regretted that and have now deeply deGoogled.

Nowadays I recognise a greedy mega-corp when I see one, with everything wrong that goes along with that, and so I shut down my wish list there and almost completely avoid shopping there.

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Are you asking yourself,

“What's it to be: Android or iPhone?”

Actually, NO! There is another way.

Time I Learned: there are freedom-respecting phones.

I'll tell you which one you need.

What's the problem?

It's not about the hardware. Well, there are certainly important issues about the hardware — and you might want to discover PinePhone and FairPhone. But I'm here to talk about about our freedom in using the product.

What's so bad about choosing either Google or Apple?

It's about who controls our use of the device after we “bought” it. Do “they” remain in control of what we do, or are we in control?

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Android or iPhone — either Google or Apple delivers our messages — surely? You don't accept that?

Time I Learned: there are freedom-respecting phones.

People who do not want to depend on Google or have them control our devices are using android-compatible but not google-controlled phones, a.k.a. “degoogled phones”. We have been asking (ourselves) for several years if we can have google-free push notifications. Thanks to the developers of the UnifiedPush standard, the answer is now, “yes!”

But why?

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UnifiedPush open-standard push messaging complements degoogled android-compatible phone OS's such as LineageOS.

People who do not want to depend on Google or have them control our devices are using android-compatible but not google-controlled phones, a.k.a. “degoogled phones”. We have been asking (ourselves) for several years if we can have google-free push notifications. Thanks to the developers of the UnifiedPush standard, the answer is now, “yes!”

The open standard UnifiedPush.org has now been created. While not a large number yet, a useful handful of apps already support UnifiedPush, including several matrix and fediverse apps. For its servers and the associated client-side “distributor” component, there are multiple successful implementations deployed.

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More and more I find myself using the fediverse (based on ActivityPub) alongside Matrix, and the two protocols complement each other nicely in some ways. In other ways their differences seem needless and jarring, only getting in the way. I'd like to be able to offer my contacts the free choice of which protocol to use, depending on what kind of communication they intend (public-ish versus private or group-ish), without everything else being different — especially the user identifier/addressing but also many lesser issues such as the existence of user profiles.

I have long remained hopeful we'd get use profiles eventually. Conceptually it's not a big deal. So where are we now and where are we going?

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A thought about social processes for translation (i18n/l10n) of project web sites, blog/news articles, social web posts, etc. Particularly in the freedom software development community, though more broadly in any international online community.

I have been finding more and more good work in other languages, and wanting to translate it to my language and then publish the translation, for outreach.

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This article opens with the well known idea of using (free/libre/open) tech for teaching (free/libre/open) tech skills, but it is not about that, at least not directly.

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