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Re: [Social-discuss] Interoperability?

From: Natanael
Subject: Re: [Social-discuss] Interoperability?
Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 17:26:24 +0200

I'm not really sure where to put all my ideas, but I'll start here in this thread.

I use YIID right now and I like it ( I am not on the site often, but that's not what it's for; it's for others (YIID = Your Internet ID). It lists +20 of my internet profiles there. I use it because I don't know of any other option then to set up a blog with a list like it and a bunch of plugins (like for the twitter stream), and I don't want to do that. When somebody want to get in touch with me, they get all the options they could want by looking at my profile there (Twitter, blog comment, etc...).

With foaf, microdata and all these other metadata protocols, you could describe everything about you. There would of course be standard ways to use these, so that people who look at my profile don't just see some plain text, but actual *data*, so that they could compare their calendar with my public calendar with a single click.

If I can do all this with with Gnu social it would be great! As example, YIID would add support for Gnu Social. Whenever I create an account elsewhere, I would add a pointer to my account there and the two services would register with eachother, syncing my profile and even friend lists. That's all I would have to do! And if I used foaf+ssl or OpenID on that server, I would only have to click once to register and once to confirm on all other sites after that!

Information about my accounts and services would be listed and synced automatically. If I have Gmail and use GTalk (or some other Jabber/XMPP service) a lot, it could keep track of that account and even my of my online status.
It could also know about my ownCloud server (KDE project) and really *anything* with a hint of something social.
If I used Diaspora (when it's released), it could point to that too (maybe Diaspora would register with one of these public servers when you start it, and they would sync the online status between eachother?).
And your "status update stream", and GPG/PGP keypair, and [insert your favorite service/tech] would be listed. It would all be synced between all your services.

It almost becomes an "Internet of Things", where you end up with a list of every device you have in your profile, since you run some software on most of them that are somehow connected to you. Smartphones like Androids are usually always logged in to Google's services, including GTalk for IM. You can have background services like a mobile Diaspora client. Each device would then be listed in your profile(s) when they are online, together with the services they run/are connected to.

Files and data could be sent to just one of them (some pictures and addresses to the phone, code to your home server, videos to your laptop, documents to work PC), and chats could be moved between them "live" with logs (useful if you've been chatting on the phone and comes home to your computers). You can have auto-accept for the data/file types and persons you want when they send things to you. This should be configurable. Being able to also "pass on" data/files to another of your devices would cool if somebody want to send you a HD movie and you're on your phone. You can just pick a device to send it to, and it would be sent there instead of go through the phone.
I'd like to be able to send things between my own devices easily too (smartphone <-> laptop <-> home server <-> anything else).

I guess that using magnet links ( can be useful for sharing files with several people using local clients like Diaspora. In IRC, robmyers asked if it could be used for pages and other data too. You could, but it would be smarter to make a custom URI scheme for that for Gnu Social. I suggested something like "gnusocial://person?ID=[public key hash]&nick=blaha" and gs://file?linktype=magnet?link=[magnetlink here] for use in Gnu Social compatible programs. I guess that you people can come up with smarter schemes.

Notifications when people send things to you/post comments/posts in forums is something that I think that Gnu Social should support. If Diaspora could manage that, we could make RSS readers deprecated ("old"/"worthless", it's like soo from the 90's). :P
Note that it should be configurable too. If you're very active in various projects and have 20 shared calendars, you don't want your phone to make noise twice a second. Maybe using tags and rules like "important", or "from family".

"Replication" between your devices is useful too. Calendar syncing is one of the most useful things (even more for those with smartphones and calendar apps on their computers), and there are plenty more things that is useful to sync.

You should also be able to have different "profiles" that belong to an "identity". A work profile, a normal profile for chatting with friends, and anything you want. All tied to you as person, your identity. Your work profile would have your full name, your "casual" profile would have your first name and a casual picture, and you could keep things separated (but you could still see that both profiles belong to one identity). Identical data for the profiles would only be stored once (per node).
I guess the easiest way to have "multiple identities" (as in real name/internet nick) is to have different accounts.

First thing to do is install/setting it up. Let's say my sister want to use it after I've convinced her how cool it is and showed how what kind of control it gives you over your data. There are a few ways to get started.

A: She download Gnu social compatible app X. When installing it, it asks if she has an account on a Gnu Social compatible service and suggests a few site X, Y and some others (it also allows creation of accounts on several of them at once). She sets up an account on X and Y (as example), and they are then synced with eachother.
B: She goes to Gnu Social compatible site Y and sets up her account. She can then choose to download Gnu Social compatible app X, or just use the site. Let's say she choose to download the app (she can still use the site like she normally would).

We then add eachother in our contact lists by adding one of eachothers' profile links on site X, Y or wherever we have profiles. It doesn't matter which site any of us is registered on. If she got an invite from me to use register on a site, I might already be in her contact list. Then we just use it.

We can then just use the sites in the browser like Facebook, and the apps like IM+group chat+Video chat+mail+collaboration tools+anything else that the Gnu Social compatible apps supports (I guess that this is where Diaspora comes in). Since sites could sync entire accounts with eachother, you can pick any site you want to log in on, unlike with Facebook (unless you only keep some data on only one site, then you have to log in there for that - if  one site "goes Facebook" you can move your data away).

A Gnu Social compatible program can integrate with the the other programs you have installed on your computer/phone.
You can share links from Firefox, use the calendar in Google Calendar/Evolution/Thunderbird+Lightning/Windows/Mac, send files, share pictured, etc. "Standard things" like calendars would be synced with your Gnu Social compatible sites so that your node won't have to be online for those things to be accessible. And I just want to mention ownCloud again here.

I think that you should be able to have some kind of HTTP server, and I really like the idea of the "reverse HTTP proxy" that one of the guys here are working on. You could have a subdomain on one of the Gnu Social compatible sites that points to your node's site. If the Gnu Social compatible sites and your program supported it, you could back up most of your node's site on the server you're registered with so it still would be visible when your node is down (together with a message like "This node is offline, this is a backup").

Technology: FOAF, FOAF+SSL, microformats, XMPP, maybe psyc (since a lot of you have mentioned it already) and anything else you can think of. If it is useful, Gnu Social should support it (by being very extensible).
I would really like a VPN plugin too (bye bye Hamachi!).

PS: On IRC ( on Freenode, 6th May) I chatted with some of the people here about what I think that Gnu Social should be able to do and talked about my ideas (the log says that mattl and robmyers where the ones I talked to). I didn't see my ideas when I took a quick look at the mailing list archive, so I've added a lot of it here.

Some links:

Question: How can I make my identity on Gnu Social "static"? Let's say I switch services every 3 months because some new site has some new fancy features, or whatever, then URLs just won't work. How can I define "This is me", and keep that the rest of my life? I'm not sure that even public GPG keys work perfectly here.

I guess that's it. Please send me comments!

--- If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking // Stupidity is a renewable resource

On Fri, May 28, 2010 at 15:23, Dan Brickley <address@hidden> wrote:
On Fri, May 28, 2010 at 3:07 PM, Pablo Martin <address@hidden> wrote:
> I'm going to be imflamatory, but it is funny that you mention because
> mailman is one software that in my eyes has been stagnant for too many
> years, being as it is almost a monopoly in mailing lists. It can't
> provide a direct link to the archive, the archives kind of suck, no gpg
> support? cmon :)

Yes, I think it is fair to say it was stagnant. I just took a look
around and there seems to be life, but the product in its current form
is pretty retro, compared to state of the art.

I did just find
in their wiki, which has

"MailmanRESTClient: Methods names CRUD-like: create_list(),
read_list(), update_list(), delete_list(), get_lists(),
subscribe_list(), leave_list() etc."

Also "Features to be implemented first
Ability for users to subscribe, manage subscriptions, unsubscribe, change emails
Admin ability to create/delete lists via pre-defined styles
Users ability to customize their subscirptions
Aite admin ability to create domains, add and modify styles
List admin ability to customize lists"

The fact that Mailman was both long-term pretty stagnant, but also
massively used, is what makes it such an interesting testbed. The
theory here is that by using standards to break up the work, eg. data
model from front end, standard user IDs, permissioning, descriptions
etc., ... then we can speed up progress and cross-tool integration.
It seems the project is heading in that direction already...

> what does it mean when my identity comes back to me from a different network?
> What is the relation between a system to communicate, and a site to collaborate?
> and a site to organize? and a trust system?

All good questions! Mixing up these things can really confuse users
(eg. Google Wave initial launch...)



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