Once upon a time, FOSS enthusiasts were so concerned about Microsoft, that they recommended everyone use GMail and Google Apps.

Today the same crowd hates Google, so they recommend $SERVICE instead...

As long as $SERVICE is a provider in the cloud, on somebody else's computer, I'm shaking my head.

Many of the things being recommended are even more proprietary and locked-down than Google's stuff is!

Fighting monopolies is good. But don't lie to yourself that this helps software freedom.

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@HerraBRE You're like the local authority on this being a MailUserAgent developer. I wish more people could put eyes on this toot.

@chuck Sadly it's really common in e-mail.

I am so conflicted about this, because I really DO think fighting monopolies and having choices is super important. More important than software freedom, in many respects.

But it grinds my gears to see people using FOSS arguments against Google and for things that are... less open. Not naming names because that's not the goal here.

@HerraBRE unless you own your own platform you're going to have the same issues everywhere. That's why I'm not rushing out to sign up for any third party anything. Deliberately going slow so I can find the right self-hosted solutions.

@CrowderSoup It's hard work!

Are you aware of yunohost.org ?

They're trying to make it easier. I haven't used their stuff myself, but I love what they're trying to do.

In some cases, like e-mail, self hosting is almost impossible due to spam filters making everything awful. In such cases, owning your domain and using a standards compliant provider are the best you can hope for, freedom-wise.

@HerraBRE @CrowderSoup the thing is, the average user wont want to eat the maintenance cost (time) of running an email server.

#truestory

@chuck @CrowderSoup Pssh. Don't call it a server. Servers are scary. It's just their p2p messaging app!

But e-mail is particularly bad, as I said. Special kind of awful.

@HerraBRE @CrowderSoup I have self-hosted my email for 20 years now. Over that time it has gotten MUCH easier to manage and today there are great options out there that have gradually made the "hosting email is hard and frustrating" reputation obsolete.

At the same time ISPs have made it more difficult to self host on-premise using spam control as an excuse but also perhaps due to their own self interests, collusion with Google etc.

But you can still push ownership "down the stack" ...

@HerraBRE @CrowderSoup

... the first step as mentioned before is to own your own domain so you can switch email services without losing your email address, preferably using standards compliant services.

The next step, which is slowly getting more feasible, is to push ownership lower in the stack by hosting your own email service on an affordable VPS. After that (on premise self hosting) it gets more difficult or pricey.

But at least it contains the cloud to the OS level.

@HerraBRE Sadly, I think it was/is a very small group of individuals who care(d) passionately about non-proprietary. I firmly believe the vast majority simply wore the tabard of Libre while secretly only caring that it was free of financial cost to themselves. (Cynical Pete)

For example, why has all the FOSS people not left Twitter and flocked to Mastodon if they truly care about the issue of proprietary and lock-downs?

@dickturpin If they waited until Mastodon was created, they would already have demonstrated the same uncaringness. I joined Identica in 2009 because someone told me it was the place where FOSS people were going.

@HerraBRE @chuck Good callout on the contradictory statements those people made. 100% agree this is fucked up but...Look I'm going to be honest, you will not get the majority of the population to self-host. There are a ton of concerns regarding people with low income or people with no computer education. Hell, you won't even get good penetration outside of us computer geeks until this process is one-click install.

I support these efforts. But we have to compromise on the remote hosting thing because people with lower incomes are never going to be able to afford such a luxury. GMail and other "gratis" services are a tax on the poor. If the problem is hosting on a remote computer, the solution to that isn't to tacitly imply the poor buy something (a local computer for hosting). The solution to expensive HTTPS certs was Let's Encrypt! Let's think about complete penetration if we're serious about privacy, rather than remaining pure. This will require compromise on some principles of privacy, namely we will need solutions based in trust and humanity rather than a tech solution.

@alice @chuck I like the way you're thinking!

Minor counterpoint: computers are free! These days even the poorest have smartphones, which are extremely capable machines.

When we don't want to compromise on privacy, we do have the choice to compromise on other things, such as uptime or speed.

Check out apps like Briar, they're doing some amazing things.

My was built to let people run websites on devices without public IPs.

So yes, but... don't rule out the tech side completely.

@HerraBRE @chuck That's absolutely fair! And mobile device software are indeed often one-click setups. We could potentially get people acclimated to the idea of using their phones or tablets as passive MX servers and other oft-remote services. That's what I mean by a humanity-based solution: changing hearts and minds by using cultural normalization (of self-hosting MX, etc) and building that trust in these services. I think it's even better nowadays since most phones are encrypted, so people may even begin to trust their own devices more than remote ones if we appeal to them in that fashion. We have the tech, let's get those people!

@HerraBRE If a service is run by a profit-driven organization I tend to shake my head a bit already as it's always only a matter of time before we become their next product...

@HerraBRE I built an open source competitor to Slack. It had most of the important features, but needed a bit of polish to make it useful to everybody.

Not much interest unfortunately. Lots of people commenting on that it was a great project, but no one was willing to help, so the project is dead at the moment.

I don't blame anyone. It takes a lot of effort to contribute to Open Source, and when a closed-source, free service it out there, of course people will use it.

@loke That sounds neat. I wanted to write such a thing for the Icelandic Pirates, when they were just getting started...

Is the code anywhere public?

@loke Wow, lisp! Cool! ๐Ÿ˜

I'd guess that is probably part of why it was hard to find contributors.

In Mailpile, the fact that people needed to be fluent in *both* Python and HTML5/Javascript, and it's not a familiar framework, really holds us back I think.

But what mostly holds us back, is we don't have enough users. People need to be users before they care enough to contribute.

Is that where you stalled too?

@HerraBRE The server side is Lisp, and quite solid. Not much work is needed there.

It's the client side that needs work, and while it is mostly in Clojurescript, we were working on a rewrite in plain JS.

@HerraBRE I guess so. We were using it internally at the office, so we had solid number of users.

However, to make it usable by all users, there needed to be some kind of easy onboarding process (the account creation screen was terrible, for example). That was never really given any priority.

So yes, I do believe you're right. I'm sure we could have gotten a bit more visibility if we had made the stuff around the actual application prettier.

@HerraBRE I did do a talk about it at the time. It emphasises the benefits of developing a web application in Lisp: youtube.com/watch?v=bl8jQ2wRh6

@loke @HerraBRE Also there is already Mattermost, Rocket.Chat, Riot, Zulip, Let's Chat ... A new entry would have to be really compelling for people to pay attention.
@moonman @loke I thought you were pretty happy with Mattermost? Did I get that wrong, or was it a case of the honeymoon period wearing off and the rough edges showing?
@clacke @loke We actually shut down our mattermost, incidentally. We shut off our IRC, but it will come back at some point (IRC clients are all shit, though.)
@moonman @clacke @loke i loved your irc moonman i was thinking making my own but i am not a cool kid on the block.

@clacke By the time our application was ready to use, those other alternatives were not as useful to us.

Since this product hasn't been actively developed for the last few years, of course the situation is different now.

I haven't really tried those products, but last I did, at least Riot was very difficult for people to use. Rocket was very buggy at the time, but I'm sure it's a lot better now.

@HerraBRE But hosting mail is hard and only an elite group can manage to host their mails themselves, so that problem will stay. You can only chose a provider you can trust and vote with your money. Free is almost always bad.

@HerraBRE People lie best when they lie to themselves.

@HerraBRE One thing ordinary people don't think about regarding email is to get your own domain name in case some day you need to get out of whatever cloud email you use. Amo,g friends, email has taken a back seat to the other communication methods, but it's growing in commercial use. For example, two grocery stores I shop at use emailed receipts. It save paper and mess, and lets me see how often I buy stuff. Lots of subscription services push the news and tell you when they're charging you, etc. I think we tend to forget how important email would be if Gmail (or Yahoo) suddenly decided to stop. With a domain name, you'd be able to react by changing providers like changing your mobile carrier.
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