2013 reboot

30 months later…

An excellent post by Brianna Laugher served to remind me of the need to reboot autonomo.us:

Autonomy is a term not widely used by free software activists, although it has been – the autonomo.us group was set up to help promote free network services. But I wonder: what if we reformulated the four freedoms in the terminology of autonomy rather than freedom, and emphasised the benefit to communities over the benefit to individuals?

(I strongly agree with Brianna’s post, but autonomo.us didn’t start to re-conceptualize software freedom via new terminology, so I’ll leave that aside for now, and be glad for the unintended reminder.)

I think it is fair to say that since the publication of the Franklin Street Statement, no free network service and no federated protocol has emerged to seriously challenge the increasing centralization of the web and software, and the critique and recommendations of autonomo.us, as stated in the FSS, have not gained the currency we had hoped for.

But the need for free-as-in-freedom services and federation, and the salience of our critique and recommendations, have only increased (admittedly a wholly unsurprising and self-serving assessment). Two examples that I’ve personally blogged about: flailing attempts at user autonomy within proprietary systems, and lack of appreciation of software freedom and nearby as the most potent mechanism to promote and protect our autonomy. (Warning: those are highly opinionated personal posts that only indirectly touch on free network services; if the implications are unclear, I take it as instructive as to how far we, or at least I, have to go.)

How to go forward? Certainly, the FSS and nearby deserve harsh scrutiny in all aspects. But mainly we need to create, deploy, and use free network services and federated/distributed/P2P protocols.

In the tiny universe of people who contributed to the FSS or discussions immediately following, I would guess the three most significant developments in the last 30 months are the pending shift of StatusNet to pump.io, the launch of GNU MediaGoblin, and the ongoing development of libre.fm. Uncharitably, the most pertinent shared characteristic of these projects is that federation is to-be-implemented. [Correction: Evan says pump.io already federates.]

Much outside this tiny universe has happened in the last 30 months that is pertinent and good, or at least curious. Tell us about it. Join us. Edit us. Be autonomo.us.☻

12 thoughts on “2013 reboot”

  1. Two quick points: pump.io already federates, full stop. Definitely better than StatusNet, but not perfectly.

    Secondly, I wonder if the upcoming LibrePlanet event presents an opportunity to discuss and reinvigorate. Should we get (most of) the band back together?

  2. Carlos, the list is qualified with “In the tiny universe of people who contributed to the FSS or discussions immediately following.” Mike Macgirvin (Friendica/Red developer) was never part of these discussions (which is our fault — as “tiny universe” implies, it’s an insular group; would love to include him). Friendica falls under “Much outside this tiny universe has happened…” I hope to (or better yet, I hope others do) post about Friendica and other important developments going forward.

  3. A mildly humorous historical note that I’d forgotten — autonomo.us “returned” in 2011, see http://evanprodromou.name/2011/04/15/on-the-return-of-autonomo-us/ and http://rejon.org/2011/04/autonomo-us-lives-toward-free-network-services/ — but the only evidence other than those posts is some archived list traffic (previous archives were lost! oh the perils of not hosting with a large institution — saved by the centralized http://web.archive.org/web/20100711143346/http://lists.autonomo.us/pipermail/discuss/ !) at https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/autonomous-discuss

  4. I think something wacky has happened to the feed here. I am subscribed to the feed but it only shows the latest post as “The Libre Web Application Stack” from August 9th, 2010 9:00pm.
    How about Mozilla’s Persona project? I should especially mention it as Francois also reminded me about autonomo.us at LCA :)

  5. pfctdayelise,

    Persona is definitely one of the good projects in the latter (outside tiny autonomo.us group universe; for a very narrow definition of that universe, as many of us know people involved in Persona). I’m excited about Persona.

    http://autonomo.us/feed/ seems fine. Are you subscribed to another URL? It would not surprise me at all if there are feed URLs from older deployments of the site that need to be redirected.

  6. Hm, you’re right. I was looking at in browser while logged in (and even that doesn’t show the post I made today). Not logged in, I get the same result. Very odd. Maybe a cache issue which I can’t seem to control from the admin interface. I’ll bug mattl…

  7. /feed/ is finally updated. cache disabled apparently. we’ll see how things hold up when a post is [centralized swarm of the period]’d.

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