Spritely and Federation Futures

Christopher Lemmer Webber (@cwebber)

Spritely is a laboratory-project to incubate tools for the future of the fediverse, working on such things as Datashards (distributed storage), Goblins (distributed programming), improved security for user interface designs, etc.

See live updates and demonstrations from the Spritely project and hear how these incubated technologies could help pave positive futures for the fediverse.

Questions & Answers available

Q&A Session – Spritely and Federation Futures
⬡ Hooray, the live Questions & Answers are available here

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I was very curious about this one since this is the next big thing @cwebber started after releasing the ActivityPub spec, and it’s smelling #ocap all over.

After a short introduction of ActivityPub, Chris mentions networks of consent, a topic he introduced here talking about OcapPub…

Spritely Project: The Super Exciting Future Of Fediverse is a “laboratory project for the social web”. The interesting approach is to provide examples of doing one thing at a time, so that other developers can see how it’s done (and maybe get inspired to do their own!).

  • Goblins is the starting point, to develop distributed collaboration in untrusted environments, using Object Capabilities (#ocap). The key taker is that Goblins allows programmers to focus on the simple case and adapt to distributed environments very easily – lest the optimization, such as caching… Wow, that already a strong opening!
  • Porta & Bella is providing opaque portable storage (remember #datashards?): this means only people with direct access to the files can reconstruct the stored files, wherever they’re distributed to (in chunks)
  • Brux provides pet-name identity management.
  • Mandy provides easy ActivityPub integration acting as a bridge for applications that do not support ActivityPub natively.
  • Hyptis enables distributed finance for games, local money, etc.[1] Will that be compatible with GNU Taler?
  • Oaken provides a way to safely run untrusted code. Not a sandbox per se, more like a wooden box!
  • Fantasary runs virtual worlds! (“to encourage exploring and building things together”)

Despite what may appear from this impressive list, Spritely is not overly ambitious, is not trying to reinvent the wheel and is not starting from scratch: instead it builds on already explored and implemented areas and problems that remained obscure and tries to “make them less obscure”, and more importantly, in the context of ActivityPub. Looking forward to it!

Key takeaway: Spritely meets Chris’ long term ideas and itches with the will to make collaboration much easier.


  1. the sugar & neighbor example resonates with me in a way that completely ruins the plot. Let’s just say that I would never imagine having to pay, or someone pay for a bit of sugar, a lemon or some pepper to save the day: that’s the beauty of human relationships, you don’t want to put a market there, do you? I’ll give you the full story next time over a beer if you like :wink: ↩︎

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Thanks for the enthusiastic followup :slight_smile:

As for the sugar and lemon thing, I don’t think a “market” thing is always necessary, but it is an “economy”. There are a lot of kinds of economies, and many of them cooperative instead of competitive. Providing tools to find out how to make it easier to help each other out can be good… not doing so can sometimes fall too much to the default “competitive market” then. I am more interested in cooperation than competition in general.

Anyway, looking forward to the discussion! And your summaries of the different components seems good.

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The thing with sugar and neighbors is that it usually resolves without any technology involved. You could use time sharing for kids pick up at school as an example that’s an economy that could benefit from coordination with technology that would not be a market. I guess I’m influenced by watching Evan’s talk where he mentions children, but indeed, I can see how parents in the same neighborhood could use a Hyptis-powered app to arrange their dealing of who takes care of the kids in turns, that would probably work better than just vocal agreements and late SMS announcing “I’m late” or “I can’t make it”.

Don’t have much time to go further into it, but I think you’ve pointed at something important here: cooperative (or heck, even competitive) economy advancements only work when immersed within a social context. I think there’s been reason for failure of a number of mainstream cryptocurrency initiatives to take off, but that’s one reason. Integrating in such a way that supporting each other is easier over our networks is good.

The sugar and babysitting example doesn’t necessarily need financial tools, can be done directly simply by a message. However, it is empowering to have a generalized way of exchanging services and goods in the abstract… there’s a reason currency reappears everywhere, even where technically forbidden (eg cigarettes traded in prisons as currency)… it’s useful to hold onto something where you have a lot of freedom to exchange for a number of things. The general assumption though is that these kinds of general abstract currencies have to be in large scale, trustless systems. I brought up the mutual aid network as an example where it’s small scale but high-trust communities.

As another way of pointing to this, there’s a lot of people I’d like to be able to more easily support, as artists, musicians, software authors, etc. It’s currently very hard to do so in most systems… if we can make it easy, and leave a lot of freedom for communities to decide what kinds of economic systems they would like to settle on that work for them, then we can do a lot of good I think.

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interesting concepts, may this be also continued at: