The ActivityPub Ecosystem

Evan Prodromou

We have a big world to build.
In this talk, I’ll discuss some of the cool stuff that’s been built, and cool stuff we still need.

Questions & Answers available

Q&A Session – The ActivityPub ecosystem
⬡ Hooray, the live Questions & Answers are available here


Oh thank you Evan for stating, as an opening, that we don’t need to do things the way commercial social media[1] do.

The second point is brilliant as well: gather round children and I will tell you tales of distant days… Nowadays, and especially after this “global confinement” craze, it looks as if free software developers were a bunch of autistic, armchair-stuck, no-life wanabee people. Isn’t this a bit contradictory to creating “social software”? Where’s the use-case? But many are parents, they do have a life, and indeed the presence of children is lacking in too many activist circles.

Trusting the ISP? Nay! Minimize the code, keep it basic. Embrace subscription, groups, storage, don’t worry about interfaces… Embrace KISS, stop thinking in terms of applications and more in terms of (minimalistic) services.

As @rhiaro and others mentioned in the opening panel, The ActivityPub C2S API is great and needs some love. Client application development is fun, it brings fun to the social network…

Focus on existing groups! Start from the existing groups in your social network(s).

Make it easy for people to get started (think YUNoHost, MAZI Zone, FreedomBox, and the like: plug it in and go). Wouldn’t it be nice to have some kind of hardware agent that will monitor whatever you like and report to your server directly? ActivityPub can be used to this kind of things.

Quantified Self… OK I skip this slide, otherwise @natacha is going to cringe :slight_smile: Just to say that Evan mentions opportunities here that can happen “better if you trust your server”.
And so, life streaming: building your own archive, your own network’s memory, away from predatory surveillance. Thinking generations from now.

We don’t have to get people “Hooked”, contrary to corporate social media. Question is: what do we want to do with our software to other people’s lives?

Can we design for happiness? To help people, make things, learn things, get exercise, set goals, feel gratitude, get enough sleep, finding people who really understand you, talking to people who really need it, deepening friendships, exploring new parts of relationships… Optimizing for meaning – i.e., making senseWhat is a meaningful interaction?

Thank you evan for a non-technical talk about the purpose of social networking software!

  1. sorry, I’m a bit attached to the difference between social networks and social media, as I like to say: social networks are what’s left between us when there’s no more electricity.


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it should be specialised software that just accepts and distributes activities, not every single app doing that

That’s our approach for Bonfire! Like I described in this post, while JavaScript and mobile clients using C2S seems like the obvious way, we’re trying a something different with a webapp written in a backend language syncing with a cloud-based AP server:

a box/appliance you can order, plug it in, it finds your wifi, it assigns itself a DNS name, and you can get to it with your phone or laptop, that kind of experience that combines ease of cloud with sovereignty of a home based system is super exciting

Wow, Evan predicted what we’re working on!


Since folks are talking about apps, you should come and check out Linux App Summit - maybe see if you can shop the idea of an app for Linux. - we certainly all align on shared values so worth attending!

I’ve seen a lot of people trying to setup a home server and fail at the one thing no pre-configured box can’t do: port forwarding in your router…

If that can be solved a lot of other server apps will want to use that solution too :smiley:

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Indeed, that’s often a challenge, which might it some cases be solved with UPnP, though that doesn’t help configuring a domain name and dynamic DNS service which is typically also required.
Fortunately though, in the case of Bonfire these would be optional, because the instance domain name (which needs to be always online for other instances to talk to) would be linked to the ActivityPub bridge in the cloud, and port forwarding would only be needing if you want to browse/post to your instance while away from the network where your device is plugged in.

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