Newebe @ LSM

Hey, I will be at Libre Software Meeting 2012 (aka RMLL) where I will hold two ligthing talks!

  • The first one will explain why Newebe is different from other social network, monday 12:15.
  • The second one will be about my startup project, Cozy Cloud, and will give you some hints on how to make organic web apps, tuesday 12:05.

See you there !


Newebe version 0.5.0 released

Newebe finally reached the version 0.5.0! This one is a little bit special because now Newebe has the main features of the distrbuted social network I described two years ago. As you understand, this is a great satisfaction for all of people which helped to build Newebe! Sharing stuff without worrying about privacy issues is a real pleasure and we are glad to have made it possible.
But this should not be limited to a small bunch of users. So for the next release, we will focus more on adoption by improving installation process and adding popular features like file sharing or integration with other social networks. If you have any suggestions/requests feel free to write it in the comments of this post.

Now let’s speak about the new features! Here is the list of what comes with this release:

  • All connections (with browsers and between contacts) are based on HTTPS.
  • Notes and pictures can be attached to microposts.
  • Data from posted microposts can be saved in your Newebe notes.
  • Theming: you can put your own CSS and change the way your Newebe looks like.
  • Easy installation script for Debian-like distributions.

NB: For newcomers, if you want to see Newebe in action you can try our demo (password: newebe) or install it in a way we recommend. If you need any help, refer to the installation guide or ask for assistance on our mailing-list.

4 ways to host your own Newebe

The blocking point to start using Newebe, the real distrbuted social network, is the fact that you need to host your instance on a server. To be honest, actually I haven’t found an easy way to deal with that, but I propose here the most straightforward solutions to that problem.

1. Host it on an online box

Rent an online box from a provider like, OVH, Rackspace… After you did that you will have your own dedicated server available from every where. For this server, chose an Ubuntu or Debian distribution and run the newebe installation script. Good news, you’re done ! Connect to your Newebe through your browser to : http://ipadressofyourbox:newebeport/

2. Host it on a plug computer at home

Most recommended choice but hardest to set up: buy a plug computer (like a Sheeva plug or a Dream plug) with a Debian or Ubuntu distribution and plug it to your local  network (use an ethernet wire to connect your plug to your provider box). Then connect to it through ssh. Run newebe installation script. Finally, routes the port you chosed for your newebe to a port of your box that you will make available everywhere. Done !

3. Host it on your local machine and make it available through pagekite

What is pagekite ? Pagekite is a simple solution that allows people to give access to a local server from everywhere just by running a pagekite software. So you don’t need specific hardware. If your OS is Ubuntu, simply run the Newebe installation script on your main computer. Choose default port for newebe (8000) then read Pagekite howto . When pagekite installation is complete your newebe will be accessible from a url like this one .

4. Host it on your friend box

If all of that sounds too technical, simply ask to one of your friend to host your newebe. So you will try it. Once you will love it, the effort needed  to set up your own server will be worth the deal!

Newebe : a nice way to store interesting stuff from your contacts

What is annoying when you use social network like Facebook or Twitter, is that you don’t have nice way to save link or pictures that you contacts shared with you. Twitter allows you to mark interesting posts as favorite but that’s all. Fortunately, Newebe now solves this problem by allowing you to push microposts or pictures to a note you wrote before. So you can save quickly a good link or a nice picture to your notes. Moreover, because it’s in note application, you are able to organized all grabbed data efficiently.

Select micropost and click on “push to note” button.

Then a dialog box appears.  Select your note and click on “select”.

And find it inside your notes !

PrivacyCamp @ La Cantine

Last friday La Cantine and La CNIL organized a Privacy Camp @ La Cantine. It was my first one and I was glad to discover it. The principle is simple : peoples propose 1 hour workshops for each available rooms and other participates to it. That led us to an afternoon of 12 workshops about online identity, anonymity, smartphone data and of course distributed social networks.  Some privacy celebrities were there such as Jean Marc Manach, Trisan Nitot or Henry Story.

I am not sure that there was a lot of new things that came out from this kind of discutions but it helps people interested in the problem to connect each other, make their ideas clearer and validating that they share the same point of view. That’s why I decided to animate the distributed social network workshop. So I could share a lot of thoughts. Unfortunately, others are still sceptic about self hosting. Whatever, to promote Newebe it was definetely a great thing : a lot of people there didn’t know what I do and are now quite interested in it. By this way, I met Henry Story who has a solution about distributed identity, called WebID. That could fit well with Newebe : you take advantage of your own server and of common contacts to ensure trustability.

Finally I was a litte bit disapointed by the workshop hosted by la CNIL. They did not want to promote solutions to privacy problems like free softwares, privacy optimized Firefox, DSN… They prefer finding better ways to warn people about what happens when they suscribe to a website like Google or Facebook. That made me sad. Whatever this barcamp was great, thanks to them and I hope there will be another one soon !

Themes for Newebe

Newebe user and bored by the default black and white design ? Good news, Newebe has a new feature : theming !

For that, change the styles by adding your own CSS file to the static/css/ folder you find at the root of your Newebe directory. The theme file must be named theme.css . Then reload, your web page and you will be glad to use a colorful Newebe !

What’s new about decentralized social networks ?

Decentralized/distributed social networks are still highly active. Here are some news of the ones I follow :