Buddycloud Blog

Sep 28

Github updates via buddycloud -

If you’re not aware of them github has a set of service hooks that as a repository owner/admin you can utilise in order to push event information (be it commits, pushes, pull requests, branching, etc) to a 3rd party service. There’s a whole set of these services that you can already push to from Jenkins CI right through to Yammer, and now buddycloud!

Sep 18

San Francisco update

It’s been very busy here. With a nice day off in the San Jose Hills this Saturday.

Right now we are working to finish the presentations and demo code ready for the demo-day at Mozilla. 

The trip has been a chance to meet and mix with a bunch of smart people at Mozilla and in San Francisco. For example getting UX feedback from the team working on Firefox OS and business advice from the WebFWD team.

Best of all it’s been great knowing we have a team back home supporting us. Thanks Brazil, Thanks German, France, UK and everyone that has been pushing in commits and arguing their corner for building a solid buddycloud client in such a short amount of time.

We have noticed these bc stickers around SF

Right now we are working to get MrFlix’s designs implemented.  

and the new channel view:

now users can update their prefs too:

and create new posts

At the moment we are tying together the bits from the media server and the HTTP API server to build the new webclient.

And if you are in San Francisco, please do come and support us on our demo day at Mozilla or via Air Mozilla.

Thanks again to everyone pitching in. I feel very fortunate to work with such a great team.

Sep 12

Learning By Doing

At its core, buddycloud is a set of protocols and specifications that can be used to create a wide range of familiar web features, such as Twitter feeds, Facebook conversations, and Flickr albums; as well as an unknown and boundless set of additional applications that nobody has thought of yet.

The protocols underpinning buddycloud are completely open, and participate in a healthy, ongoing standards process. Anyone is free to write buddycloud applications, and everyone will remain free to do so, without fear of licensing fees or arbitrary API restrictions. 

buddycloud threads an interesting needle: how can we enable all these powerful features, while still giving each user complete control of their personal data and their own privacy?

The solution lies in the buddycloud server, which turns anyone’s computer into an implementation of all the buddycloud protocols. We’ve written our own version of the server, but anyone is free to implement their own server as well. So long as a user’s server speaks the buddycloud language, it will be able to interact happily with all the other buddycloud servers in the world. This freedom of each user to control their own server guarantees that nobody can suddenly change the way your data is treated. You don’t need to agree to any ‘privacy policy’, because you set the privacy policy for your own data yourself.

That’s why we talk about buddycloud being ‘federated’.  Each server is responsible entirely for itself, but at the same time each server is able to communicate very tightly and seamlessly with all other buddycloud servers. The result is a broad tapestry in which the full nature and behaviors of buddycloud are made available to all.

One of the problems with existing social networks has been the desire of the parent corporation to control the user experience for its own benefit. When you use facebook, it’s impossible to forget that you’re embedded in that user experience. And the goals of that parent corporation may involve things that are unrelated to what’s best for the user; such as taking maximum advantage of each user’s retinal ‘real-estate’. By giving the user total control of their own data and their experience, buddycloud doesn’t risk this temptation.

Developing the buddycloud protocols and software architecture has had its own set of challenges to overcome. Any federated system needs developers and users in order to achieve the federation; so we’ve had to engage in a lot of advocacy, while simultaneously making decisions that affect the protocols and development framework. We recently made the hard decision to do a major architectural change to our web client, which involved abandoning work that had taken a lot of time and energy to produce; we did it because it was the right technical decision, though it required a big adjustment from our whole team. And we want to recognize and make those kinds of decisions early rather than late, so the fewest number of users are affected.

In light of that, and as another part of our advocacy, we want to make our own development processes and decisions more transparent to anyone who’s interested in learning more about us. There are a lot of debates - most of them friendly, but sometimes there are strong differences between developers. And we’re going to be publishing the logs of all our developer discussions as they happen - even our video hangouts! But more than that, we’re starting a blog that will summarize a lot of the key discussions and decisions that we engage in from week to week. And from time to time you’ll hear from the buddycloud CEO, Simon Tennant, who’ll talk about various events, hacking sessions, and the strategies behind the company.

Sep 10


Aug 31


Aug 09

Remember AOL Keywords?

Anyone remember “Go to AOL Keyword: Ford”?

I try to avoid blowing the buddycloud trumpet (pssst: we’re building an open federated/distributed social network) each time there is a future-of-twitter post on hackernews. I can’t hold back this time.

Twitter works in the same way the old AOL client did: you accessed some message boards and stock prices and film websites using AOL keywords. Marketers flocked to AOL to put up the latest movie premier website.

At the same time there was the small techno-elite downloading Mosaic 0.98 over their 28.8Kbps SLIP connection and starting to experiment with the “world wide web”. In comparison with the closed systems like Compuserve and AOL, the open web took much longer to evolve because everybody was working on different parts without any central coordination.

It was this lack of central coordination that brought us the more robust world wide web system and I don’t think that any of us would argue for a world where AOL is the gold standard of finding, hosting and accessing content.

Twitter is pushing hard to be the gold standard of messaging in the same way that AOL did. And marketers are flocking to work with Twitter along with newscasters giving out hashtags and @twitter-names.

But, in the backrooms and basements and hackerspaces of the internet, today’s equivalent of Mosaic downloaders are experimenting with open, distributed social networks like buddycloud.

The buddycloud team and everyone who attends our hackathons is working to build the post-Twitter future just like Netscape helped launch the open web.

The future will not be built around one company, but a couple of companies like buddycloud that help nudge an open future forward. The future will be protocol based (everyone agrees on a common way to communicate) rather than homesteading on another company’s API for fear of API key revocation.

To move away from Twitter, we must think bigger: a giant network like email where everyone can run their own servers and they all interconnect.

We’re trying to solve some of these problems on the buddycloud wiki. And props to the buddycloud team, I think they are doing a great job. I’ll go back to biting my tongue on each new future-of-twitter post.

buddycloud summit: a list of everything we made

The first buddycloud summit was a great success. It’s awesome to see how the buddycloud-community grows and how many people from far and wide contribute to building a new open future using the buddycloud architecture.

We say thank you to Sonny from Allicante, Dodo from Dresden, Tuomas from Paris and Andy from Lancashire for joining our Munich crowd - and all the others from all over the world dropping in remotely: From Europe to the US West coast.

A big thank you also goes to Hillert & Co for making their great office space available to us again!

What we worked on - our dev highlights:

We hope to see you at our next summit and hackathon. Stay tuned: Follow development on buddycloud’s github page and the buddycloud dev wiki.

Aug 03

The countdown is on!

The first buddycloud summit and hackathon starts in less then 24 hours: A lot of people are going to join us this time - awesome.

If you can’t make it, you can still drop in remotely. For getting an invitation to our Google hangout, just send an email to donna.smith@buddycloud.com.

See you tomorrow!

Jul 31

Great think piece by Dave Cridland on Twitter's accountability.

Jul 26

buddycloud Summit v1.0 and hackathon

The federated social web continues to change and evolve at an unprecedented pace. buddycloud is leading this revolution.

Strategies of building an open ecosystem become more important to users and companies for privacy and data security alike. Social applications no longer just help us - they run our lives. Yet most of us still depend on closed networks and companies potentially expose private information outside the corporate firewall.

The buddycloud Summit delves into the issues and challenges of developing a secure, federated social network. It brings together buddycloud developers, thought-leaders, peers and colleagues from the open source world, software vendors and mobile makers building a better future.

The summit provides you with the know-how to build your next project on buddycloud.

Let’s build this open future together. Be a part of it and join us!


For further planning check hackathon@topics.buddycloud.org and the buddycloud wiki.

Date and location

The summit will be at the weekend of August 4th and August 5th. 11am until 11pm.

Additionally we’ll run a Google hangout for the duration of the summit and hackathon for those that want drop in remotely.

The Hillert & Co office space is at Tengstraße 37 in Munich.

The station is about a minute from the office space.

If you get lost or need directions: call +49 178 545 0880

Larger map

Get involved

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Please let donna.smith@buddycloud.com know if you can make it so that she can plan numbers.