What Framasoft would like to do in 2021 thanks to your donations
For 2021, Framasoft has many desires (we always have!): popular digital education, software developments and actions to participate in the web re-decentralization.
- The original French version of this article has been published on this blog on Dec. 15th, 2020;
- Read the Italian version of this article, translated by NILOCRAM.
- This article follows the blogpost explaining the actions carried out in 2020.
Here are the main actions we plan to carry out next year. However 2020 confirmed us that we can’t take anything for granted and that everything can change. So this article is more a snapshot of our todo list for 2021 than a roadmap set in stone.
Here is what we plan to do next year if we are not forced to change our plans in the middle of the year and if we can. We hope you will help us accomplish it by joining our donators.
Taking more time to develop ethical tools
In 2021, Framasoft will obviously continue to work on softwares we have been developping for years. But this year we didn’t plan any fundraising for one of these softwares.
Indeed, if organizing a fundraising allows to know and finance an initiative, it’s also the start of a sprint to code mainstream features in time.
This year we want to work on improvements, on mediation tools: features that may seem less sexy but that are just as important. We also want to take time to better listen to your feedbacks and needs.
Finding a community for Framaforms (the software)
In 2021 Théo will spend a few more months with us to continue the work (already well underway) on the software behind Framaforms: bugs resolution and new features requested by users. Thanks to these improvements, Framaforms will be much easier to use and administrate.
One of Théo’s missions is to create a contribution community around this software. Our goal is that this software’s evolution doesn’t exclusively rest upon our small not-for-profit shoulders. We’ll publish a presentation website in the coming months.
Because Framaforms is one of our most visited services, we deeply hope that other people will be interested in this solution and will continue to keep it alive and to make it evolve. The need to free forms from Google is important: free-libre softwares have strong arguments in this area and the development effort can’t rely solely on our small not-for-profit.
Slidewalker, an alternative to Slideshare and Scribd
We have been dying to carry out this idea for years: to create a free-libre software so that hosters can offer online documents hosting and consulting service, an alternative to slideshare or scribd.
Slidewalker would help anyone share documents (not just slideshows) in open formats (open documents) or in PDF format. For those using closed formats (docx, xlsx, pptx…) we will find how to convert them into a PDF format. But if you want something better, ask Microsoft to open their proprietary formats.
Once hosted, the files could be described, viewed, embed and opened to comments (or not, it’s not compulsory!). We also think of group features and quotas… we don’t lack of ideas for this software.
But we are realistic and know that we will not achieve to develop all of them in 2021, nor on the V1. For example, it won’t be a federated tool this time! We don’t even know if we will provide a public instance of this software.
We want a simple and efficient tool that works without embellishments. So far, we have only imagined it. Let’s meet in 2021 to see how this plan will become true (if it does!).
Consolidating PeerTube towards its v4
As mentioned several times, PeerTube’s v3 including live and peer-to-peer video streaming should be released in January 2021. First, this « live » will be minimalistic (no chat and reaction tools, etc.) but we will probably develop it and add new tools. Your feedbacks will influence updates about the interface itself or in addition to this main feature.
In 2020, Marie-Cécile Godwin, our partner designer, directed interviews with video makers, instance administrators and Internet users who wanted to watch videos elsewhere than on web giants platforms. These interviews confirmed our impressions: it’s confusing to come across a federated software (PeerTube) when you are expecting to find a video sharing platform (« in YouTube’s style »).
Google and its co-workers wrongly accustom us and it’s difficult for Internet users to apprehend decentralized web and federation principles… That’s why in 2021 we would like to make this understanding easier.
We want to modify significantly the interface, for example by inserting educational elements. We would like people who visit ExampleTube to see at a glance if a video is hosted by ExampleTube or if it’s on an instance federated with ExampleTube. Identifying immediately where a video comes from can change everything for watchers, videomakers and instance administrators.
We would also like to improve contents discoverability of both videos and channels. Even if SepiaSearch, our search engine, is a wonderful tool to search for videos, you have to know what you’re looking for.
For those who just want to browse, only this JoinPeertube page offers you videos, channels and instances selections. Thus we would like to create a tool allowing instance administrators to present and recommend content. Videomakers will also be able to customize their PeerTube channels by highlighting a video, modifying their playlists, adding a banner or by recommending other channels.
A Mobilizon suited to your needs
By publishing Mobilizon’s first version in the end of last October, we have proved that it’s now possible for those who want to gather, mobilize and organize themselves to use a free-libre and federated tool. We look forward to improving Mobilizon in 2021.
For example, we would like to use your feedbacks from previous weeks by implementing a new notification system to easily see the activity of events you have signed up for and new contents published in groups.
But we don’t want to overwhelm you with notifications nor to offer you a poor imitation of a Facebook wall. It would be against the spirit of attention simplicity we wanted for this tool. We will take all the time needed to imagine the most appropriate notification system. It seems more a design complexity than a code issue. For this reason (and many more), we’ll keep working with Marie-Cécile Godwin.
We also want to improve events discoverability. In the « Explore » menu, you currently can search for events with geographical localization. But displaying them on a map could be another way to discover the events next to you.
Some of you told us that the events selected in the « Featured events » and « These events may interest you » sections, at the bottom of event pages, didn’t seem pertinent. Therefore we will try to make the selection criteria more understandable (title, tag, date, location, etc.).
Finally we’re planning to create a dedicated space for the different contributions (feedbacks, issues, translations, code and support to the installation, etc.) on JoinMobilizon. We will also consider your desires about this tool and probably add features we haven’t thought about yet.
Decentralizing to avoid power concentration
Web giants are a handful of companies who managed to get us spend as much time as possible in front of our screens, so they can best decide what will be displayed on them.
The more people use their tools, the more power web giants get and the more complicated it becomes for each of us to use alternative tools.
Even at our level (a huge level for a small not-for-profit organization but a very small comparing to Google and co) we can notice that. The more one of our services are, the more it attracts problematic uses (moderation or spam) and causes imbalance issues (and some moral dilemma for our team when we have to decide!).
One solution is to increase the number of services hosting. It’s a truth that we will uphold for many years: de-google-ifying is great, yes, but it is not enough. It’s just the first step in decentralizing one’s digital uses.
Providing alternatives to some Frama-services
In 2021, Framasoft will continue to remake some of our services into portals to the same tools but hosted by other trusted providers, most often members of the CHATONS collective. This is what we’ve already done with the services we closed in 2020: Framabee, Framanews and Framastory.
We will close down very shortly Framapic, Framavectoriel, Framaclic, MyFrama and the former Framindmap version, replacing them with an « Alternative » page, similar to the one above. As we explained in this article, in mid-2021, Framasite, Framawiki, Framaboard, Framanotes, Framabin, Framabag and Framacalc will display alternatives.
We will also restrict uses of some other services during the year. Therefore you won’t be able to shorten new links via Frama.link anymore but the already shortened URLS will still work. We will also close down signing ups on Framasphère and Framapiaf (if you already have a Framapiaf account, nothing will change for you, whereas Framasphère will close in october).
However we consider not to restrict the Framalistes service this year contrary to what was indicated in our service closure schedule. Alternatives (even under another free-libre software) are uncommon and a much more used service in this period of social distancing. We will not restrict this service until we find a substainable solution.
More generally, in early 2021, we will reconsider our plans to « de-framasoft-ify the Internet ». Without questioning this approach, we thought this plan more than two years ago. And since then the world and the free-libre software landscape have changed: it’s time for a little update!
Supporting CHATONS (the Collective of Independent, transparent, open, neutral and ethical hosters providing FLOSS-based online services)
In 2021 we want to keep working on the coordination of CHATONS: the alternative hosting collective.
Each year, organizations that are collective’s members and alternative services they offer are increasing. That’s why in 2021 the collective thinks of reconsidering his website for you to find more easily the service or the organization that feets your needs the best.
We are currently reworking the collective’s wiki, aka the « litter », which should give you shortly access to all the documentation of the collective.
Finally, the collective CHATONS plans to build a new interface for its website, to better show the works carried out by the 90 organizations composing it.
Contributing to other’s digital tools
It’s always nice to participate in projects carried out by other organizations. In 2021, we will continue to support tool developments conducted by other organizations to which we have already contributed.
Released in 2019, Bénévalibre is a free-libre software allowing you to count volunteering hours within an association (French for not-for-profit NGO). Although the « all accounting » logic is not really part of our values, we think that such a requirement should not depend on proprietary softwares.
That’s the reason why friends of the April LibreAssociation group carried out this development and why we supported them. Since Bénévalibre’s v1 in September 2019, there has been a lot of hindsights and uses to know how to contribute to it and improve it in 2021.
Résistance à l’Agression Publicitaire, a French not-for-profit, that raises awareness about the place of advertising in our society: we did not expect them to develop a software. Yet the R.A.P association needed one to launch online petitions, so they coded it!
Petition tools need to be freed from surveillance capitalism mechanisms. In 2021 we will logistically and financially support the Pytitions software development in the hope to get rapidly to a general public version.
Contributing to people’s digital emancipation
We can’t list below all the popular education actions we will contribute to in 2021.
Firstly because some of these actions will be at the reflection phase and also because collective intelligence requires time and is hard to plan.
For example, in 2021 there may be a radical change of paradigm and functioning within our publishing house, Framabook. We may also think about the next MOOC CHATONS modules… but we haven’t decided yet.
Secondly, because some of these actions are carried out according to new needs, to wills coming together and to common schedules, etc.
Here are the outlines we can draw today. It will be very fun to compare this sketch with a more complete review of our popular education actions in the end of 2021.
We can’t wait seeing you again, away from keyboards!
In 2021 we hope the sanitary conditions will allow us to go back physically to our meetings, workshops, conferences or round-tables. Of course health comes first! Respecting our health and yours will be a main condition before accepting any of them.
This being said, we still hope that it will be possible because… we miss you! It’s important for us to meet regularly with different audiences and share opinions about web giant’s supremacy and the world that Surveillance Capitalism companies are planning for us.
Meanwhile we will continue our online meetings and we can already tell we have some planned for the first half of 2021!
Promoting the « Métacartes numérique éthique » (Cardgame to discover ethical digital alternatives)
Although the project was delayed (due to the pandemic), the Metacards « ethical digital alternatives » are being tested in many communities and the next workshop will take place on Dec. 18th, 2020 (register on Mobilizon!)
This tool that helps digital mediators to easily raise awareness on technology issues and to present alternatives that are respectful to Internet user’s should be released in 2021.
Framasoft will keep supporting this nice initiative we can’t wait to discover in 2021! To help producing it, we have (among others) pre-ordered games and we hope we will be able to spread this major animation system to amator and professional mediators.
Describing the Fediverse with a thesis or a drawing
For example, when we talk about PeerTube or Mobilizon, we see that it’s hard to tackle the concepts of « federated software », « instance » and « federation ». Indeed, those last twenty years, web giants have limited the web to « a website = a platform = a service » suggesting to most users that there is no alternative.
In 2021, we plan to work on making these concepts more accessible for everyone. For example, we asked LILA association (who made the « What Is PeerTube? » animated video) to produce some short videos popularizing key concepts.
At the same time, we are contributing to funding a thesis that started in Oct. 2020 at the UTC by Audrey Guélou entitled « Configurations techno-éthiques pour les médias sociaux décentralisés et fédérés » (Techno-ethical configurations for decentralized and federated social media).
A first step towards Framasoft cloud’s project
A year ago we were talking about our « Framasoft cloud » project: a service based on Nextcloud software giving easily access to many collaborative tools. Meanwhile, the world and our thoughts on this project have changed.
Due to the covid19 crisis, many people had to use new digital tools without any support. Even though we are spending more and more time « working/collaborating/cooperating/exchanging/producing » in front of our screens: most of us are not very comfortable with these digital practices.
Nextcloud remains a free-libre software that can meet these needs especially for an audience (organizations, collectives, etc.) wanting digital emancipation. In 2021, we want to devote time and energy to create awareness and understanding tools about what Nextcloud is (and isn’t), about what we can do with it and how… in order to increase your organization and collaboration abilities.
Taking time to think the Popular University UPLOAD project
This project of a Libre Open Accessible and Decentralized Popular University (UPLOAD) was conceived during Contributopia’s campaign in October 2017. In 2021, we will be far from completing it but we want to start defining it more concretely.
Our first goal it to create a space for people to get to a lot of re-appropriable knowledge (with contents under free-licence of course). This space should be able to adapt to many popular educational and empowerment uses.
It’s also to think about how digital coaches’ works could be facilitated so that these contents can be appropriated and organized online or physically.
In order to think of the most relevant tool, and how we could humbly contribute to this environment where many initiatives were launched before us, Framasoft gives itself one year to note what already exists on this matter and think about how this project could be organized to be the most effective.
A year to find each other
Let’s be honest: even us when we read this huge list, we don’t know how we will accomplish all of it! But if we look closely, most of the actions are the continuation of projects and partnerships or the first steps to develop ideas we have always liked.
2020 has been for us (and for everyone we suppose) a strange year that have shifted our priorities and where we have been a bit confused and overwhelmed.
Today if we had to describe how we think about 2021 in one word it will be « finding »: finding our marks, finding you back, and finding ourselves in action. Because we never lost the meaning of what we do, for you and with you.
In 2021, we want lead our way to this meaning given in our actions, towards these values of digital emancipation, power decentralization and popular education.
As Framasoft only lives from your donations, we hope you will follow us and support us once again in this direction.