Private social networks using Secure ScuttleButt

#1

Secure ScuttleButt

Secure ScuttleButt (SSB) is a P2P social network that stores all of an individual’s data on their own device. It has all of the features of diaspora* except aspects. In addition, it also has “gatherings” to organize events.

SSB is an offline-first protocol that delivers its messages over various channels - LAN discovery, bluetooth, tor, cjdns etc. If two nodes on the network cannot connect to each other over these transports, they can talk through a public relay called “pub” which is a server on the internet.

This thread is to discuss the use cases of SSB and its relevance to FreedomBox.

Our experience with SSB so far

First discussion about ScuttleButt on the mailing list
https://alioth-lists.debian.net/pipermail/freedombox-discuss/2018-March/008336.html

My personal notes on SSB
https://njoseph.me/mediawiki/SSB

I have started experimenting with the Patchwork and Manyverse clients of SSB.

Use cases

Family social network

  1. FreedomBox users can already use ScuttleButt as a local social network at home to share photos and documents, create events etc. I think the private message feature can even be used like chat threads.
  2. Someone away from home can create posts on their SSB client and sync them to other family members after coming home. Relatives visiting and syncing photos is a classic use case in ScuttleButt.

Hosting an SSB Pub on FreedomBox

FreedomBox can potentially host an SSB pub (see mailing list thread above) since it’s publicly reachable over the internet. This allows the possibility to form private social networks with people located far away and also allows syncing with less delay.

Local social network in Community Wi-Fi networks

FreedomBox Community Wi-Fi networks (universities and villages) are basically large LANs where ScuttleButt network discovery and sync would work very well. People can form local social networks without dependence on any centralized servers. It can be used as a digital noticeboard, discussion forum etc.

Host ScuttleButt data directory on FreedomBox

ScuttleButt creates a new keypair on each new installation by default. This means, your desktop account and mobile account are essentially different accounts. Hosting the data directory .ssb on the FreedomBox and accessing the web interface through a browser can possibly solve this problem. Patchfoo is a client that can be used for this purpose. Multiple users can be supported too, each with their own .ssb directory.

References

Official website
https://www.scuttlebutt.nz/

FAQ
https://www.scuttlebutt.nz/faq/

Technical documentation
https://ssbc.github.io/docs/


I encourage some of the power users in our community to try it out and come up with more use cases. We should also find out the best privacy settings for this network.

The reference implementation is in NodeJS :zipper_mouth_face: and the Android app called Manyverse is still in Beta.

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Hosting P2P applications on FreedomBox