Community servers

live blogging AMRO

where have all the servers gone?

Aileen used to run a home LAN which grew into a home server, hosting 60 domains. Domains belong to people. Human relationships are central to all community projects.

Art spaces used to require community ISPs. Some of these have migrated to do hosting for art orgs. Some have migrates to hosting individual artists or collectives.

Some groups use servers as a part of feminist practice, knowledge sharing and collective empowerment. Feminist servers can be intergenerational. They can have joyfulness, reflection, and peer support.

There are still different wants to think about where and how to do servers. Always-on is not necessarily the most important value for arts servers.

Homebew self-hosting is cool again! There are collectives of people doing this. runs a proper data centre. Theyare a membership organisation. They also do operate as service that aims at reliability.

Sharing tech knowledge is a particular skill that not all techies possess.

There are dualities in trying to run an NGO in a capitalist space like the internet. Values about uptime and so forth cause friction. Things break and people get frustrated, so there is serious emotional labour in relationship-based tech services. They are trying to use tools made for profit on a non profit context.

What is the relationship between the server and the community?

User education is important. “The server is a.physical thing. We blew a fuse. Please stand by.”

One group has a mobile raspberry-pi based server. It is currently downstairs. When its on trains, its offline.

ISPs have histories. People working at them encounter users at moments of errors.

Knowledge transmission is always incomplete. Servers are complex and documentation is hard.

Capitalism is an inescapable context. The contradiction this creates is never resolved. Fixing servers can be hard or boring or frustrating.

What if computing was seasonal?

Community server NGOs are chronically underfunded. Membership organisations doing servers make members part owners. This gives a meaningful relationship with the infrastructure and reliability in terms of organisational stability. And data sovereignty.

Self hosting is not safer in terms of data reliability. Back up your data. If the data is necessary for you, then form a plan to preserve it.

How have things changed since serves was founded? People want to form collectives, but its unapid time and effort to document things.

Embrace, extend, extinguish fucks up stable protocols and makes things harder to maintain. Free software companies are also capitalist.

Systems can become hacks upon hacks upon hacks. Even Foss projects can chase shiny overcomplexity. Some building blocks may be politically neutral but systemic tools reflect capitalist values.

Thank your sysadmin!

Systerserver exists for people to learn. They have a system for shared command line sessions so everyone shares a terminal.

A matonaut is now reminiscing about the 90s and that era of websites. In the old days these collectives were about giving access. But now it seems like a lifestyle choice.

arts servers have greater longevity than community servers due to more sustainable funding models. (Oh, to be European!)

Q: Has the war in the Ukraine effected solidarity networks in hosting? What about circumventing blocks? Guides for activists now in effected regions are howto exploit gaps, not how to host. Telegram somehow allows a way to create proxies. This creates dependencies on corporations like Amazon, telegraph etc. How can we regain agency? Can we communalism proxies?

A: Activists in Rotterdam started building up resources. But there’s so much fragmentation. Will USB sticks be a thing? Some activists are still using Facebook because it feels safer than many mastodon servers.

Could mirroring be a useful practice?

What kind of resource sharing would help support community servers? We don’t wish to be islands!

Documentation/ information sharing can be helpful.. Store playbooks in git repos.

the era of websites shoukd be over. Nobody needs websotes any more. We should move on and make text services for text.

its time for an attitude change. Changing philosophy can change terminology can change philosophy can create situated knowledge. We can use this change in mindset to slow down.

Linux community’s are corporatised and isolating.

Q: Ate feminist server communities a service?

A: partially. Artists are relying on etherpad and some other services. There is a syster server mastodon instance.

Farmasoft quit serving schools during the pandemic because they did not have the resources to sustain that useage level. This had implications for teachers who were trying to avoid google docs. But also, it was an emergency and they didn’t have the resource. When should money get involved in these processes?

Published by

Charles Céleste Hutchins

Supercolliding since 2003

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