Hello SC volunteers, especially @Sujato and @Vimala. I find it inspiring, all the hard work you’re pouring into SC and discourse.SC. This is a follow-up message (and offer) to those outstanding individuals mentioned in this previous post.
The following is in the spirit of giving (and also doing my part to express the serious unsuitableness of patronizing the likes of Google, Apple, Dropbox, etc):
Motivation: It’s been my experience that Nextcloud 13 works really well. While there are free-for-use Nextcloud servers that you could get an account on, I would say, don’t bother, as they probably will have very poor service (with way too many free-loading users bogging the servers down).
Back-story: Over the last month or two, I’ve set up and tested two Nextcloud servers for myself (and made testing accounts for a couple of geek friends, who helped with the testing). The first one was on a Raspberry Pi (a cheap initial “investment”), just to learn and test how it worked (which took a few days of casual tinkering). Then once I was confident it worked well (and it did), I set up a more serious Nextcloud server on a friend’s QNAP storage appliance (which again took a few days worth of casual tinkering), where I now keep my bookmarks, contacts, files, photos (with “Gallery”), calendar, tasks, etc.
Virtually all of these things are highly sharable both with fellow Nextcloud users, and with the internet at large (through generated links which one can cut and paste). “Nextcloud Talk” is also a nice App, which is much like having your own private Skype server, however one should use the video sparingly; voice is much lower bandwidth.
My laptop (Gnome 3.28 desktop, which has native Nextcloud support) and smartphone (Android) both sync to this Nextcloud server very nicely (which was the original motivation behind this all). The setup was as straightforward as I could have asked it to be (but don’t expect it to be as dead-simple as signing up for a Gmail address). Yes, it’s somewhat sophisticated, however I have yet to find any actual bugs after a good month’s usage. For real! Nextcloud 13 is very stable, as it’s reputed to be.
The Offer: I’m considering making a 3rd Nextcloud server on a proper hosted server (in a datacenter, which are relatively cheap to rent these days), using rightfully acquired funding I can possibly scrounge up from an unnamed layperson.
This kind of a server could host, say, 25 or 30 users (maybe more). I think that’s roughly how many people have contributed to SC (and I’m not talking about discourse.SC posters here, but the people actually mentioned here).
The server would have proper things like SSL encryption (via “Let’s Encrypt”), a memorable DNS name, however no backups, and no guarantee of pristinely-uninterrupted service (I would troubleshoot it when and only when I could spare the time to maintain it, should the occasional problem arise. I’ll be losing zero hours of sleep worrying about this server). Use at your own risk, however I expect it will be up virtually all the time. Users will be expected to sync (their files, and photos) and export their contacts and bookmarks, which act as their own backups (which is easy to do).
I’ll only be installing the Nextcloud “Apps” mentioned above (all being “official” Nextcloud Apps, which are going to be the most stable, meaning “low maintenance for me”), namely bookmarks, contacts, files, photos (with “Gallery”), calendar, tasks, and Nextcloud Talk (and this last one I might remove if all the monthly server bandwidth gets used up).
Each user would get 2GB of storage (for Bhikkhus/Bhikkhunis who have permission if they are still Nissaya, plus Samaneras/Samaneris with similar permission). If you’re a layperson, sorry, only 1.5GB of storage.
So, please talk me into this, or talk me out of this as you will. You have one week to speak up, starting now. This is a potential gift to all SC volunteers, but you have to want it, or I won’t do it. At least 10 volunteers must show interest in actually using this (posting below), to convince me this is worth my time.
If I set it up, usernames and passwords will be given to you using the private messaging facility of this message board. You need never tell me your email address, and frankly I don’t really want to know it.
If you decide you would like to try this, you need to be the sort of person who is self-motivated to figure out how to get your native-Nextcloud apps to connect to the Nextcloud server (although you can just access everthing through your web browser, which is much simpler, but then you get no offline use, which would still work for things like contacts, bookmarks, tasks, and calendars, should the server go down temporarily).
I’m not looking to do much in the way of tech support at all (however I can post screenshots of what working configs look like). You’ll need to be willing to do web searches to find your answers, or talk to each each other, if you get stuck.
This is a post which is intended to guage interest. Nothing has actually happened yet. Regardless of outcome, I’ll be using my own personal Nextcloud server (the second one I set up) all the same, so if this idea turns out to be not a good one, oh well, nobody loses anything to speak of.
Disclaimers, and Caveats: Anyone who would use the server for activities deemed unreasonable, unsuitable, and unbecoming would have their account suspended or removed, at my discretion (and this would be quite similar to how SC gets moderated). Yes, I would be able to see what content you might store (although I don’t intend to look), so please keep it civilized! That little disclaimer pretty much goes without saying. Note that it’s totally possible to have simultaneous accounts on more than one Nextcloud server. You could always migrate to a future Nextcloud server somewhere else, if you wouldn’t want to use my (hypothetical) server any longer.
If you post below, and you aren’t an actual SC volunteer mentioned here (not even being so much as a translator), then your opinion will probably count for very little, as you are not really any sort of “stakeholder” in this context. No offense, but I would ask you to please remain silent. It is the actual SC volunteers, whom I feel deserve a special gift, that I’m addressing here.
In a week, I’ll post wether this will go ahead or not.