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    suite of productivity apps

    heh, I’m still used to “Google” meaning “search”, not “productivity apps”. YaCy would be the real “open source Google” if we still remember that Search is the big part :D

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      I don’t think search is the big part when it comes to replacing google. Most people I talked to about migrating from google products say they can’t because they rely too much on Gmail and Drive. Even though some of them also said search alternatives sucked, they were more willing to deal with that then losing the collaborative power that Google Drive gave them. I advocate against google as well by the way, but damn their Chrome + Gmail + Drive combo is becoming the definition of professional computing for a lot of people, specially since they also offer that in an Enterprise edition as well.

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        I disagree, search is a biggest part.

        • Chrome replacable with Firefox 100%
        • Gmail replacable by something N% (Protonmail?)
        • Drive replacable by bunch of things - dropbox, one drive, IFS, NextCloud, etc. particularly with some tooling that utilize multiple things. Drive, IMO, has insulting interface and operability for 2019.

        Search on the other hand, is not easily replaced, especially since ddg, startpage and many others use google in the backend. Bing is retarded with those wallpapers and Yahoo is a mess. No bueno. All should die, perhaps we should return to altavista or do the SETI thing (best option IMO).

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          DuckDuckGo uses Bing as its backend. Not Google.

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            Well, it includes results from Bing. And a variety of other search engines.

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            The pull is the multiple-concurrent-editors spreadsheets and text documents (which I think got rebranded from Docs to fall under Drive) rather than just the ability to share files.

            There are fewer competing products for the Docs use cases. They are quite hard to implement.

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              Document collaboration is possible in Next Cloud with Colabora and it works on premise and with open office docs:

              https://nextcloud.com/collaboraonline/

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                I did not know that and I am surprised. Interesting, thank you.

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              We’re discussing different things. I want practical results not theoretical ones.

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              Whoever down-voted with “incorrect”, can you please explain your reason? I don’t mind the vote count, I’m just genuinely interested in what was “incorrect” in my post?

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                Down-voting is lame so any interaction with such dudes is meh. Provide comments when downvoting, don’t hide behind the counter.

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                For me, replacing calendaring is the most difficult, because other than email, calendaring is the system most subject to network effects. I can switch to DDG or OpenStreetMaps on my own and it doesn’t affect those around me, but if I were to switch off Google Calendar, I don’t know how I’d be able to coordinate with others the same way.

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                  Yeah I have the same issue with Google Calendar. Though Docs is also subject to network effects, specially for professions that do a lot of document editing (journalism, PR, etc).

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                    Sure; I’ve pretty much made peace with being stuck with a work-related Google account and have only made efforts to remove it from my personal usage.

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                That was my first reaction as well actually.

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                  Is YaCy still alive? I tried using their demo portal and my browser kept timing out.

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                    I’ve tried it at home relatively recently, with crawling enabled. Got my IP address temporarily banned from some places / started seeing more captchas everywhere :D Search did work, yes.

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                    Also there’s no Gmail replacement, which is probably the second most popular Google product.

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                      Gmail was a web-based mail system. It might have embraced and extended the concept of mail in such a way that Gmail is more than just a web-based mail user agent but that does not imply it can not be replaced by another web-based mail user agent, of which there there are many.

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                        Right, but there’s nothing in Bloom that replaces any part of Gmail.

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                        Think about what would be involved there. Setting up an SMTP server is non trivial for the average user (This is where 90 of you in the audience pop up and say “I set up SMTP servers in my sleep and 5 before breakfast!” :)

                        Of course a big part of that is all the infra that big mail processors like Google have put in place for spam prevention (and maybe a side order of lock-in :)

                        You could easily bundle a webmail interface with the assumption that all the guts would be handled elsewhere I guess, but there are already quite a number of those.

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                          Spam is a huge part, I think. I use Gmail for accounts and such, and self-host for my FOSS contributions / mailing lists / more personal interactions, and the open source spam filtering capabilities imo are nowhere near what Gmail offers. Don’t get me wrong, rspam has made things a lot better, but I still think self-hosting for most people isn’t feasible because of spam/phishing alone.

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                        YaCy is would be, if it proved to be practical, and so far it didn’t. Maybe it would be good to utilize some better strategy then theirs. For example, remember SETI screensavers ? All OS’es could have something like that but for search indexing.

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                        Replacing one evil company with another not-yet-evil company is not a way to solve this problem. Making stuff FOSS doesn’t magically correct centralization problem as evident by the stuff that happens in various domains such as npm, java, chromium etc. While making stuff GNU is IMO better as it at least protects from unfairness, it doesn’t correct “alpha corp” problem.

                        Federated services are IMO the only possible way forward, at least until we live in Star Track society. Things like Mastodon. That this system works is evident from the fact that even gab abandoned its custom bs development in favor of hosting this type of service.

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                          I definitely agree that federation and ability to self host easily are key for people to take control over stuff they use back.

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                            The bigger issue is that 99% of people don’t have even the single smallest bit of technical knowledge to host their own stuff. Also they don’t understand that implications of Google being able to see everything they do, and in a lot of cases they don’t care. While you and I are more then comfortable hosting all of our own stuff. Most people can hardly use email, let alone set up dns to point at their static IP, that they have to get a special business account to have.

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                              I agree that it is a problem, and there’s no simple solution there. However, at least a percentage of the population having this option is better than nobody having it. Since it is the technical people who are starting self hosting they’re the ones in best position to lower the barrier.

                              Linux is a good example of this in action. When it started out there weren’t any open source operating systems available to the general public. At first it was exclusively used by enthusiasts, and over time the barrier has lowered significantly. You can even buy computers with Linux installed nowadays. Furthermore, a lot of people using Linux tend to set it up for their less technically inclined friends making it further accessible.

                              We’re seeing exactly the same pattern happening with self hosting. It’s starting out as mostly a hobby mostly done by enthusiasts. However, over time as more people start being attracted the barriers will necessarily lower. It’s possible that there could even be commercial incentives. For example, DigitalOcean could start providing turn-key NextCloud instances.

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                                99% of pps do not have to know it. Its enough that this can be done by somebody motivated with as few resources as possible (budget, time..) and some % of pps will chip in. So you could cover all those 99% with few technical ones.

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                                  It’s not just technical knowledge. Setting this stuff up is not easy. Just look at the Mastodon instructions: https://github.com/ummjackson/mastodon-guide/blob/master/up-and-running.md

                                  Or is this it? https://github.com/tootsuite/documentation/blob/master/Running-Mastodon/Production-guide.md

                                  Or this? https://docs.joinmastodon.org/administration/installation/

                                  Either way, they need to get that down to just a couple lines. Otherwise, even people like me who have the technical chops to do it are going to take a hard pass. You either need to have a lot of free time or need to really care about federated stuff in order to persevere through that install process.

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                                The ‘free or has a free tier’ line in the original made it clear to me that Bloom plans to become evil eventually – i.e., they’re not just naive about centralization but have a business plan involving it.

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                                  Everybody in this buis knows what it means to have a single office service that works on the planetary scale (not to mention multiple services, interconnected). You do not do such things for glory or idealism. Yeah, web tech is massively better now but this is compensated by way more ppl using internet services then before.

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                                  Now there’s an idea.

                                  A federated calendaring service where you could choose to join a ‘global timeline’ of calendar interchange, or just run one for you and your friends.

                                  Hrrm.

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                                    Wording it global doesn’t make much sense to me, it implies that there is some agents that are separated from others and have additional semantics while its just another hosted service backed up by some serious players (corps or govs) with lots of resources of which 50%+ are rarely used. If we have Uber on one side utilizing underused personal vehicles, we can have people utilizing underused corp/gov resources for civilization benefit.

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                                      I’m sorry I’m being sincere here - what are you saying? :) How does utilizing government resources have anything to do with creating a federated (and hence distributed) calendaring service? :)

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                                        Government resources are payed buy taxpayer money (you, me..) and under-utilized - ~50% of the resources are underused or even never used. In my gov company I can dedicate several blade servers that do nothing most of the time when they actually do something, and do absolutely nothing after 18h and entire night. If you watched Halt and Catch a fire there was a similar episode about sharing servers during off hours for money.

                                        Many private buis have similar problem.

                                        Those resources can be utilized to host federated stuff in a secure manner or to provide calculation for federated search etc.

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                                  I feel like the one thing Google does that corps can’t ever do without is Calendar. After that, Docs.

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                                    Second this. I tried divesting from Google last year. Email - easy. Search - easy. By far the most inconvenient one to try to move away from is Calendar. Too many useful collaborative features that require a google account.

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                                      At work we use Nextcloud, which includes a calendar. Have you tried it?

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                                        Ditto.

                                        My mail provider offers calendaring service but yeah - too many friends (and my wife!) use my GCal to collaborate.

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                                        I run my own Nextcloud server, and the calendar works pretty well. I use caldav on my phone to sync it, and it syncs with my mac and linux laptops.

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                                          That works great, for individuals.

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                                            Individuals, families, small businesses, etc.

                                            They say Nextcloud is adding federation features, and I hope/assume this includes calendaring, so you can be invited to an event from someone else’s Nextcloud instance.

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                                            Yes but again it’s its own little island.

                                            You can’t, unless I’m wrong (please tell me if I am!) have a friend invite you to an event on your NextCloud calendaring system from their Google Calendar.

                                            I mean I suppose maybe CalDAV / iCal would do some of this?

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                                              iCal does the most essential part: getting an invitation from an email into your calendar. It doesn’t handle the RSVP side.

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                                                And now we’re back to convenience :)

                                                There is exactly zero chance my wife would consent to having to muck about with iCal files in order to do what we need with calendaring.

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                                          How about maps? Anyone got pet peevs about it? I know Open Street Map (OSM) is OK. But also for sharing locations and routes plus calendar integration it’s hard to deplatform (maybe not a word?) from “google”.

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                                            maybe not a word

                                            A word, but usually used for like, banning some unpleasant hateful person from a platform.

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                                            Seems like it’s missing a crucial piece… email.