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A New HOPE (2022): "Quiet! How Local-First Software Can Keep Remote Teams Safe and Unlock a New Wave of Software Freedom Activism" (Download)

A New HOPE (2022): "Quiet! How Local-First Software Can Keep Remote Teams Safe and Unlock a New Wave of Software Freedom Activism" (Download)

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Sunday, July 24, 2022: 12:00 pm (Little Theatre): The pandemic pushed more groups than ever into using online collaboration tools, but for many these tools are not safe. This talk proposes a way to improve that situation, as well as a newish approach to building such tools that could be the basis for a new era of the free software movement.

First will be a demo of Quiet, a Tor-based, peer-to-peer team chat app that is familiar and usable, but doesn't require trusting a corporate cloud, bringing one's own server, or using a friend's server. In Quiet, team member devices connect directly to each other over Tor onion services and sync data using a CRDT. (And it works well!)

Second, Holmes will show how this "sync directly over Tor" approach is generalizable beyond chat apps and can be used to build secure, autonomous alternatives to a broad class of collaboration tools that currently depend on some sort of cloud, such as Google Docs, Basecamp, Trello, Asana, Figma, 1Password, LastPass, and so on.

Finally, there will be a survey of the growing movement of thinkers and builders (sometimes calling themselves the "local-first software movement") who see a path to making this private and secure alternative approach to software even easier for small teams than building federated or cloud-dependent apps, and you will hear a rousing case for why developers and early adopters should join this awesome movement. (Spoiler: because by joining this movement you can advance the privacy and security of groups doing sensitive work right now, while at the same time laying the groundwork for a better way to make software in the future that would give all users more privacy, security, and control.)

Holmes Wilson