Nextcloud introduces social features, joins the fediverse

#1

Originally published at: https://nextcloud.com/blog/nextcloud-introduces-social-features-joins-the-fediverse/



Today, Nextcloud 15 has been made available. As there is so much new and improved in this release, we have dedicated separate blogs to each main area of improvement. This blog covers a preview of the the brand new Nextcloud Social app, introducing social networking to Nextcloud.

Download now!

The Mastodon project is excited that Nextcloud users can now join the fediverse, potentially growing the decentralized web by an order of magnitude

— Eugen Rochko, Mastodon founder

Introducing Nextcloud Social

Nextcloud helps you stay in control over your data and communication. Social networks are the tool people use to stay up to date with what others are doing, be it in a private or business setting. But most social networks are centralized platforms under control of a single entity. Nextcloud Social provides a decentralized, federated solution that lets users remain in control while sharing status updates with and subscribing to feeds of others across Nextcloud servers.

For business users

For business users, this provides the first steps towards internal enterprise social networking, tightly connected with the productivity capabilities teams already use. It empowers employees to collaborate and share tips and ideas about how to improve the workplace.

Many large enterprises look for the benefits of cohesion an internal social network brings, but struggle to introduce it. Employees don’t want another tool that is poorly integrated with their workflow and forces them to pay attention. By deeply integrating in their productivity workflow, Nextcloud Social is in a unique position to deliver increased adoption of social networking in the enterprise.

This degree of integration explains why Nextcloud Social fits with our long term vision of providing large enterprises powerful collaboration and communication capabilities in an integrated, secure, compliant and extensible way.

For private users

By using the popular ActivityPub standard, Nextcloud users can subscribe to and share status updates with users in the so-called ‘fediverse’, an interconnected and decentralized network of independently operated servers! This allows federation of Nextcloud servers with the popular decentralized Mastodon network, where tens of millions of users already ‘toot’ with one another, potentially growing the fediverse by an order of magnitude. According to wikipedia, Peertube, Pleroma, Friendica and soon Diaspora are part of this same network, as are almost a dozen more communities. As every one of the hundreds of thousands of Nextcloud servers turns into a potential hub in the fediverse, we are very excited about the possibilities this will give our users to communicate with others!

follow what is happening on your timeline
find users on your or other servers
there is an emoji selector

Get started!

Version 0.1 alpha, a preview of the app, can easily be installed from the app store. It can connect to other servers in the fediverse, allowing users to subscribe to others and let others subscribe to their feed and share their thoughts. We plan on supporting the special API used by the many Mastodon clients so users can use those apps with their Nextcloud server in the future. Future releases will let you share images, locations and the many other features you are perhaps used to on other social networks. Get involved!

We hope you will enjoy the many improvements in Nextcloud 15! Find an overview of what has been improved in this series of blog posts:

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#2

The list of upcoming/available ActivityPub compatible webservices is getting longer and longer*… and it’s great that Nextcloud is now part of the Fediverse! I hope my early and constant advocating played a small role in this :wink:

*See:

#3

where tens of millions of users already ‘tooth’ with one another

where tens of millions of users already ‘toot’ with one another :smiley:

1 Like
#4

Hi. I activated the social app but I don’t know how to “follow” other people. Also, is it possible to use a Mastodon client?

Thanks.

#5

Not at the moment…

#6

Same here. Judging from the screenshots above it seems like you can “search” for users, but that seems to only work with accounts in the Nextcloud cloud-federation and accounts on your own server. So how can I add an account from another ActivityPub enabled service (Such as Mastodon or Hubzilla)?
Edit: Ok if you put in the full account it seems to work. But it is not exactly self explanatory to have that in the search box. Maybe having a separate input field that says “paste activitypub address here to follow” would be possible?

#7

Indeed I had to come all the way here and see also your “edit” just to finally learn this. Nothing was obvious or discoverable otherwise. Yes, it does seem to work, if you put in the full address, and this makes the search bar too small for proper entry, too. I think add should be an explicit and seperate button in the social ui, with appropriate info around it when you use it.

#8

Will I be able to share files in the Fediverse in the future

#9

Wouldn’t you just share files the normal way in Nextcloud and post the link to the Fediverse with the Social app in Nextcloud or post the link using another ActivityPub type service?

#10

P.S. I’m running two #Friendica servers right now and (speaking in the vernacular), that is the shit!

I was running a Mastodon server for a little while and gave up on it. Mastodon is a great Twitter replacement. Friendica is a better than g+/Farcebook replacement.

#11

Have you tried Hubzilla? It was developed by same original dev as Friendica and includes a number of amazing additional features. Both are now community driven projects and rock.

#12

It seems like Hubzilla and Friendica are almost identical based on the linked article. You know what the major differences are?

#13

Good question, just created a Friendica account to find out. Not a comprehensive comparison, but here you go…

Straight off the bat, both look and feel very similar. Random cat photo profile shot is the same, layout of menus is roughly the same. Friendica is friendly in how it is lays out menu options, while Hubzilla allows you to alter complexity of the menu layout across six levels of complexity from “I know nothing” to “I am a wizard who knows more about these settings than you do.” It is very possible to setup both to look and act almost the same! However…

Biggest differences I see are in Hubzilla… Access Control, Add-ons app store and Zot protocol.

  • Hubzilla has adopted an “app store” inspired by Nextcloud, to install, enable and configure various add-ons. You can install additional features like Wiki-threaded notes, encrypted chats over Zot, a personal CalDAV calendar in addition to Events calendar, XMPP chat integration, Wordpress Integration, Twitter Integration. These settings can be totally different for each of your Profiles.
  • Hubzilla adds access control to everything, meaning you can define access between your data and other users, groups of users, access to your posts, etc.
  • Your account is treated as a Channel by Hubzilla.
    1. Within your channel, you may create as many user profiles as you wish unlike the singular profile approach of Friendica.
    2. Each profile can be assigned it’s own settings, apps, access control, etc. The fediverse public stream will see each profile as an entirely different user. You could create a profile for Doug, another for Pokemon Fanclub, another for a Friendica Technical Support Group and another for Doug’s Family.
    3. Your Channel (containing all your profiles above) may be mirrored or migrated across as many Hubzilla servers as you want. This is referred to as Nomadic Identity. The protocol that allows this is called Zot. An open request to implement Zot into Nextcloud can be found here, as it is coded in PHP.
    4. If you move your Channel to another server, all your profiles go with you. Now you can define a Master/Slave relationship between the servers. Example:

doug@server.net is my primary channel, set as my Master for all profiles.
doug@libresite.org is a mirror of my primary channel, set as a Slave Channel, which will actively sync over my profile data.
doug@peacenet.info is another mirror, set as a Slave Channel, but will not actively sync over my profile data.

If anything happens to my primary server, I can just log into one of the other servers and my account will still be accessible. Should I lose the ability to access my primary server, I can just change the Master/Slave relationship so doug@libresite.org is now my Primary… sticky part of migration is reaching out to all various contacts and letting them know to use a new server addresss, but thankfully my contacts all come with me as part of the migration so I can reach out to them.

This means I have distributed myself across three different servers, allowing greater decentralization of my Hubzilla account than I could have in Friendica. Management of this adds overall complexity, but both of these networks looks the same at a glance. I hope this makes sense! You can read here for more information.

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#14

They are surprisingly different :stuck_out_tongue:

Friendica is more of a classical social media tool, kind of like the Facebook of the Fediverse. If you need an easy to use interface, some basic features like image gallery and a calendar, and well working threaded comments plus group channels then try Friendica. They are also currently making an effort to move their backend to ActivityPub so overall compatibility with other ActivityPub using services is better.

Hubzilla is more a kind of it’s own. It does federate with other networks, but doesn’t even try to strive for full compatibility. Instead using it’s own native zot protocol really advanced privacy features and nomadic identities are possible. It also seconds as a personal cloud as it includes a well working WebDAV and CalDAV server.

IMHO Hubzilla is cool, but if your main goal is to communicate with people on Mastodon etc. then you are probably better off with Friendica.