I have spoken a little with @kaspar about GOSH’s ability to self-host more open source applications, and it would be great to have a meeting with those of us from the community interested in discussing this further. If you would like to join, you can fill out this poll. I have provided some context to the situation below, as well.
Current Situation: Right now GOSH is currently using Cloudron as a short-term solution to self-hosting applications for GOSH. An existing Cloudron was set up for the Journal of Open Hardware (JOH) and was used to host Limesurvey for the 2021 GOSH election. However, as the GOSH community starts to self-host more open source applications, it seems like this option of using the JOH Cloudron may not be a viable long-term option, as there is limited storage space.
Having a server for GOSH to self-host their own open source applications.
Benefits of self-hosting:
The community would have access to more open source applications, such as etherpad and Wikimedia
Specialized knowledge on how to install and run these open source applications
Time needed to find a new self-hosting option for GOSH
Applications of interest to the community:
Etherpad, so we can set up instances for note-taking
Easy appointments - open source calendar scheduling service
Wikimedia - open source option for creating and managing wikis
Self-host our own workadventu.re map
Limesurvey - open source survey software
I have also made this post a wiki so that you can add to the lists above. Thanks
I would caution against Wikimedia from personal experience unless we first get an enthusiastic working group to kick it off.
I have set up wiki’s in a number of places. A sparse, highly incomplete wiki doesn’t get the use it needs to grow and improve, instead it tends to become an out of date, sparse, highly incomplete wiki. We have wiki tools, from wiki posts in the forum, to wiki’s on our GitLab. Neither are as good as mediawiki. But hosting a good tools is not what is needed for a good wiki, what is needed is a good plan for populating it and a clear idea of what should be in it.
I agree – it might be easier to partner with someone that already handles the Mediawiki for you - I use Appropedia.org for my research group with great success – and I know they would be supportive of the GOSH mission.
Great point @jpearce. Closer ties between GOSH and Appropedia would be great for both sides. It solves the blank wiki issue for us, and brings more high quality content to them. I don’t think Emilio is in the forum, but many of us know him.
Hi all, based on the poll results, it looks like @kaspar@hpy and I will be meeting to discuss this on Wednesday September 8th at 8:30 UTC. The link to join is here and this meeting is also on the GOSH community calendar.
We will be sure to share the notes from our meeting as well.
@dusjagr@hpy@kaspar and I met earlier this week to discuss this topic in more detail, I am sharing a summary of what we discussed, along with meeting notes, below!
The purpose of the meeting was to address the capacity for GOSH to self-host open source applications and move away from using the JOH Cloudron. Kaspar can help with system administration 2 hours a month, so we need to avoid setting up time-intensive applications. We can rely on using established instances for things like etherpad and workadventu.re. However, a specific need addressed at the meeting was finding an open source alternative to Google Drive that GOSH could use. Options include Nextcloud and Cryptpad, but Cryptpad seems to have better functionality.
Needs we’ve identified, such as, but not limited to:
Scheduling (i.e. finding a time for a meeting) - crab.fit probably is
good enough so no need to self-host?
Google Docs replacement (e.g. OnlyOffice or Collabora Office which is
integrated in Nextcloud; or Cryptpad depending on its import/export
Newsletter tool (if we decide to create a newsletter)
Need we didn’t discuss (but was mentioned by @hpy afterward): Video conferencing tool to replace Zoom. Though maybe using existing Jitsi Meet instances is sufficient?
Otherwise, there’s BigBlueButton.
Discuss (on this current forum thread) the costs associated with these open source options and whether we would need to rely on volunteers willing to set things up or if we would want to pay a service to host for us. From there, work towards a budget on what the expected costs would be.
Here is a link to the notes document from the meeting if you would like to see that as well!
When finding a time for a meeting crab.fit has been successfully used several times.
To make appointments with someone, there’s the new Appointments app in Nextcloud.
As for replacing Google Docs, I think Collabora Office or Only Office, both of which can be integrated with Nextcloud, are good options.
I was happy to hear from @dusjagr that Nextcloud’s performance has improved recently. If so, then I think using a Nextcloud instance might be a good idea because it comes with practically all the needs we’ve enumerated during the meeting.
As for costs, IIRC the hosted Nextcloud instance used by @dusjagr is less than EUR 10 per month? If so, this might actually be cheaper than self-hosting!
P.S. When we had the Jitsi Call, I noticed that there is a new poll feature in the Jitsi chat sidebar! Did anyone else notice this? It probably doesn’t affect what we discussed, but cool anyway.
Another option for a ready-to-use Mediawiki, if for example Appropedia seems too narrow for our purposes, is Wikiversity, which is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. One could create a GOSH landing page and have other GOSH-specific pages as subpages.
One advantage of Wikiversity is that we get all the rich Mediawiki features most people don’t bother to install, such as the VisualEditor, the Notifications system, and the new Discussion system which is much more intuitive than with a plain Mediawiki installation.
Good point, and it removes the need to self host and reduces duplication of effort. That said, I share the concern expressed earlier about managing a wiki and motivating people to populate it. Maybe this is something for a putative “GOSH knowledge organisation/archiving” working group to think about.
Thanks @dusjagr for suggesting the instance you use:
at the moment we are using a service from https://ocloud.de/ (didnt have the resources to host ourselves). 8 € / month for 500GB.
I just checked out their demo, apparently there is a way to share collaborative documents (i.e. OnlyOffice or Collabora Office) with others so they can edit without an account, just like with Google Docs. Nice!
@dusjagr: How many people have their own accounts on your instance and how do you manage that?
Yes, it’s an additional “app” that runs on nextcloud, called Collabora, it’s a browser version of libre office.
so, yes, it has a pretty smooth workflow to work on a document at the same time. it’s a bit slow sometimes. so when i work alone i work locally and synced to the cloud with my own software on my laptop.
About user management. yes, it’s a bit of work, we have now around 30 registered users, and it makes sense to group them proberly early on. the user management tool is too much handwork, but maybe some people have the skill to do this back-end and automated.
In terms of an open-source alternative to Google Docs, it seems like we could either use Cryptpad or Nextcloud.
Cryptpad is free with 1GB of storage, but doesn’t have the Collabora Office or Only Office integration that Nextcloud does, making it harder to import/export documents. I’ve been using Cryptpad to house forms, like the sign-up form I created for community call presentations. Nextcloud on the other hand does have this integration, but we would have to pay for a monthly service to host it.
Why don’t we have another meeting to discuss whether Cryptpad or Nextcloud would be better suited for the community? We could also use that time to write up a budget if it is needed. Let’s find a time to meet in the next two weeks using this poll: https://crab.fit/gosh-open-source-apps-meeting-345153