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Hubzilla

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Hubzilla (formerly known as Redmatrix) is a modular webserver based operating system which includes technologies for publishing, social media, file sharing, photo sharing, chat and more (including the ability to develop custom modules). These services are accessed and connected across server and administrative boundaries through the communication protocol Zot which provides a high level of privacy and security customization and a nomadic identity for the users. The decentralized network federates over Zot, ActivityPub, OStatus and the Diaspora protocol with other platforms of the Distributed social network and the Fediverse.[1][2][3]

Hubzilla
Original author(s)Mike Macgirvin
Developer(s)Hubzilla community
Initial release24 December 2015; 5 years ago (2015-12-24)
Stable release
5.2 / 13 January 2021; 7 days ago (2021-01-13)
Written inPHP
Engine
    Operating systemCross-platform
    PlatformApache, Nginx
    Available in13 languages
    List of languages
    ca, de, en, es, fr, he, it, ja, nb-no, nl, pt-br, ru, sv
    TypeSocial software
    LicenseMIT License
    Websitehubzilla.org

    Amazon.com Logo.png Search Hubzilla on Amazon.

    Development history[edit]

    Hubzilla (formerly Friendica Red[4], Redmatrix[5], Hubmaker[6]) came into existence on May 12th, 2012[4], as a result of testing new approaches for managing user identities and for access controlling. These testings were made by a developer of Friendica called Mike Macgirvin.[7][8]

    Much of the design concepts for the new platform were based on ideas developed over time about user identity management and privacy permissions. For this purpose, a unique federation protocol named Zot was created.[9] As time went on, the development's focus shifted away from “social networking” towards providing a range of privacy respecting services (as content management, cloud services, and groupware) that were decentralised, yet highly integrated.[10][11]

    On July 12th, 2011, the protocol Zot has been named for the first time.[9]

    On May 12th, 2012, the initial commit of the platform software was made.[4] Blogging features, WebDAV, CalDAV and CardDAV, and also a range of content management tools were added.[10]

    On May 3rd, 2015, the platform software was renamed Hubzilla.[6]

    On December 4th, 2015, Hubzilla 1.0 was officially launched.[12]

    In 2016, the platform software was re-architected to support multiple server roles.[11]

    In 2017, the Zot protocol has undergone a major upgrade (named Zot 6) which includes the separation of the services and APIs. The integration of ActivityPub has been implemented into the platform software.[10]

    In 2018, the migration of the platform software to Zot 6 started. System settings have been transformed into apps.[13]

    In 2020, the version 5.0 has been released, with completed migration to zot 6.[14]


    Features[edit]

    Hubzilla is a decentralized communication and publishing platform. A server running Hubzilla (hub) functions both independently of any other hub or connected with them in the network. The software allows to forward or even sync data between different hubs.

    Nomadic identities[edit]

    A user of Hubzilla creates one or more web identities (channels). The Zot protocol allows them to be unbound from a single hub. They can exist as clones on other hubs and update each other. This allows to move a channel (including his contacts and his published content) from one hub to an other or to have a backup of it when the current hub goes offline or when another hub provides better services.[15][16]

    Channels connect with each other[edit]

    Each channel has an activity stream of objects that can represent a specific action, such as a posting, a status or uploading a photo. This stream can show both public and private activities, and a permissions system based on an Access control list determines which users can access a given entry. Each channel also contains a unique Webfinger address.[15]

    Connections can be managed and hidden from both sides. A connection allows to interact with posts from other channels and to post on their walls. Private statuses and comments can be passed between channels.

    Other publication methods are offered which don't show up in the activity stream. These publications can be accessed by connections who get the permission to do so, but they're saved only on the channel where they have been published.[17]

    MagicAuth[edit]

    Hubzilla disposes of a in-browser encryption called MagicAuth which grants access permissions on remote hubs. It solves the problem of federated social networks which usually are not able to visit each other's profiles and directly interact with it if both people are connected through different servers.

    Sharing data using the permissions framework[edit]

    Hubzilla allows to share arbitrary data in its own cloud. "Different permissions can be given to the arbitrary data and it supports the WebDAV protocol to upload data to the cloud."[15]

    Hubzilla supports the ability to display photos or images in an overview, in albums and in a photo gallery. It supports the CalDAV and CardDAV protocols.

    Web pages[edit]

    A channel can contain web pages based on a templating system. These are shared using the permissions framework as described above.

    Directories[edit]

    With the function called Directories it is possible to search for channels that are located across all hubs and that have chosen to publish his channel to the global directory. [15]

    OpenID[edit]

    Hubzilla functions as an OpenID provider, allowing users to log into OpenID-enabled sites with their Hubzilla channels.

    User protection; Encryption of data[edit]

    A hub administrator has no access to the login data of users, but he can block or delete users and channels.[15] The encryption of posts is possible in Hubzilla. Thus, encrypted posts are protected from being viewed by the hub administrator.

    Message consistency[edit]

    Hubzilla has an extra poller which polls the feeds once a day in case something went haywire during delivery (e.g. when a site was overloaded or when messages were dropped after a few attempts). This extra polling mechanism can fetch some of the messages that would be missed otherwise, but not all of them. The missed messages can still be viewed when one is authenticated on the hub of the author and visits the channel of this author.[15]

    Example of use[edit]

    A peer reviewed article of the Computer-Based Medical Systems, Annual IEEE Symposium describes the usage of Redmatrix as an integration tool between health institutions serving an area of 600'000 inhabitants.[18] The municipal government-funded Hospital Municipal Dr. Moyses Deutsch in São Paulo implemented and evaluated from July 2014 to July 2015 a Redmatrix-based platform to improve secure communication among health services. The function of Redmatrix in this project was to host and to secure private communications among the health providers about their common patients.[19]

    Reception[edit]

    A blogger about software states that the abundance of functions makes Hubzilla an interesting network, on the other hand this abundance might put off new users.[20]

    Hubzilla is mentioned on a list of software for preventing global data surveillance.[21]

    A scientific report published in 2015 says Hubzilla/Redmatrix "is currently most suited to be provided as an alternative to the current centralised social networks and [...] can be provided as a service by hosting providers. It has an efficient message distribution model, enhanced privacy features, and provides an unique feature named nomadic identities. [...] It is currently more mature than some of the other implementations and puts the user back in control of their data."[15]

    Hubzilla is the only open-source social network solution whose implementation of privacy is considered "Extensive" in a 2015 peer-reviewed survey paper.[22]

    Hubzilla appears as a case and recommendation in the chapter "Tendências democráticas e autoritárias, arquiteturas distribuídas e centralizadas" (freely translated as "Democratic and authoritarian tendencies, distributed and centralized architectures") in the book "Democracia Digital, Comunicação e Política em Redes" (freely translated as "Digital Democracy, Communication and Politics in Networks"), organised by the Digital Culture Laboratory of the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil.[23]

    A peer-reviewed academic article (in Portuguese) from the conference of the Latin American Network for Studies of Surveillance, Technology and Society highlights the importance of features unique to Redmatrix/Hubzilla in the struggle to recover privacy and decentralization of the Internet.[24]

    See also[edit]

    • Comparison of software and protocols for distributed social networking
    • Diaspora
    • Friendica
    • GNU social

    References[edit]

    1. "The Federation".
    2. "Fediverse".
    3. "Instances – Fediverse Network".
    4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 friendica (2012-05-12). "initial commit (cd727cb2) · Commits · hubzilla / core". GitLab. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
    5. friendica (2013-05-08). "first cut at a new readme (328811c6) · Commits · hubzilla / core". GitLab. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
    6. 6.0 6.1 redmatrix (2015-05-05). "readme (7a63a88b) · Commits · hubzilla / core". GitLab. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
    7. Macgirvin, Mike. "Friendica Red - help us". Friendica. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
    8. Mühlbauer, Peter (2018-04-10). "Mastodon, Friendi.ca, Hubzilla, WeChat, Akasha | Telepolis". Telepolis. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
    9. 9.0 9.1 friendika (2011-07-12). "zot scraper (180c15cd) · Commits · hubzilla / core". GitLab. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
    10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Tilley, Sean (2017-10-10). "Got Zot — Mike Macgirvin" (Blog). We Distribute. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
    11. 11.0 11.1 "The history of Hubzilla" (Blog). talkplus. 2016. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
    12. Macgirvin, Mike (2015-12-04). "Hubzilla (1.0) release". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
    13. "Hubzilla 3.8.3 veröffentlicht". Pro-Linux. 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
    14. "5.0 hubzilla/core Gitlab". 2020-11-05. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
    15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Miltenburg, Wouter. "Functional breakdown of decentralised social networks" (PDF).
    16. Manning, Andrew (2017-07-15). "Nomadic identity, brought to you by Hubzilla". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
    17. Manning, Andrew. "Posts? Articles? Webpages? Wikis? Hubzilla Publishing Explained". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
    18. Abdo, Alexandre Hannud; Delgado, Ana; Mafra, Ana; Nascimento, Tatiane Ocon; Bracco, Mario (2015). Technology Enhanced Integration of Hospital and Primary Care in the M'boi Mirim Neighborhood of São Paulo City. pp. 366–367. doi:10.1109/CBMS.2015.42. ISBN 978-1-4673-6775-2. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
    19. Bracco, Marion Maia; Mafra, Ana Carolina Cintra Nunes; Abdo, Alexandre Hannud; Colugnati, Fernando Antonia Basile; Dalla, Marcello Dala Bernardina; Demarzo, Marcelo Marcos Piva; Abrahamsohn, Ises; Rodrigues, Aline Bacífico; Delgado, Ana Violeta Ferreira de Almeida; dos Parzeres, Glauber Alves; Teixeira Jr, José Carlos; Possa, Silvio (2016). "Implementation of integration strategies between primary care units and a regional general hospital in Brazil to update and connect health care professionals: a quasi-experimental study protocol". BMC Health Services Research. 16 (1): 380. doi:10.1186/s12913-016-1626-9. PMC 4983016. PMID 27519520.
    20. Hasecke, Ulrich (2018-04-11). "Hubzilla vs Mastodon" (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2020-01-05.
    21. "Hubzilla - Projects - PRISM Break".
    22. Islam, Mohammad Badiul; Iannella, Renato; Watson, Jason; Geva, Shlomo (2015). "International Journal of Information Privacy, Security and Integrity (IJIPSI), Vol. 2, No. 2, 2015" (PDF). International Journal of Information Privacy, Security and Integrity. 2 (2): 102. doi:10.1504/IJIPSI.2015.075438.
    23. da Silva, Sivaldo Pereira; Bragatto, Rachel Callai; Sambaio (orgs.), Rafael Cardoso. "Democracia Digital, Comunicação e Política em Redes " Teoria e prática" (in português).
    24. Abdo, Alexandre Hannud. "DESCENTRALIZAÇÃO E CRIPTOGRAFIA NO COMBATE À VIGILÂNCIA E CONTROLE (Decentralization and cryptography in combating surveillance and control)" (PDF) (in português).

    External links[edit]

    Category:Social networking services Category:Web applications Category:Free software websites Category:Internet services supporting OpenID Category:Software using the GNU AGPL license


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