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 connect across server and administrative boundaries through the communication protocol Zot, providing decentralized and nomadic identity within the Zot network, while message federation is supported over Zot, ActivityPub, OStatus and the Diaspora protocol, making Hubzilla interoperable with most distributed social networks and the Fediverse.
In 2020 the project was recognized by the NLnet foundation with a NGI-Zero Discovery grant to support its future development, highlighting the contribution of Hubzilla in providing a decentralized identity and authentication layer to the Web.
|Original author(s)||Mike Macgirvin|
|Developer(s)||Mario Vavti (lead), Hubzilla community|
|Initial release||24 December 2015|
6.2.1 / 16 September 2021
|Written in||PHP, ECMAScript|
|Available in||13 languages|
Search Hubzilla on Amazon.
Hubzilla (formerly Friendica Red, Redmatrix, Hubmaker) came into existence on May 12th, 2012, as an effort by the founder and former lead of the Friendica project, Mike Macgirvin, to experiment with decentralized approaches to managing user identities and access control on the Web. A new federation protocol named Zot was developed, providing capabilities such as decentralized identity an access control, remote authentication, and nomadic identity. The development focus later shifted away from “social networking” towards providing a range of decentralized privacy respecting services such as content publishing, cloud storage, and groupware.
On July 12th, 2011, the protocol Zot was named for the first time. On May 12th, 2012, the initial commit of the project was made. Blogging features, WebDAV, CalDAV and CardDAV, and also a range of content management tools were added. On May 3rd, 2015, the platform software was renamed Hubzilla. On December 4th, 2015, Hubzilla 1.0 was officially launched. In 2016, the platform software was re-architected to support multiple server roles. In 2017, the Zot protocol has undergone a major upgrade, named Zot6, which includes the separation of the services and APIs. And the integration of ActivityPub has been implemented. In 2018, the migration to Zot6 started. System settings have been transformed into apps. In 2020, the version 5.0 was released, completing the migration to Zot6.
Hubzilla is a decentralized communication and publishing platform. A server running Hubzilla, called a hub, interoperates with other hubs primarily through the Zot protocol, yet may also be configured to function in isolation. Some notable features of Hubzilla are:
Nomadic identities - a member of a hub may create any number of web identities, called channels. The Zot protocol allows channels to be unbound from the hub where they are created. They may be ported to a different hub, but also cloned, in which case the channel's identity and data will exist simultaneously in more than one location. This provides resilience to channels should a hub shut down or become unavailable.
Open Web Auth - OWA is a subset of the Zot protocol describing a method for a user agent, typically a web browser, to identify itself on behalf of a channel through what is called remote authentication. It allows hubs to provide or deny access to items and actions for identities residing in a different hub.
Directory - a decentralized searchable directory of channels
OpenID - Hubzilla functions as an OpenID provider, allowing users to log into OpenID-enabled sites with their Hubzilla channels.
There is at least one documented large-scale use of Hubzilla beyond the typical personal, family or community communications platform. Peer reviewed publications in IEEE's International Symposium on Computer-Based Medical Systems, and BMC Health Services Research, describe the use of Redmatrix (today Hubzilla) as a tool for integrating and providing continuos care across the network of healthcare providers serving a neighborhood of 600'000 people in the city of São Paulo, Brazil.
An academic 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."
Hubzilla was the only open-source social network solution whose implementation of privacy is considered "Extensive" in a 2015 peer-reviewed survey paper.
Hubzilla is mentioned on the PRISM Break catalogue of software for preventing global data surveillance. A tech blog states that the abundance of functions makes Hubzilla an interesting network, on the other hand this abundance might put off new users.
Hubzilla appears as a case and recommendation in the chapter "Tendências democráticas e autoritárias, arquiteturas distribuídas e centralizadas" (Democratic and authoritarian tendencies, distributed and centralized architectures) in the book "Democracia Digital, Comunicação e Política em Redes", organized by the Digital Culture Laboratory of the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil.
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 effort to recover privacy and decentralization of the Internet.
In connection with the failure of billions of Facebook accounts on October 2021, German public broadcaster ZDF recommended alternative decentralized services, including Hubzilla: "Instead of Facebook, Friendica, Hubzilla or Diaspora can be used." .
Landesanstalt für medien Nordrhein-Westfalen (broadcasting authority of the federal state in Germany) named Hubzilla as one of the services known for "ensuring high data protection and using open standards that make offerings interoperable"
- Comparison of software and protocols for distributed social networking
- GNU social
- "The Federation".
- "Instances – Fediverse Network".
- "NLnet; Hubzilla". nlnet.nl. Retrieved 2021-10-02.
- friendica (2012-05-12). "initial commit (cd727cb2) · Commits · hubzilla / core". GitLab. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
- friendica (2013-05-08). "first cut at a new readme (328811c6) · Commits · hubzilla / core". GitLab. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
- redmatrix (2015-05-05). "readme (7a63a88b) · Commits · hubzilla / core". GitLab. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
- Macgirvin, Mike. "Friendica Red - help us". Friendica. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- Mühlbauer, Peter (2018-04-10). "Mastodon, Friendi.ca, Hubzilla, WeChat, Akasha | Telepolis". Telepolis. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
- friendika (2011-07-12). "zot scraper (180c15cd) · Commits · hubzilla / core". GitLab. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
- Tilley, Sean (2017-10-10). "Got Zot — Mike Macgirvin" (Blog). We Distribute. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
- "The history of Hubzilla" (Blog). talkplus. 2016. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
- Macgirvin, Mike (2015-12-04). "Hubzilla (1.0) release". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
- "Hubzilla 3.8.3 veröffentlicht". Pro-Linux. 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
- "5.0 hubzilla/core Gitlab". 2020-11-05. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
- Miltenburg, Wouter. "Functional breakdown of decentralised social networks" (PDF).
- Manning, Andrew (2017-07-15). "Nomadic identity, brought to you by Hubzilla". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- "Hubzilla - Projects - PRISM Break".
- Hasecke, Ulrich (2018-04-11). "Hubzilla vs Mastodon" (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2020-01-05.
- da Silva, Sivaldo Pereira; Bragatto, Rachel Callai; Sambaio (orgs.), Rafael Cardoso. "Democracia Digital, Comunicação e Política em Redes " Teoria e prática" (in português).
- Abdo, Alexandre Hannud. "DESCENTRALIZAÇÃO E CRIPTOGRAFIA NO COMBATE À VIGILÂNCIA E CONTROLE (Decentralization and cryptography in combating surveillance and control)" (PDF) (in português).
- Welchering, Peter (2021-10-05). "Digitale Souveränität. Blackout zeigt: Facebook-Logins sind riskant" (in Deutsch).
- Deutschlandfunk (2021-10-05). "Umwelt und Verbraucher [AUDIO]" (in Deutsch).
- Landesanstalt für medien Nordrhein-Westfalen, 03/2021. "DATENPORTABILITÄT UND INTEROPERABILITÄT – DIE EINE WELT DER DATEN UND DIENSTE?" (PDF) (in Deutsch).
- Schötteldreier, Jan (2021-04-17). "Fediverse – So geht gutes Social Media" (in Deutsch).
- Hubzilla project site
- Hubzilla Git repository
- Articles about Hubzilla or mentioning Hubzilla
- in the German magazine "FIfF-Kommunikation":
- 2018-07-26 (Gustav Wall): Informationelle Selbstbestimmung und Datenautonomie mit Hubzilla
- on boinboing.net:
- 2018-07-18 Facebook Domination vs. Self-Determination
- on medium.com:
- 2018-04-22 (Andrew Manning): Understanding the Hubzilla permissions system
- 2018-04-14 (Waitman Gobble): It’s like totally time to build your web site on Hubzilla
- 2018-04-02 (Ian) The Post-Facebook Social Network
- 2018-02-28 (Sean Tilley): The Do-Everything System: An in-depth review of Hubzilla 3.0.
- 2017-10-10 (Sean Tilley): Got Zot — Mike Macgirvin on building your own apps and protocols
- 2017-07-15 (Andrew Manning): Nomadic identity, brought to you by Hubzilla
- 2017-08-01, updated 2018-04-15: Got Zot? An introduction to the protocol that powers Hubzilla
- on zdnet.com:
- 2017-04-17 (Eileen Brown): Is Mastodon the new social media star, or imploding black hole?
- on talkplus.org:
- 2016: The history of Hubzilla
- on blog.novatrend.ch:
- 2019-03-04: Hagen Graf: Soziales Content management mit Hubzilla
- on linuxaddictos.com:
- 2019-12-11: David Naranjo: Liberada la nueva versión de la plataforma de comunicaciones descentralizadas Hubzilla 4.6
- in the German magazine "FIfF-Kommunikation":
- Podcast in German about Hubzilla on besser.demkontinuum.de (2018-06-22): Hubzilla #S01E03
- Interview in German on greennetproject.org (Markus Kollotzek, 2017-11-21): Hubzilla – Interview zum dezentralen sozialen Netzwerk
- Presentation video in Russian (Gustav Wall, 2017-06-24): Hubzilla – введение, возможности, Hubzilla-сообщество (Gustav Wall, LVEE-2017)
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