- Can we use this tool? Can we use kune.cc? Will my contents be deleted? Is it a demo or not?
- Where can I find an overview of what’s Kune?
- Why not to use a wiki or blog, or some other tool?
- Why do we need new software?
- I don’t understand… what exact use would I give to Kune? Which tools would it replace?
- What’s the exact technology behind Kune? What’s the buzz about it?
- What are the differences between Kune and Lorea/N-1/Diaspora/etc? We already have other alternative federated social networks… why do we need another?
- Why do we need Kune if we have already Apache Wave?
- How decentralized is Kune? How does federation work?
- How many Kune installations are working around? How many nodes does the Kune ecosystem have? Can I build my own?
- How can Kune be extended? What do you mean by Kune gadgets?
- What do you mean by the Public Space? Is it already developed?
- I don’t see the need for Kune…
- But what about people who have no internet access, as in several countries in Africa and Asia?
- I find it interesting… what can I do to help?
- Is Kune based on Google Wave? This is not a Google technology? What’s the story of all this?
- Why using Wave?
- But Wave was created by Google! We shouldn’t use Google frameworks or protocols!
- Is Apache Wave and the Wave protocol free software?
- Is Kune 100% free/libre software? Was Kune built using any proprietary framework or library?
- What about security? Which measures is Kune planning to include?
- Does the user has complete control over what informations Kune instances can gather about him? In particular: how can the user make sure a Kune instance cannot steal his information and process them despite its will?
- I am a programmer, why not using Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Rails, Zope or (put here your favourite language or framework)?
- OK, but I can do exactly the same with Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Rails, Zope o (put here your favourite language or framework)
- OK, but as a geek/hacker/activist I prefer to install Drupal/Joomla!/SPIP/other CMS in my collective(s) because I know them well… why should we use Kune?
- There are many free software tools out there. Isn’t it better to integrate different good tools that trying to re-implement everything?
- Can I easily install a Kune node to try it out? Is there a Linux package? Any technical docs? Where is the code? and the BTS?
- What about planned Kune features? Do you have a roadmap?
- I’m interested and I would like you to keep me up to date, any mailing list, identica/twitter or any other way?
Kune.cc is a Kune installation we deployed for anyone to use. It is in production, that is, it’s functional and can be used normally by anyone. It’s not a demo, and your contents won’t be deleted. Note there are other Kune installations (nodes) out there, and we encourage you (or your institution) to set up your own Kune, adapted to your needs.
Where can I find an overview of what’s Kune?^
Check out the Kune Wikipedia page.
Why not to use a wiki or blog, or some other tool?^
The same way a house cannot be built with just a hammer, a single tool (a wiki, blog, or any other tool) is not enough to build any free project.
A diversity of tools should be offered, so each project can choose the ones that fit its needs.
The same way as what already happens in free software projects, where each project, depending on its needs, decides to use some tools (CMS, wiki, SCM, mailing lists, etc). In this context, it is clear that one tool only is not enough.
Why do we need new software?^
The quick answer: because at present there is nothing like this already out there.
In detail, why not to use a Content Management System (CMS) or other software? Well, CMSs are far from offering real-time collaboration, embedding of gadgets, federation or social-network capabilities all at once.
Besides, we seek Kune to be structured with a specific logic oriented to manage free contents of individuals, projects, communities or organizations, allowing them to collaborate with one another, in real time. Many CMSs and similar software are not oriented towards building open communities or free contents, but towards closed and hierarchized publication environments.
Second, we find that the majority of current CMS software is not user-friendly enough to be used by just any human being. Too frequently the terminology and structure used turns out to be usable only by people with a technical background.
Third, the development of web applications has radically changed lately. This encouraged us to begin this project using new technologies that, over all, improve the usability of these tools.
I don’t understand… what exact use would I give to Kune? Which tools would it replace?^
Kune aims to be a free/libre decentralized social network, so you would stop using Facebook. It provides real-time simultaneous collaborative edition of documents so you can stop using Google Docs and wikis. It allows you to communicate in discussion lists, so you stop using mailing lists and Google/Yahoo/MSN Groups. It provides group calendars so you forget about Google Calendar. It provides chat compatible with Gmail/Jabber chat accounts of your friends. It allows galleries of images, videos, maps or any rich contents, so you can stop using Flickr/Youtube. It provides multiple other tools for collaboration such as polls, doodles, or add-ons (same way as the Firefox add-ons). It is an advanced mail inbox so you use less and less your classical e-mail. And eventually, it will allow publishing contents to the general public so you would be able to create your own customized group web-pages without needing any CMS (WordPress, Drupal, etc).
What’s the exact technology behind Kune? What’s the buzz about it?^
Kune is GWT-developed, AJAX-powered, a single-page “rich internet application“. For example, if you move here and there in Kune and click backwards in your browser, you will see the chat doesn’t move or disconnect, and you can do simultaneous things with minimal interaction with the server. Being single-page, the server and client only exchange the bits of additional info needed.
Twitter used to be a static multi-page web application, but nowadays it has evolved, being more similar (technologically-wise) to Kune (or Google Docs, Gmail…). Such “rich internet applications” behave as if the user interacts with a desktop application.
What are the differences between Kune and Lorea/N-1/Diaspora/etc? We already have other alternative federated social networks… why do we need another?^
Kune can be seen as a federated social network, but it is much more than that. Kune does not focus just on communication but on real-time collaboration. Thus, all contents within Kune are waves that allow multiple users to collaborate in real-time (simultaneously) writing a document, tagging a map, building a video gallery, filling a calendar of events, or whatever. In waves you can do anything, not just deal with text. Waves are part of the Kune structure, so they are already integrated in everything, at the protocol level.
You can check out a page compiling the specific differences between Lorea and Kune.
Why do we need Kune if we have already Apache Wave?^
Apache Wave (and the former Google Wave) has a strong focus on the individual: “my inbox”, the same way as email. Kune has a strong focus on the group: the groups own documents, tasks, calendars, etc. Individuals have also their personal space and their inbox of waves/docs, but the focus is on the group collaboration. Besides, Apache Wave is a whiteboard where anything can be written. In Kune, although everything are waves, the user sees them grouped in documents, tasks, events, blogs, lists, etc. That is, it aims to be much more usable than Wave, as users typically don’t know what to do with something (a wave) that can be everything at once.
How decentralized is Kune? How does federation work?^
Kune does not use OpenID, OAuth or OStatus for the federation, but the Wave Federation Protocol (an extension for the XMPP protocol). The idea is that you would have one account in one Kune, and collaborate with anyone in any Kune server (or wave-powered server)… from your Kune inbox. Any group can have users from several “Kunes”, but also any user can share a personal document with any user with a Kune account. Besides, in the user inbox, she can see all the waves (documents, galleries, events, etc) in which she is participant, in any Kune. Think of it as in email: you have your email account in one particular server, and you can send emails to anyone, regardless of where do they have their accounts. And from your inbox you can interact with them, in an easy and transparent way.
Note that the protocol XMPP is only used for server-to-server communication in the federation of waves, not in usual server-client communication. Kune has also a XMPP-chat but this is independent from the wave protocol. Thus, a username in Kune such as [email protected] can be invited to a wave in Kune.cc, in other Kunes (different from kune.cc) and be invited to a chat conversation from a XMPP chat (such as Jabber or Gmail).
How many Kune installations are working around? How many nodes does the Kune ecosystem have? Can I build my own?^
Nowadays there are three nodes:
- Kune.cc offered by the Comunes Collective as a continuation of their efforts with Ourproject.org
- Social Gloobal offered by the IEPALA Foundation as a service for NGOs, and as a continuation of their work with Gloobal.
- The Kune Demo as a demo for anyone to try it out and experiment there.
How can Kune be extended? What do you mean by Kune gadgets?^
Kune can be extended through new tools, written in GWT and extending Kune’s code. The same way as Drupal/Wordpress (or other CMSs) modules/plugins, they can become part of Kune software. And the same way, several distributions of Kune could contain different default tools.
However, in Kune you can also build “apps” that run on top of Kune, the same way you can build “apps” to run on top of Facebook, iGoogle or Google+. Those Kune apps are called gadgets (running on waves) and bots (robot-participants in a wave that can perform actions). These are much easier to program, as they don’t require to know the GWT code of Kune, and they can be programmed in Java or Python. Any Kune can have its default set of tools and default set of gadgets… but any Kune user can use the gadgets he/she desires in any of the Kune documents/blogs/galleries/events/etc (the same way a Facebook user can use any apps). These gadgets/bots are the same ones that run on top of waves, so there are already many free/libre gadgets developed by third-parties. This app-capability boosts extensibility (as the learning curve for developers to develop gadget is very low) and customization (as users can use any set of gadgets, regardless of the default ones available in their Kune server).
What do you mean by the Public Space? Is it already developed?^
The Public Space is a feature not yet functional. It aims to provide an usable and automatic way for creating web-pages from the public group contents. You can see it as if the dashboard of current WordPress/Blogspot/etc is the group-space and the actual view that external users see of the webpage is the Public Space. Each group would be able to customize their webpage so the contents they build collaboratively can be easily shown to the public in their own website. Nowadays, a group in Kune can show the contents to external users by showing their group-space, but the internal work-group environment and the external website for the public might (and should) look different, with different contents (just the finished, public results), etc. Nowadays Kune does not provide this feature, so you still need an external webpage for your contents created collaboratively within Kune (the same way as in any other collaborative environment).
I don’t see the need for Kune…^
Are you sure? When a group (a groupf of friends, activists, a NGO, a small start-up…) needs to work together, they typically create a Google/Yahoo/MSN Group. When they want to communicate what they do, they create a blog in Blogger or WordPress.com. If they want to share files, they would create a Dropbox. For spreading the word they use Facebook and Twitter. For their photo collection they use Flickr or Google Picasa, and for their videos Youtube or Vimeo. When they want to build documents together, either they exchange Word files by email, or they use Google Docs. On top of everything, they use daily emails (usually in Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail) for communication, discussion, agreements, etc. All these services are commercial, non-free, centralized, anti-privacy, with ads… and remember, “If You’re Not Paying For It, You Become The Product”: they will sell your profile and personal data to whomever pays for it.
Sometimes, the group rejects to use those commercial services and ask some technicians (let’s call them geeks 🙂 around to help them to use some free/libre software instead. Then, the technicians set up a mailing list (using Mailman), build a Drupal website, offers them to use pads (Piratepad, Etherpad)… Not any user can set up and configure those: the group becomes dependant to a geek. Each time they need a new mailing list, they must contact the geek. If they want to change a menu in the website, they must contact the geek. If the pad has a sync problem they contact the geek. The geek ends up fed up when there are multiple groups like that… and the groups don’t move forward because there is a clear bottleneck.
For us, this is a dramatic scenario. We don’t want users to depend on commercial services, but nowadays free/libre tools are far too complicated for users to manage them. The configuration of Mailman requires users to read RFCs, while anyone can configure a Google Group. There is a clear problem of usability here. We need new free/libre tools that can replace all the commercial services mentioned above… but that are as usable as those. Kune aims to be such tool, where the group can register, begin using directly, and handle all their communication and collaboration online. More on this issue in our blog:
But what about people who have no internet access, as in several countries in Africa and Asia?^
Lawrence Lessig says in the preface of his book Free Culture: «Free Culture is about the troubles the Internet causes even after the modem is turned off. It is an argument about how the battles that now rage regarding life on-line have fundamentally affected “people who aren’t online.” There is no switch that will insulate us from the Internet’s effect.»
Besides, when we are producing common goods, such as free software or Wikipedia or other free contents, we build common good that has no frontiers. What is produced is shared even with people that are not connected, and that did not participate in its creation. It is a common good for humanity.
Using Science as an example: it is not necessary that everybody researches, or that every country has research spaces, labs, etc. The main point is the spreading of the philosophy of sharing free culture, so everything that is researched is shared freely with Humanity with no artificial constraints. This would benefit everybody equally, not only those who have the research capacity.
I find it interesting… what can I do to help?^
There are many ways! Translate, test, spread the word, provide new ideas and, if you know how to, program. You can check the “Join Kune” for a better insight of what can you do, and the “Who’s behind Kune?” to check out who’s behind this initiative.
How can I insert/embed an image in a document?^
Check out these instructions
What’s the difference between wikis and documents? and wikis and blogs? and tasks?^
Kune provides multiple tools: documents, wikis, events, tasks, lists, chatrooms, barters. Most of them (all except the chat) are built on top of waves (similar to those of the old Google Wave), but embedded in a particular use and with certain properties. Group “documents” (that look like normal waves) can be organised in folders, as our shared virtual hard drive, and only group members can edit them. On the other hand, group “events” is a complete group calendar (similar to a group Google Calendar) where events can be created, shared and dragged. The calendar doesn’t look at all like waves, but it’s what we have beneath. Group “wikis” look like documents, but they can be edited by anyone (not just by group members). (For explanations of more tools, check next question)
Thus, there are some that are more sophisticated and further than the “wave” concept (e.g. Calendar, Lists), and others that are more similar (docs~wikis). A wave can be turned into anything with the appropriate transformations or gadgets: a wave is a meta-component that can basically be anything (a conversation, an email, a doc, a task-list, an event…) but that’s very confusing. It was confusing in Google Wave, and Kune is trying (among other things) to solve that confusion encapsulating the typical tools people find in other places, and rebuilding them using waves underneath. The tools will be more and more different from each others, the more Kune evolves and has more features.
Ok, but then what does each tool do?^
You have a tutorial explaining each tool. You can access it the first time you arrive to a tool, before creating contents. You can also open it by clicking on the info icon (i) that you find in the right side of the group-space (the button can be found in all the tools). Still, we can summarise their use here:
- Group “documents” (that look like normal waves) can be organised in folders, as our shared virtual hard drive, and only group members can edit them.
- Group “blogs” look like documents, but the idea is different. You create a blog and you can create “posts” there. Posts are listed in inverse chronological order (like in wordpress blogs, for instance). You cannot distribute posts in folders, and the idea is to “post” as in a blog… although here other people of the group can edit the same blog post (as it is meant for collaborative group blogs). If you want your own personal blog, you can enable this tool in your personal user space (top-right: “username”=>”Your homepage”).
- Group “wikis” look like documents, but they can be edited by anyone (not just by group members).
- Group “events” is a complete group calendar (similar to a group Google Calendar) where events can be created, shared and dragged. It can be easily exported to your mobile phone or local calendar.
- Group “tasks” allow to classify the pending tasks for the group. They can be group in folders (e.g. short-term, mid-term…) and they can be crossed when they are finished. Then, all members now what is pending and what’s already done.
- Group “lists” mirror the classical “mailing lists”… but without emails (also similar to Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, etc). You can create lists, subscribe to a list (so you receive the messages posted), post messages… and they will appear listed in inverse chronological order. They are meant for discussion, not for building contents.
- Group “chatrooms” provides a common place for the group to have online meetings: multi-user conversations. The chat of Kune works with individual 1-1 conversations or, thanks to chatrooms, with multi-user many-to-many conversations. Remember you can add Kune users to the chat, but also Gmail/GTalk users and Jabber users to chat with (as they all use the same free/libre protocol).
- Personal “barters” are only available in the user personal space (top-right: “username”=>”Your homepage”). You can enable/disable them in your user preferences. “Barters” is a experimental tool for exchanging goods and services with other Kune users. You can check the homepage of the Troco project (Troco is the gadget used for bartering) for more info.
Can I use Kune for proprietary / copyrighted or private content?^
Kune encourages Free Culture, and thus its default license is a free/libre license (CC BY-SA), but each group can change that. We don’t allow the “standard closed copyright” license among the variety of licenses to choose from for the default license for a group (we do allow the very restrictive CC BY-NC-ND). In a specific content you can always specify a different license with a sentence within the document (as the group license is just the default license, when nothing else is indicated). A group can have private content in a closed group, and thus no one can see your contents (they are not public) and you are not sharing them. If you would like not to share your contents because they are private or copyrighted, you can use a closed group to collaborate. If you are very concerned about privacy/security of the sensible private data you are managing, you can always install your own instance of Kune in your own server. In any case, we recommend you to use and promote free/libre contents for your group, that works for the common good and also maximises your visibility.
Is Kune based on Google Wave? This is not a Google technology? What’s the story of all this?^
Kune integrates Apache Wave, the free/libre client of Wave, inheritance of Google Wave but now under the Apache Foundation umbrella. Kune also uses the Wave Protocol, which is fully free/libre also. If you are curious about all this, check out the whole story.
Why using Wave?^
Using the words of a Google engineer (after Google stopping Google Wave), “Wave is an abandoned half-built skyscraper”. We say “Fantastic! Let’s occupy that skyscraper!” Nowadays, Wave (Apache Wave) is free open source software, together with the Wave protocol. We believe there is no current technology that can even approach to its potentials. Wave provides a layer below anything we want to build… a layer that automatically provides: full transparent federation (as in e-mail), online multi-user collaboration (not just communication/sharing, but actually collaborating/building stuff), real-time (simultaneous edition, synchronized at the character level). We believe that future tools must promote decentralization, multi-user collaboration and real-time. We can try to build those on current tools (as the efforts for real-time collaboration in Inkscape whiteboard, or the recent efforts to bring it to Libre Office), but those are huge efforts… We believe it’s more feasible to use this skyscraper, and continue building on top… as anything we build on top (task managers? 3D design? calendars?) will already be federated and allow real-time multi-user collaboration. That’s what we are doing in Kune, where any tool or gadget we build is on top of Wave, and thus any other software using the Wave protocol could get benefit from it.
But Wave was created by Google! We shouldn’t use Google frameworks or protocols!^
It’s true Google dominance is scary, but we believe Wave plays against it, not in favour of it. Wave aimed to replace email, and as such, it is a decentralized protocol. It doesn’t increase or rely the control on Google or any other centralized authority. Wave (as opposite to Google+) helps to decentralize internet and rely less on the control of a few large corporations like Google.
The original Google Wave included proprietary stuff that was not released, but we are not using any of that: we are only using what is fully free/libre software (under the Apache Foundation umbrella). We are only using what already belongs to the Commons, to all of us.
If a corporation releases code as free/libre software, it becomes part of the Commons (as Wikipedia, as Science). Even if they regret later on, it’d be late: the code would be available in mirrors, the code will be forked if necessary. The community can take control of it. Nowadays, the 75% of the Linux kernel code is done by enterprise programmers, should we reject those parts because they come from them?
Is Apache Wave and the Wave protocol free software?^
Is Kune 100% free/libre software? Was Kune built using any proprietary framework or library?^
Kune has been built only using free/libre tools and its code and libraries are 100% free/libre, released here under the GNU AGPLv3 license. Besides, we try to promote free contents through a CC BY-SA default license in projects (which can be changed, of course).
What about security? Which measures is Kune planning to include?^
Kune can have HTTPS (SSL) enabled by default while all the user interaction happens (not only in the login). This provides a reasonable security, as in most cases, just the server would be aware of the user interaction. Kune has plans to provide a layer of encryption by default for all contents, but nowadays these are mid-term tasks. Until then, Kune advises users to register on a server they would trust. The same as in email: if you register your email account in an untrustworthy server, it will be able to scan your emails, sell your profile, etc.
Concerning untrustworthy users you may find, Kune plans to incorporate an optional reputation system (the Kune community already developed a first draft: Karma) which would allow users to know the reputation of new individuals in the social network (as in Ebay, where you wouldn’t exchange stuff with a person with low reputation, as such person probably cheated others).
Does the user has complete control over what informations Kune instances
can gather about him? In particular: how can the user make sure a Kune
instance cannot steal his information and process them despite its will?^
Kune is only a tool turning a server into a collaborative publication platform. As such, it can be used in a way that respects the freedom of the users or that does not respect it, e.g. by storing information about what they write and processing this information without telling them.
This problem has to be solved by the policy of the server and by the trust relationship between the users and the people running the Kune instance.
This is similar to the problem of trusting a server running an email relay.
This is not a problem for Kune by itself.
Kune by itself does not store information about what users write using Kune. All this information is stored by the ones responsible for the server and this is their responsability to inform users about what is done with their data.
I am a programmer, why not using Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Rails, Zope or (put here your favourite language or framework)?^
GWT’s mission is to radically improve the web experience for users by enabling developers to use existing Java tools to build no-compromise AJAX for any modern browser.
and we do believe that when they say ’radically’, they really meant it. If you do not know GWT features and you work on these issues, we encourage you to try it out.
In the beginning, neither GWT nor Java were free/libre, so we were using and contributing to pyjamas (it is the equivalent to GWT but in Python). However, now that GWT and Java are free/libre, there are no reasons for not using it.
OK, but I can do exactly the same with Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Rails, Zope o (put here your favourite language or framework)^
OK, but as a geek/hacker/activist I prefer to install Drupal/Joomla!/SPIP/other CMS in my collective(s) because I know them well… why should we use Kune?^
We ask you the question: How many CMSs are you able to install/customize/maintain/admin and for how many collectives?
Is it not better to build complete, habitable and usable web spaces, self-managed by anyone, regardless of their web knowledge?
Is it not better to empower people than leaving them constantly dependent to you?
There are many free software tools out there. Isn’t it better to integrate different good tools that trying to re-implement everything?^
The key here are real-time collaboration and federation. As explained in a previous question about Wave, there has been huge efforts for providing real-time multi-user collaboration on existing tools. Transforming a good desktop application (think of OpenOffice or Inkscape) into a web-based real-time collaboration environment is basically re-implementing it. Transforming an existing static web application in a dynamic real-time collaboration environment is also an enormous effort. If on top of that we think about including a decentralized federation protocol for all the communication among servers… We have also multiple problems when trying to embed third-parties tools within other tools: they don’t integrate well, trying to connect user management, security, different protocols, different visualizations and user experience… We end up seeing botch-ups. We opted for a different approach: to build on top of an existing layer/infrastructure (Apache Wave) that provides real-time collaboration and federation to anything you build over it. It’s easy to extend through gadgets, in different languages. It’s a skyscraper. And it’s free/libre, so it belongs to all of us. So we thought, let’s occupy it 🙂
Can I easily install a Kune node to try it out? Is there a Linux package? Any technical docs? Where is the code? and the BTS?^
Kune is available as a package for Debian/Ubuntu (.deb). Follow these instructions for installation:
You have additional technical docs in:
In order to install the development environment, you should follow the Kune Development Guide:
The code is in this GIT repository, although it’s recommended to follow the previous guide before trying to download it straight away:
We use Redmine as Bug Tracking System, so feel free to add tickets here:
More info in the README file.
What about planned Kune features? Do you have a roadmap?^
You can check out our draft roadmap (in constant evolution) here: http://kune.cc/#kune.docs.1110.2273
I’m interested and I would like you to keep me up to date, any mailing list, identica/twitter or any other way?^
We have an identi.ca account @kuneproject, a twitter account @kuneproject, and two open mailing lists: “kune-devel” for development and “kune-promotor” for announcements and discussion. Slowly, we are using less the mailing lists and more and more the lists within kune.cc itself, which you can join from http://kune.cc/#kune.lists (you would need to do a kune.cc account). Feel free to join any.