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Status update and Nextcloud as OpenId connect provider!

5 min read

It's been a while we didn't update you. The main reason is because we wanted our newsletter to work again before. But well, let's give a status without sending it by email :)

 

The user journey

I'd say our current main focus is to improve the user journey, when the user get to our website, is convinced, and sign up for a free account on our cloud.

But to understand all the little improvments we are working on, let me present you our stack for you to understand better where we are, what are our current pain points and the way we plan to address them.

Our stack

Our central piece is Nextcloud. We believe it is an amazing software, and are really happy of the late developements.

We make people register there with the application registration.

We manage their invoices with the amazing invoice ninja.

And then, we have a chat and a forum provided by the non less great Rocket.Chat and Discourse.

We also have email service, with dovecot/postfix. We also use vimbadmin as a web interface to let the user manage its emails.

Once people bought their service with us, they get an email, and we integrate Nextcloud with imap using the user_imap external user backend.

The challenges

conversion from free to paid user

The first challenge is to transform a free user into a paid one.

It means we have to transfer the user from the user table into the external_user table in Nextcloud. It also means that we create the user on the imap side, with the same username.

Historically, the username in imap is the email. And the registration app doesn't put restriction on user names.

Basically, it means that today, we need to make user recreate their account, and this is a bad experience, we understand that.

manage invoices

Another challenge for the new user is to view the invoices, and manage them easily.

manage emails

The way to manage the emails, aliases, and password is with vimbadmin, and it is also less than optimal.

single sign on

And finally, right now, the user has an account for each service, the email and the cloud share the same password, but for the rest, the user needs to create an account for each of them.

 

The solutions

The good news, is that there is no issues, just solutions to develop!

conversion from free to paid user

This is currently the main priority. First, in Nextcloud, you can login with either your username or email, and we want to have the same behaviour. With the user_imap user backend, it wasn't possible to login with your email. We did a pull request that was merged to allow just that!

On the imap side, we need to do some work to get the knowldge about the username of the user and also let him login with his username to our imap backend.

Once we have that, it will be easy to migrate a free user into a paid user with email! All we'll need to do, is to recreate the user account on our email database, and switch the user table in Nextcloud.

manage invoices

We also did a change to a Nextcloud application, called external_links, that allow to configure links from various places in your cloud instance to external resources of your choice.

The plan is to use the buy now button feature from invoice ninja.

We added the possibility to add the email and username in the link so that the user wil not have to enter it when buying.

We plan to add the invoice user id in the Nextcloud database, so then we can easily link to the invoice ninja dashboard and let the user have an overview of the current status of all the bills.

manage emails

We are working on an api, and a Nextcloud application that would allow people, from their cloud to manage their emails, aliases, and password, directly from the cloud.

We plan to also develop an app, to let other Nextcloud users to purchase our email service from their own Nextcloud instance, and configure it automatically!

single sign on

This is the part I'm most excited.

If you follow the development of Nextcloud like we do, you would have noticed this folder. And yeah, it looks like it makes Nextcloud an oauth provider. Which means that we could use Nextcloud as our identity provider. I tried during lot of weekend, until I found the solution! Following this thread, I did this pull request,

Here is my configuration to make discourse work against Nextcloud:

oauth2 client id and oauth2 client secret (from Nextcloud admin section)
oauth2 authorize url: https://cloud.indie.host/apps/oauth2/authorize
oauth2 token url: https://cloud.indie.host/apps/oauth2/api/v1/token
oauth2 user json url: https://cloud.indie.host/ocs/v2.php/cloud/user?format=json
oauth2 json user id path: ocs.data.id
oauth2 json username path: ocs.data.id
oauth2 json name path: ocs.data.display-name
oauth2 json email path: ocs.data.email

And then, you can log in to Discourse with Nextcloud \o/

For Rocket.Chat, it didn't work out of the box, I had to propose this change. The latest version should work too :)

 

As a conclusion, I'm rally happy to share this status and show you that the project is not stale. We have lots of idea for 2018, and we hope that you like what you see!

 

And you, what would you like IndieHosters to offer in 2018?

 

PS: we created two new categories in our forum:

https://forum.indie.host/c/bug

https://forum.indie.host/c/feature

We'll work more with them now!

 

In response to https://twitter.com/jwildeboer/status/776511196329566210

3 min read

@jwildeboer @nextclouders Really glad about the debate. Let me take a bit more than 140 chars to answer!

Indeed we are not open source, we are a free software shop, but I understand that some people can confuse :P

So yes, we offer Free Software as a Service. Among them, we offer https://rocket.chat/. The price is 100€/year for one instance. (check the prices of Slack also :) )
You can read an interview of us here: https://rocket.chat/blog/viva-liberte-indiehosters-supporting-internet-freedom-with-open-source-chat

We don't give any money to RocketChat nor Nextcloud, we offer Services around. We host it, backup it, secure it, and provision an https certificate for you.

Of course as a free software user, you are also free to run it on your own hardware at home and so on, we are not against it, quiet the contrary. We believe Internet should be decentralized and people should host at home. Freedombox is not there yet, yunohost is great, but it is still difficult to do it at home, especially email, so we are a workaround in the meantime. And for some use case, it is better to use us than having a server at home, if you are afraid that somebody breaks into your house and cease your server for instance.
We also plan to work with these projects to offer services to the end user, like encrypted backup on our infrastructure, possibility to migrate from one to the other and vice versa.

We don't give money to the free software we host, but we give something even more valuable, brain time.
I am personally helping to make official docker image for RocketChat, Nextcloud, Piwik, Mattermost, ownCloud, known.
The market value of this donation is many k€.
We also report bugs, feature request and so on, just check my [github account](https://github.com/pierreozoux/), 1,112 contributions last year. Again, the market price value of this is many k€.

On top of that, all our infrastructure, and recipes are also free software. You can find it here: http://libre.sh. I don't know any other hoster doing that. But actually we help some to use libre.sh, we helped libre-a-toi for instance.
We maintain a list of hosters with the same mind set here: https://github.com/indiehosters/awesome-librehosters but actually, I'm not sure any of them is publishing its infra, the way we do.

Ah, and we respect these manifestos: https://github.com/indiehosters/website/issues/62

Ah! And I almost forgot, we have open/libre finance also, here you can find some documents:
https://github.com/indiehosters/documents/blob/master/newsletter/December15.md

I'm part time on this project, and in 2015, we made 2,396€ benefits. so if you count 1,040hours per year (part time, I think I'm way above), it means, my hourly rate is... a lot lower than market value...

So it means, either we are too cheap, or we don't know how to manage. But please, it is libre, so if you know a way to improve, please let us know! But I believe we just need more users actually :)

Pierre

PS: if you eat your sarcasms, could you make a video of it? :P

 

Got unlisted from 1&1 blacklist \o/ just used support@1and1.com and it was solved in 24h. Do not use twitter support for this kind of issues.
https://twitter.com/pierreozoux/status/737205508445179905

 
 
 

We have a new (old) forum \o/ Forum IndieHosters https://forum.indie.host/

 

Jason Volmut on Twitter: "@CPURX Private cloud file sync solves this problem. If you don't hold your data -- you don't https://t.co/SzE4zPHG7V" https://twitter.com/javolmut/status/682599294843617280

 

The new blog!

2 min read

### IndieWeb

Since the beginning, we are engaged to support the IndieWeb, but we didn't have an indie blog ourself. It is now fixed!

We use [known](https://indiehosters.net/shop/product/known-17) to power this blog and we really love it. It allows us to publish on our own site and syndicate to twitter, facebook, and Linkedin(soon) ([POSSE](http://indiewebcamp.com/posse)).
Thanks to [bridgy](https://brid.gy/) we are also able to gather likes and comments from these [silos](http://indiewebcamp.com/silo), and aggregate them on our own blog (like on this [post](https://blog.indie.host/2015/setting-up-convoy-was-really-easy-thanks-to-make-awesome)).

With all these features, it means we are in control of what we publish. Nobody can cansor us or dictate the way we should or shouldn't publish our content. More than that, we also offer to our followers the possbility to follow on these silos (twitter, facebook, linkedin, but also on this blog with [rss](http://indiewebcamp.com/rss).

### Topics

We plan to speak about various things on this blog. We know that our main audience is technical, but we also have supporters that are maybe not that interested on the technical side, but very interested about redecentralising the web.
We'll publish original content and also [repost](http://indiewebcamp.com/repost) interesting information.
So we'll use a classic mechanism of [tags](http://indiewebcamp.com/tag):

- \#status for every updates about IndieHosters
- \#interview for interviews we'll produce
- \#fr for language specific content
- \#event for everything related to events we'll attend.
- \#privacy for everything related to why [I have something to hide](https://ihavesomethingtohi.de/)!
- \#FLOSS for everything related to Free/Libre Open Source Software
- \#tech for the technical bits

These tags will allow you to follow just specific topic if you are interested.

We hope you'll enjoy reading this new blog as much as we do publishing to it :)

Let us know if you have ideas or if you want to have some guess posts!

All the best and bon bout d'an! (Happy piece of year)

(And we re-imported all the old blogs for fun, enjoy reading!)

\#status

 

Framadrive - aider à degoogliser Internet

1 min read

Nous sommes fiers de lancer, en partenariat avec Framasoft, une instance gratuite de ownCloud.

Pour plus d'information, vous pouvez aller visiter le [Framablog](http://framablog.org/2015/10/05/framadrive-conservez-et-synchronisez-2-go-sur-nos-serveurs/).

Ceci s'inscrit dans notre mission partagée de [dégoogliser les Internets](https://degooglisons-internet.org/)!

Si vous voulez plus d'information, n'hésitez pas à [nous contacter](https://indiehosters.net/page/contactus)!

\#status

 

Hello World²

1 min read

### a new IndieHosters WebSite!

#### A better way to communicate with you

It's been almost a year now we are working on IndieHosters. We try really hard to reach you. And so we built this brand new website to explain better what is the mission of IndieHosters.

We hope you'll like it and we are waiting your comments!

Thanks to continue to follow our adventures! We are preparing big improvements.

If you have advices to help us improve the website, please do not hesitate to open a new issue in the [forum](https://indiehosters.net/forum)! Thanks!

(if not already done, you can register on our [newsletter](https://indiehosters.net/page/aboutus))

\#status