ind.ie

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Ind.ie is a social enterprise based in the UK; it is company limited by guarantee, not share capital. Ind.ie was founded by Aral Balkan and hosts the Indie Manifesto. It builds a product called Heartbeat (see below) to match the values expressed in the manifesto. Ind.ie is funded by a mix of personal investment by Aral Balkan and his family and crowdfunding donations from December 2014.

Contents

History

On 2013-11-28, Aral announced the IndiePhone at the Handheld 2013 conference.[1]

On 2014-11-08, Ind.ie announced four products in development on the path to building the Indie Phone:[2]

  • Pulse – a synchronisation engine built on top of SyncThing to provide synchronisation between devices without any requirement of a central server.
  • Heartbeat – a social network system to allow people to communicate between each other without a central server using Pulse as the back-end.
  • Waystone – a discovery service to find other people using Heartbeat.
  • phone – a smartphone device with a new operating system built from scratch according to indie tech principles.

On 2014-12-14, a crowdfunding campaign by Ind.ie concluded after raising more than $100,000 (Ind.ie blog post).

On 2015-01-12, a blog post on the Ind.ie website entitled Focus announced that the company would be switching towards building only Heartbeat, and making Heartbeat initially available only for Mac OS X, then on iOS. Plans to make it available for Android were shelved according to a follow-up post on Aral's personal site, which also stated: "Our ultimate goal is still to create a consumer device – which today we think will be a phone – with independent hardware, software, and services."

Following this announcement, a fair number of Twitter users were critical of the decision and a number of people who donated to the crowdfunding campaign asked for refunds, which Ind.ie claim they will provide. (tweet from @ind.ie)

Update: 2015-09-07 Regarding the above paragraph, we didn’t just claim it, we provided the refunds that were asked for :) —Aral

On 2015-08-10, the first Heartbeat pre-alpha was released. During the following month, there were eight other pre-alpha releases.

You can follow along with the latest updates in the development on the Ind.ie source code repository and the Ind.ie forums.

Ind.ie is not IndieWeb nor IndieWebCamp

Despite the use of the word "indie", Ind.ie is separate from the indie web movement and from IndieWebCamp. The community around IndieWebCamp are individual developers, designers, web authors and creators who want to publish stuff on their own site. We're collectively building simple ways of sharing content between sites and providing backwards compatibility with silo services like Twitter and Facebook.

Aral has publicly noted that Ind.ie and indie web are not the same:

Are you the same as IndieWeb?

No. IndieWeb is a separate movement and yet we have some overlap of goals. Specifically, we share the belief that you should own your own space on the web. However, Indie Tech does not believe that this alone will fix the problem. In other words, the scope and focus of the two movements is different.

In a nutshell, we reject the Silicon Valley startup culture of venture capital and exits. We see the spyware companies of Google, Facebook, etc. as harmful malware vendors. We reject any form of sponsorship or investment from them. The IndieWeb community makes no such claims and tries to work within the system to attempt to change the behaviour of the closed silos and provide tools to give themselves greater control over their own data.

Ultimately, our goal is to provide a separate, sustainable alternative ecosystem of independent technology. In this vision, I see IndieWeb as useful in creating stopgaps that can help smooth over the transition. If we sit and wait for the one perfect approach from the one perfect initiative, we will be sitting around and waiting for a long time.

On a personal note, I am friends with a number of the people from the IndieWeb community and while we may not agree on everything, I know that their hearts are in the right place and that they’re doing what they’re doing for the right reasons.

So, in a nutshell, we are Indie Tech, the Independent Technology initiative, not IndieWeb.

I speak only for Indie Tech, not IndieWeb.

—Aral Balkan, What is the ind.ie manifesto?

A number of people on Twitter have confused the two names and attributed to the IndieWeb community positions which we do not subscribe to. To see what we do believe, check out the principles and why pages; to see what we're building have a look at projects and to see the kind of things that we're trying to work on, have a look at problems.

Examples of confusion and conflation

Heartbeat project

Ind.ie's Heartbeat is a product that enables you to "Share the things that matter to you with the people you care about (and no one else)".

The first Heartbeat pre-alpha was released on 2015-08-10. As of this writing (2015-09-07), there have been eight other pre-alpha releases, including the Scheming Squirrel release that showcased Heartbeat’s primitive yet developing indie web features.

Heartbeat’s source code (Cocoa, Node.js) is available on source.ind.ie, alongside the source code for Waystone, Pulse Node, and a number of other Ind.ie projects such as the open source Set template engine.

Information on Heartbeat is available on the Heartbeat section of the Ind.ie forum, including documents on the conceptual design, technical design, and known issues.

Heartbeat self-description

Previous versions of the Ind.ie home page[3] had this description:

Heartbeat is a social network client that is private by default. It’s peer-to-peer and uses a distributed synchronisation engine called Pulse. You can use Heartbeat to share your thoughts, photos, or anything else privately across all your devices. You can also share privately with your friends, or publish publicly for the whole world to see via the Web. You have full ownership and control. Heartbeat is free as in freedom. And it’s a beautiful, simple experience.

Heartbeat questions

  • i'm more interested in how the experience is rather than technical details. like if I post privately where is the post stored. If I post publicly is it viewable on a URL. If so whose URL? Or is all of this stuck inside Heartbeat, in which case so much for freedom -- Kartik on [4]
  • more questions...

Heartbeat answers

Regarding the first question: Kartik, the source is now available (please see links, above). Please download Heartbeat and have a play for yourself. Or, if you’d like, shoot me an email at aral@ind.ie and I’ll get you on the hosted version of Waystone that is part of the private pre-alpha programme. It’s very early days but I’m improving Heartbeat continuously.

Regarding your questions on where posts/messages reside:

  • Public messages: reside on your device and are served by a local (public) web server running at http://localhost:42000. These posts are also aggregated by the Waystone instance that you have an account handle from. For the private pre-alpha, this is waystone.ind.ie.
  • Private messages: private messages are sent peer-to-peer between your device and the device of the friend you are talking to. Those are the only two places that they reside.

I hope that clears things up. If not, please feel free to ping me on the Ind.ie forum, reply here, or email me directly at aral@ind.ie. — Aral

If you want to ask your questions to the Ind.ie community directly, please use the Ind.ie forum.

Criticism

See Also

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