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20 May 2019 - 3 minute read


Hello! This is the first of (hopefully) many posts I make for this blog, so I thought I'd start it off by explaining why I made this site, why I chose the name I did, and what I plan on doing with this VPS in the future.

So, I really like decentralisation - I think it's great. You take a generalised platform like Matrix, Email, or ActivityPub, and you open it up so anyone can create something and hook it up to the wider network. It means people can create content in exactly the format they want and organise it exactly how they prefer and have complete control over that content, but still be connected with everyone else. For anyone that cares about privacy and security - especially of personal information - it's the dream.

Arguably the most decentralised you can get is to host everything yourself with your own domain and your own server, so that's what I'm going for. At the moment it's just really this website. I'm running a Riot instance on here too and you can theoretically just use it, but I'm leaving it idling for now because I have plans for it later on (explained further down).

I want to use this domain like a little hub for myself. I already have this little site (which I'm so-far very pleased with), but there are plenty of decentralised platforms that I think it would be really cool to have a personal instance of. Over time, as I get the hang of managing a VPS properly, I want to start experimenting with running a Matrix homeserver, Mastodon instance, Peertube instance, Email server, Git server, and an issue tracker.

The first of these that I'll be experimenting with is Matrix. It's definitely the easiest to work with when decentralised as communicating across homeservers is very coherent and you almost don't notice it. This would be a single-user instance, so it wouldn't be open for anyone to join.

Another thing I'd want to create a personal instance of is Mastodon, however it's unlikely I'll be doing this any time soon. Because Mastodon instances are much more contained with a local timeline only showing instance traffic and the crowded and unfiltered federated timeline, it makes a personal instance very isolating and makes discovery incredibly difficult. If it was possible to merge the local timelines of other instances into the local timeline, then it would be a great option and I'd be working on that straight away.

All that said, the main part of this domain is definitely this site and the blog. I'd probably think of it like my Mastodon posts (or "toots"), only drawn out and more structured. Mastodon might have a long string of toots as I go through the process, which would then be followed up on by a blog post explaining what I actually did. Overall, I'm looking forward to seeing how this all goes. I'm likening having a personal site to how I feel having my Linux installs. It's personal and fun and I can make it do whatever I want. It's a responsibility to take care of it, but the reward is liberating.


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Copyright Oliver Ayre 2019. Site licensed under the GNU Affero General Public Licence version 3 (AGPLv3).