Hi pals!

I'm Cinnamon. You may have seen me around Scuttlebutt for the last couple of years, mostly thinking about usability and harassment prevention.

My current project is Earthstar, which is similar to Scuttlebutt but designed for usability from the beginning.

Also: procedural art, music, drawing, photography.

@cinnamon welcome to Merveilles 👋 it's good to see you, the earthstar docs are lovely!

@cinnamon I'm really intrigued by earthstar and hope you make great progress! Glad to see you on merveilles!

@cinnamon Hey and welcome to Merveilles! Earthstar looks very intriguing, lovely project!


welcome! such a nice surprise to see you in these parts. i hope you enjoy your time here.

@cinnamon Welcome to town! I didn't know it was a single developer on that project, assumed it was like a dozen people, wow. Are you into remoteStorage by chance?

@rosano Thanks! Nope it's mostly me with some help from gwil. Join the Matrix chatroom if you're interested, that's where the discussion happens.

I had forgotten about remoteStorage and I'm re-reading about it now. Definitely some common goals!

remoteStorage has more sophisticated access control. Earthstar has conflict resolution so it can have multiple users and multiple redundant storage backends, and it signs data so the backends can't tamper with it.

@cinnamon Amazing, yes definitely some common goals. One pain-point I find with servers is in those rare cases when there is no internet access, I want to just send changes over the local network, you know? I am hoping to hack something together for making my remoteStorage apps pretend to do that with websocket – would be interesting (at least for single-tenant use case) to store only in the browser and sync over wifi, without even needing a server.

@cinnamon You guided tour is a great example of making these things approachable and usable. Could you describe how it was made?

I drew the guided tour in Figma. I haven't gotten any feedback on it yet -- please let me know if anything could be more clear!

I'm not quite sure how to describe public and private keys to casual users. Still need to add slides about that.

@cinnamon is there a comparison to other Scuttlebutt quasi-successors that have come before Earthstar, like Dat? The README says multi-author, but later says doesn't enable "multi-user text editing like Google Docs".

Dat got grant money and a bunch of work put into it (including a halfway usable web browser) and was demonstrated to handle live(?) video. It's hard not to get the feeling that this will kind of reset things back to zero.

(Not trying to be a downer; congrats getting to launch.)


To be more specific, Earthstar's conflict resolution is not fancy enough to merge changes within text documents. It's more like CouchDb in that it picks entire document versions as conflict winners.

A detailed comparison table w/ Scuttlebutt and CouchDb:

Brief comparisons w/ DAT & IPFS:


I don't think it's a zero-sum situation.

Earthstar is exploring a different area of the design space than Scuttlebutt and Dat, and is informed by the usability challenges that have limited their adoption, especially multi-user, multi-device-per-user, and working in regular browsers.

As a demonstration of these ideas, it might help Scuttlebutt achieve consensus on how it can evolve?


It's quite hard for distributed protocols to coordinate the effort to make breaking changes, especially when much of the labor is done by volunteers such as with Scuttlebutt.

Earthstar actually happened because I was doing a deep dive on improving Scuttlebutt usability and found I'd have to make too many breaking changes and lose compatibility with the existing clients. So I decided to start fresh.


Scuttlebutt hasn't been broadly adopted yet in comparison w, say, Mastodon. It maybe has ~500 active users (and I have a deep love for that community, which is really special and kind).

There are a lot more people who wanted to use Scuttlebutt or something like it but didn't get past the hurdles, and even more people who don't feel safe blogging immutably in public. For example my partner doesn't want to use Scuttlebutt. So I decided to try to serve a broader audience.


Anyway there's lots of effort going into Scuttlebutt and I truly wish them the best, and I use it every day.

I admit I succumbed to the temptation "there must be a better & simpler way to do this", and I hope it pulls more enthusiasm into the space of distributed apps instead of detracting from existing projects.

> designed for usability from the beginning.

So . . not really very similar to Scuttlebutt? 😜 Strength to your arm

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Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.