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PixelFork - Image sharing in a new way

After the big success with Halcyon we want to try something new, we want to fork a open source project. It relays on the ActivityPub protocol so it will federate with the "fediverse".
This time there are also more people working on this project. So we can concentrate on both client and server side development.
We've announced that months ago, because we are unhappy with Pixelfed's main developer and his decisions, when he announced that federation support will be ready soon.
PixelFed has a user interface similar to Instagram, its basically a clone of said site, but for the fediverse. Think Twitter -> Mastodon, but this time Instagram -> Pixelfed.
Sadly, we had to come to the conclusion that PixelFeds developer doesn't really care about the user, federation and decentralization.
Even PixelFed's Readme states: "Please note this is alpha software, not recommended for production use, and federation is not supported yet.",
Which is in our opinion bad practice for a free software project, if people try it out and get excited they may even start contributing to the project.

So what's the deal exaclty?


We've came up with the idea months ago when federation support was announced to be ready soon. We were unhappy with many decisions of the original developers.
Oh well, this one is a fork, as the name already says, probably that's important to know. For people who don't know what a fork is: It's basically the original code with changes from other developers.
Our intention is to make the world better by providing social media technologies to everyone without profit in mind.
Unlike PixelFed, our project PixelFork takes privacy seriously and is fully decentralized.
But the main differences of PixelFork are decided by you! - Sure, there are parts of PixelFed (the original project) we already announced to remove. While PixelFeds developer doesn't care that much about the users opinions, we take our users
opinions seriously and integrate what's requested by the community.
That means if you use PixelFork and think that you're missing something, drop us a line. We'll see what we can do to make PixelFork a better project for you.
We've already achieved a lot, even before we started, but that isn't what makes us different from PixelFed. It makes PixelFed better.
Everyone wanted a federated timeline, that timeline which shows everything from all instanced at Mastodon which PixelFork is compatible with. You can discover new users from there.
Dozens of PixelFed users requested this feature, but the developer always says he doesn't like that and would never ever implement it.
At the very beginning of our project we announced that we will add a federated timeline and guess what - only a few days later the federated timeline arrived at PixelFed.
But the problem what caused us to create this fork is still here and still needs to be removed.
It's the insights/analytics feature which was announced some months ago. It has the goal to bringing influencers, businesses and brands into the fediverse.
Dansup states that he does that with privacy in mind but you don't believe that,right? Tracking CAN NEVER be done with privacy in mind. Yes,there are really evil trackers and some which don't track that much but they're made to track and that's what they do - and that's ALWAYS agains your privacy.
Our answer: We do not need (mercenary) influencers, we don't need businesses and we do not need brands with their ads!
We'll delete that feature and - if the original dev is successful with his software - we'll integrate a blocker that removes those ads from the timelines if they should federate.
The free networks must keep the users first without advertisement spam, but content from people for people.
Another bad thing is the pro subscriptions feature.
You must pay for using free software in a free network - what the hell?!
You get some storage for free, you can upload your stuff there. Then the storage is full and you have to delete old pictures or you can't use a free and open social network anymore. Of course you could pay, but in our opinion that's not free anymore.
Please think about this.
While there are way too much things which shouldn't be done in PixelFed, the things really important features will never get finished.
That there is no federation at the moment doesn't make sense. It can't be called a federated software if everything else is more important than federation...
Another important feature we miss and will be fixed by us it MariaDB support.
MariaDB is a MySQL replacement which is almost 99% compatible. It is the standard in most linux distributions.
We'll also try to remove some dependencies to make it easier and cheaper to run your own instance, because if there's only one flagship,we really don't need federation!
At the end it should be possible to run PixelFork on a normal webhosting space,no own servers needed anymore.
There's another great and big thing we'll add but that will be a surprise - no further information yet. We don't need another theft of our ideas ;-)
And there will be even more which we don't know ourselves today.

Closing thoughts


This was just a relatively short overview of our biggest plans for the future. It should also be a answer to the question: Why are you doing this?!
If you have any ideas, questions, wishes or want to tell us anything else,do it!
You can use the blog comments, write to @pixelfork@social.avareborn.de on Mastodon or use our NotABug Issues.

PixelFork's goals in summary:
  • Users first
  • MariaDB compatibility
  • No ads
  • No pro accounts
  • No analytics and tracking
  • More openness
  • Runs on webhosting

Our team


5.10.18 18:53


Halcyon 2.1.0 - Introducing lists and more

First of all thank you very much for going this interesting way with us!
It has been about a half year since we've announced our first new Halcyon version to be online and in the meantime we went always further towards our goal of a fully featured Mastodon client.
With this release - a half year after it all began - we introduced a feature which brought us nearer to our goal than always before.
Let's switch over to the technical details.
We introduced full support for Mastodons lists feature.
Lists allow you to organize a selection of people in a special timeline to prevent messing up your home timeline and still don't miss anything.
Lists can be created,deleted,viewed and members can be added and deleted.
Mastodon had this feature for quite a while and many other clients have supported it for a long time,even if not completely sometimes.
For example with Pinafore you can view lists but not modify them in any way.
We aim to make the default Mastodon webclient obsolete so it was clear that we have to support modifying lists,too - And we did it.
You can work with lists in a similar way you know from the Mastodon webclient on the Lists page but another thing you can do here is adding people to a list directly from within a timeline in the menu where you can mute,block,...
If you don't follow that person already and your server requires that (Mastodon doesn,Pleroma doesn't),you'll be asked if you want to follow and if you click yes,you follow that person and automatically add him/her to the selected list.
Lists work in the easiest way you can imagine here,don't they?
Another thing we changed is that there is a direct messages timeline now in your profile dropdown (click on your avatar in the header nav) and direct messages are filtered out of your home timeline now.
By the way: Starting today you can help us translating the new words which have been added after 2.0.0 here: Halcyon 2.1.0 on Zanata
Enough of the new stuff,let's go back a step in the recent history (what happened between 2.0.0 and 2.1.0)
We fixed many small bugs and optimized the code in version 2.0.1 which was mainly a bugfix release.
Additionally we added the languages Polish,Japanese and Korean in 2.0.1 and Galician in 2.0.2.
There's still much to do to give Halcyon the native language of all people in the world but we're making a big progress.
At the beginning we didn't expect Halcyon to become only half as popular as it is today.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed in any way,we wouldn't be at this point without you!
The most important thing we changed in 2.0.2 is the new dark theme.
There were so many people who wrote this wish at Mastodon and in the NotABug issues but it's much work so we couldn't implement that ourselves that fast.
Luckily there was a nice contributor who wrote the dark theme and sent it to us using a pull request.
The dark theme is something what people seem to love.
For the instance admins we created new documentation pages which show the steps to install and configure Halcyon correctly and also some well-known bugs and how to fix them.
You can find the new documentation in our NotABug Wiki
If you want to support Halcyon,you can do that on our Liberapay profile now.
Enough for now,this time we won't announce any future things because there are so many announced features which still haven't been implemented.
As always we're happy to get responses from you.
Tell us why you like Halcyon,what you don't like,which features you want to have or anything else what you want to tell us.
You can use the comments section below this post,our Mastodon profile or our NotABug issues page
Thanks for reading,have a nice day!
30.9.18 14:00


Halcyon 2.0.0 - The biggest changes in detail

With Halcyon version 2.0.0 we released the first very big update.
The really important thing is that we finally released support for multiple languages.
That was very much work but many users wanted it and we believe that it makes Halcyon much easier for people who don't speak English that good.
We hope many people will participate at Zanata to translate Halcyon into many other languages.
Support for German and Brazilian Portuguese has already been finished and that are the first languages to come in Halcyon.
You can translate into other languages here: Translate Halcyon at Zanata
Important notice for instance admins with root access to the server
Please make sure that the locales of the supported languages (currently en_US.de_DE and pt_BR) are enabled on your system or they can't be used in Halcyon.
If you don't have root access on the server,there's nothing you can do about it and the languages on your Halcyon instance are limited to what your hoster has enabled.
Instance admin notice end
Another thing we did with 2.0.0 was removing all the CDN connections.
All javascript and CSS files are now shipped in the Halcyon repository and loaded directly from your Halcyon instance,the emojis are loaded from the Mastodon/Pleroma instance where you're logged in.
From the previous announcement we've implemented the better who to follow page with more recommendations in version 1.2.1 and the emojipicker with version 1.2.2.
The next things to come are custom profile fields,supports for lists and support for list filters.
And hopefully very much more in the next weeks.
We hope you like what we did,we put very much work in it and as always we're happy about feedback.
You can use the comments section,our contact form (see sidebar) or write to @halcyon@social.csswg.org on Mastodon or Pleroma.
4.8.18 15:27


Halcyon 1.2.0 - The next big step and a view into future

We've released Halcyon 1.2.0 a few days ago!
It has been months since we released Halcyon 1.1.0 and we did much within that time.
We released many patch releases for fixing bugs or implementing smaller features.
Desktop notifications which were announced by our 1.1.0 blog post have already been around since Halcyon 1.1.4.
Another big step was optimizing the Pleroma compatibility as much as you don't feel the difference between a Mastodon and Pleroma backend anymore if you use Halcyon.
With the 1.2.0 release we added another thing we've already announced in our previous blog post.
You can now change your profile settings in our completely redesigned settings menu which also got some new Halcyon settings.
We want you to be able to do everything within Halcyon without needing the Mastodon frontend.
Only if that's possible Halcyon is really complete.
Well,there are still many things missing until we achieve this goal and there will come even more as Mastodon doesn't stop implementing new features which Halcyon needs,too.
But I think we're on a good way to make Halcyon more useful with every release.
Unluckily we still don't have a dark theme,a mobile version,support for multiple accounts and translations.
These features require very much time and work which we currently prefer to use for implementing many smaller features.
An emoji picker isn't available currently,too but that will come sooner than the other big things.
An short look into the future of Halcyon:

  • Implement all things we announced in the last post
  • Custom profile fields
  • Trending hashtags
  • Full mute and block management
  • Larger who to follow page
  • And much more
We hope you like what we did and are happy with our plans.
If you have any feedback,please let us know in the comments,NotABug issues (please don't use our Github repo anymore!) or using Mastodon or Pleroma to @halcyon@social.csswg.org
You can download Halcyon for free at NotABug: halcyon-suite/halcyon
By the way our network grew extremely.
We do now have many instances which you can all use for free and without tracking our ads.
Please consider donating to your instance admin if they accept donations.
They give it to you for free but servers are expensive!
Here are the instances which are currently available (that may change over time,our NotABug repository does always contain the current list):
16.6.18 16:12


Our move from Github to NotABug

Some days ago Microsoft announced that they'll buy Github,the worlds leading developer platform.
Microsoft has already bought many things - and changed them to worse.
We believe that the same thing will happen with Github and well,there are actually many coders changing their platform or at least announcing to do so.
As one of the first we really did it and we didn't only change to the next centralized closed source platform like most others did.
We decided for the open alternative - We decided for the non commercial way - We decided for privacy,for trust and against ads and tracking.
When I wrote my announcement at Mastodon I first thought there'll be many people raging against us and complaining about having to change their platform.
But actually nothing of that happened: We received 13 likes,13 boosts,some new followers and not a single complaint.
This community is great!
We consider this change as the first step into an even more open world and we hope many coders will change,too.
Thank you for your support!
Our new repository is on notabug.org/halcyon-suite/halcyon

Roadmap

We haven't planned disappearing from Github at all.
Starting with version 1.2.0 new releases will be available only on NotABug.
Instead we will disable the community functions step by step while leaving an unmaintained mirror at the end.
Today we will close all open issues and write them an notice our change while solving the issues in the new repository and keeping them in our todo list.
10 days after that we will completely disable the Github issues function for this repository.
The old repository will stay online to prevent people from creating fakes under our well-known link but we will put it into read-only mode without any future changes.

If you want to share your opinion about that, you can do so using the blog comments or write an Mastodon/Pleroma post to @halcyon@social.csswg.org
16.6.18 15:50


Halcyon - What we did and what we will do

We're happy to annouce that we've just released Halcyon version 1.1.0!
It's not an aprils fool,it's our easter egg for you!
That's a very big step as this release is much more then just a bugfix.
We did much to come to this point and fixed many bugs in Halcyon with minor versions but don't forget that Mastodon often gets new features and Halcyon needs them,too.
So we've just implemented the things we think you missed most in the past.
Custom Emojis are now in Halcyon starting at version 1.1.0!
They are fully supported now without any limitations or known issues.
An emoji picker isn't yet available but it's planned that one will come with a future version.
While most Mastodon instances use the standard char limit of 500 chars for a toot,Pleroma is also compatible with Halcyon and often has different limits.
So if you're using Halcyon with an instance which allows a custom toot length,Halcyon does now also allow that and automatically detects your instances limit.
If your instance doesn't send an custom limit over the /instance API call,Halcyon will allow you to use the default limit of 500 chars.
Another change in this version is that Halcyon instance admins do now have the possibility to change the terms of service by changing the terms.txt file with support for HTML formatting but without the need for HTML knowledge.
You can use HTML there but you needn't to say it in simple words.
Modifying the login/terms.php file is not needed anymore.
While the previous Halcyon version finally solved the weird Who to follow suggestions,it also had a new bug because of that which required you to reload the page after the login for the toots to load.
That bug has been solved now and the toots should load fine directly after the login.
But is that everything you want Halcyon to do?
Surely not and that's why we've already had a very big list of upcoming features from the beginning of this project and now we'll make a short list of the most important ones of them:

  • Mobile design that makes Halcyon usable in every phone browser
  • Dark design for both desktop and mobile
  • Support for multiple accounts at the same time - switch between them with a single click
  • Desktop notifications which are also visible when you're in another tab or window and appear when you get a new notification
  • Support for translations - use Halcyon in your own language
  • An emoji picker for selecting the custom emojis of your instance
  • Edit your profile settings using Halcyon
We hope you're happy with what we're doing.
If you have additional ideas or thoughts about our plans,please write them into the comments,create an Github issue or write us a toot to @halcyon@social.csswg.org
You can download Halcyon for free at Github: halcyon-suite/halcyon
Or you can use it for free on one of two publicly available instances: halcyon.toromino.de social.dev-wiki.de
1.4.18 19:08


The first new Halcyon release is on Github

It has been two weeks now since we took over the Halcyon client for Mastodon.
The original developer hasn't done anything new with it for months.
Two weeks ago,he deleted the original Github repository and took the official demo instance down.
We didn't want to let the best,easiest and most beautiful client for the worlds best social network die.
That's why we recovered Halcyon from a fork,reopened the original Github repository and uploaded the original source code.
That all was two weeks ago but we also said that we want to continue this great project and create future updates.
Today we released Halcyon version 1.0.0 which doesn't bring any new features or bugfixes.
It's the base of every upcoming Halcyon release where we changed all files to our own code style to make future updates easier.
We also removed the need for a MySQL database because it was used so few that it can be also done with text files what makes installation faster and easier and requires less programs installed on the server.
Sure,you're waiting for new features and less bugs but the most important thing was updating the code base to make that possible in future.
There are already very many things on our ToDo list,so stay tuned.
Probably we will publish a list of planned features in future but not today.
You can download the source code for free at Github.
You can also use it online for free at halcyon.cybre.space but please note that we don't own this instance,have no control over it and don't know if the administrator will install our updates.
11.3.18 11:32


Our new forum is online

Two days ago we brought the new inofficial German Deepin community online.
We worked some weeks at this forum with the goal to create something unique which doesn't look like thousands of other forums do, too.
Now we think we have archived this goal because our forum is different like all our services are.
The feedback at the official English Deepin forum was very positive.
We hope we can give users of this great operating system answers to their questions in German in future.
Additionally to this forum we will also put the link to our German Chromebook community at our homepage.
This was started as a hobby project first with the intention to have an quick and dirty alternative to the only other German Chromebook forum which was seen by some spammers.
Now we will have both forums as normal services, not just hobby projects.
Deepin forum: www.deepin-forum.de
Chromebook forum: chromeos-forum.forumieren.de
6.1.18 19:19


Happy new year!

We wish you all a happy new year 2018!
In 2017 we did many new things.
We published YouFail on which we started working in 2016 and we published a completely new overview page.
The next thing to come at the beginning of 2018 will be an inofficial German forum for Deepin linux.
Don't worry if you speak another language,we didn't forget you.
The official Deepin forum is English and there already are some inofficial ones in other languages so it wouldn't make much sense to open another one for them.
But our new bigger services will definitely come international as always.
The first international thing to come is our new account system but at the beginning,you can't do anything with that account.
After that the completely rebuilt Sites will come and that's what you need the account for.
That's all for now!
We already have a list of other planned things but it's not sure that all of them will be realized and how long that all takes so we will keep the secret a little bit longer.
Now have a nice year!
1.1.18 18:35


Our new website is now online!

We've now already managed a big part of recreating ourself.
The new Nikisoft site is now online at www.nikisoft.one .
We're very happy to announce this.
The next step will be the complete recreation of the Nikisoft Pages admin panel and some updates to the client side too.
It will be easier with more functions and it will get a completely new design.
Most things will be done with AJAX in the admin panel so it will be much faster.
We can't provide a release date for now but we will work hard at it.
4.8.17 10:09


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