"low tech" design principles



A relevant topic, I think! How to challenge this logic of digital overconsumption within our sphere of influence!

There was also a nice discussion about the “Ethics of web performance” over at https://we.lurk.org/hyperkitty/list/hbsc@we.lurk.org/thread/UAS737CL553JHPSGR4XNI3LWMUUPSAIK/.

When a lot of us are beneftting from “the master’s tools” such as k8s and the like, we have to question what assumptions these tools make about digital consumption. Do current orchestration tools (and other infrastructure tooling) increasingly rely on limitless resources?

Maybe some of you are already thinking/doing something in this regard and I’d like to hear!



This is a very important topic, which I think deserves way too little attention in the hosters community. We are of course now focusing on getting things running with the human resource being most of the times the limiting factor - so we like to do automation (and also of course, try new tech).

I would be very interest in looking especially at comparisons of energy and resource use - both from theoretical and practical point of view - of different hosting technologies: k8s, docker, lxc, VMs, baremetal, low-tech stuff like raspberry pi, centralized vs decentralized architectures, etc. But also maybe on applications and stacks (if we all would develop well written applications in C, we would probably be more performant - but at what expense?).

A few years ago I wrote an article for an online publication, which eventually ended in a German (and forthcoming English) book, on the relation between the Free Software Movement and Degrowth. It touches some of these aspects of digital (over)consumption (my critique there is going mostly towards the blockchain crypto-utopians, but much of it could be applied elsewhere). You can find it here and if you want to reuse and extend the source, you can grab it from the github repo.

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I was also amazed by solar version of low tech magazine. After reading that, we kind of started a crowdfunding there for solar powered email servers: https://ecoho.st (sorry in French).
We didn’t put that much energy yet, but I have to admit it changed a bit my vision on what I want to bring to people with indie.host.

I want to use this project for experimentation with business models (donation based), static hosting and what I’d call radical low tech (like shutting down email server at night.

Thinking about it, there are 2 parts to optimise, the client and the server.

On the server side, we should use compiled language, of course, and static HTML wherever possible. Avoid heavy css and js ( also for the client) use better compression (video, image, text).

On the client, maybe syncing 3 times a day is enough, no more push notifications (which are damaging our brains anyway).

You also realize that CLIs are better than UIs. Take git for instance :slight_smile:

The most complicated part is for the user to be more “frugal” I’d say, to be less instant. Is a pad really good for environment, is it really necessary to collaborate that instantly? (I love codimd and chats).

Backups are also good candidate to be running on solar powered servers, you usually need them only once a day.

About data replication, for me, it is always like, I’ll add one more redundancy to spare my time. For instance, for backups, I could have just one disk. But when this disk fails, it is annoying, I have to resetup everything…

So yes, I’m definitely interested in this field :slight_smile:

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