Disroot is a project based in Amsterdam which is maintained by volunteers and depends on the support of its community.
We originally created Disroot out of personal need, we were looking for software we could use to communicate, share and organize within our circles. Most of the available solutions were missing the key elements that we find important; Our tools should be open, decentralized, federated and respectful towards freedom and privacy.
While searching for such tools, we found some really interesting projects, projects that we believe should be available to anyone who values similar principals. We therefore decided to bundle some applications together and share them with others. This is how Disroot got started.
By running Disroot we hope to change how people typically interact on the web. We want to encourage people to break free of the walled gardens of popular software and turn to open and ethical alternatives, may it be on our platform or on another (or you could even host your own).
Together we can form a network that is truly independent, focused on the benefit of the people rather than the exploitation thereof.
Federation and Decentralization
Most internet services are run from centralized point owned and run by corporations. These store private data of their users and analyze it using advanced algorithms in order to create accurate profiles of their 'users'. This information is often used to exploit the people for the sake of advertisers. Information can also be obtained by governmental institutions or by malicious hackers. Data can be removed without warning due to dubious reasons or regional censorship policies.
A decentralized service can reside on multiple machines, owned by different individuals, companies or organization. With federation protocols those instances can interact and form one network of many nodes (servers hosting similar services). One might be able to shut down one node but never the entire network. In such a setup censorship is practically impossible.
Think of how we use E-mail; you can choose any service provider or set up your own, and still exchange emails with people using another email provider. E-mail is built upon a decentralized and federated protocol.
These two principals, together, sets up the backdrop for a huge network that depends on a rather simple infrastructure and relatively low costs. Any machine can become a server and be an equal participant in the network. From a small desktop computer at your home to a dedicated server or racks with multiple servers. This approach provides the possibility to create the biggest user owned global network - just as the Internet was intended to be.
We do not wish for Disroot to become one centralized entity but rather a part of a larger community - one node out of many. We hope others will be inspired to create more projects with similar intentions.
Software can be created and shaped into anything. Every button, every color and every link that we see and use on the web was put there by someone. When we use the applications provided for us, we mostly don't see - and sometimes don't care about - much of what happens behind the interface we use. We connect with other people, we store our files, organize meetings and festivals, send emails or chat for hours and it all happens magically. In the last few decades information has become very valuable and more and more easy to collect and process. We are accustomed to being analyzed, blindly accepting terms and conditions for "our own good", trusting authorities and multi-billion dollar companies to protect our interest, while all along we are the product in their 'people farms'.
Own your own data: Many networks use your data to make money by analyzing your interactions and using this information to advertise things to you. Disroot doesn't use your data for any purpose other than allowing you to connect and use the service. Your files on the cloud are encrypted with your user password, every bin-paste and file uploaded on Lufi service is client side encrypted too, meaning that even server administrators have no access to your data. Whenever there is a possibility for encryption, we enable it and if it's not possible, we advice to use external encryption software. The less we, as admins, know about your data, the better :D. (Tip of the day: Never lose your password!) Check this tutorial
Transparency and openness
At Disroot we use 100% free and open source software. This means that the source code (the way the software operates) is publicly accessible. Anyone is able to contribute improvements or adjustments to the software and it can be audited and controlled at any moment - no hidden back-doors or other malicious malware.
We want to be fully transparent and open towards people using our services and therefor we publish information about the current state of the project, the financial status, our plans and ideas. We would also like to hear your suggestions and feedback so we can deliver the best experience possible to all Disrooters.