Evolution 2 - Migrate the platform

The second thread of the evolution programme is to migrate the BigBlue Button platform to a new host coop - a set of technical issues. This thread below contains the brief, job list, actions log and discussion.

Background and overall project notes are here Evolution of meet.coop - Background and framework. This thread has parallel threads:

Brief - Migrate the platform

Tech circle in meet. coop should not undertake non-routine commitments during the migration, in order to be able to support discussions and hands-on learning with tech teams in other coops. Hence:

  • Freeze the service @ plain vanilla rooms - As of now
  • Write sysadmin one-page ops guide - during February 2023. Done: `Nextcloud

The tech team of the new host coop should be able to sustainably support BigBlueButton alongside their existing software.

  • Share info & ops tasks hands-on w new tech team(s) Here

Migrating the platform needs to be carefully coordinated with migrating existing members’ accounts and their awareness of the timeframe and implications. Hence, in this job list:

  • Agree, plan and carry out platform migration

and in the Migrate members job list:

  • Migrate members’ account data
  • Migrate members’ files @ Greenlight (recordings)

Evolution 2 - Job list

  • Write a brief - above
  • Open job list & logbook - here!
  • Open public forum thread - here!
  • Publish & discuss @ forum - started 06feb2023, here
  • Freeze the service @ plain vanilla rooms - as of now.
  • Write sysadmin one-page guide - during feb 2023. Done Nextcloud
  • Share info & ops tasks w new tech team(s)
  • Agree & plan platform migration

For starters, here’s the description of the admin setup on the meet.coop BBB platform (and associated back-office tools): Nextcloud

@Yurko @dvdjaco @elon is there any talk yet, of coworking with social.coop admins, to assess issues or timeframes for possible migration of our BBB setup to their admin regime?

Of course social.coop (social.coop admins) may yet decide for various reasons not to become the new mother of our BBB instance. But it will be great to have these kinds of isues out in an open thread, where others in the admin world might weigh things up or contribute. If another host coop appears later, this back-story can be of assistance to them in achieving migration of our platform? @mnoyes @edsu @akshay @EduMerco (sorry @flancian isn’t here).

Maybe somebody might open a parallel thread, on a topic something like ‘Complexity, practicality and security of sysadmin regimes when federating or migrating’. Complexity = the division of attention or headspace (of admins) + division of labour (across host organisations, across devs; in production, in development). Practicality = scripts, protocols & operational regimes used on Instance A compared with Instance B. Security = vulnerabilities of SSO when used across platforms + trust of coop A for data or admin routines accessible to coop B + national data protection legal requirement.

In such a thread I’ve a hunch @petter have some thoughts-in-progress to offer, on a need to concentrate sysadmin resources and/or work contributions, under federation between coops. Maybe also to concentrate the apps in the toolstack on a select subset (maybe not, maybe plural toolstacks in the federation)? @osb has an interest in this too. Perhaps also @anarcat

In my experience with the social.coop TWG we already seem to have challenges sustaining attention to our Mastodon and Wiki. Not knowing more about why MeetCoop is deciding to shut it down, I can only assume that BBB is putting some support strain on MeetCoop? I think SocialCoop have gotten good use out of Jitsi through our May First membership, and while it is sad to see MeetCoop getting shut down, perhaps there are lessons there for perhaps not continuing to try to support BBB this way?

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Not quite sure how to interpret this @edsu ? meet.coop is BBB, so supporting that instance is at the centre of the work we need to do. Like Mastodon, in social.coop - a ‘one tool platform’ (although we all discover that ‘ancilliary’ tools like Loomio/Discourse/wiki turn out to be basic too).

Here’s my personal take on where we’re at with this . .

Contribution economy @ meet.coop

The ‘support strain’ in meet.coop is simply that we’re unable to sustain the amount of hours of focused contribution from Ops members, that we need to run effectively (in either back-end platform work, front-end member-relations work or outreach community-education work). That’s bcos volunteer work (aka sweat equity) isn’t infinitely available, and meet.coop competes for mental bandwidth with the other commitments that Ops members have, in the more-or-less precarious gig economy. meet.coop is a 2nd (or 3rd) ‘job’ for all our Ops members. Paying a fair wage for hours contributed (aka livelihood work) has always been a basic intention in meet.coop as a platform-service coop, as distinct from the ‘gift work’ culture that sustains, say, social.coop or MayFirst as ‘movement’ organisations.

lessons there for perhaps not continuing to try to support BBB this way

Our project was/is exactly this: to support core free software tools infrastructure with paid work funded by User members’ financial contributions, thro a coop membership-subscription framework. We believe(d) that although free-libre gift work in the FLOSS community has done good things (and ‘volunteer’ work continues to be the basis of most civil society organising - as distinct from grant funding of non-profits and NGOs, for example), it can’t be taken as a basis for endless continuation of what have nowadays become basic infrastructures and systems of oppositional power. Somebody needs to get paid, to keep the lights on?

Figuring out the balance (and the practical working relationship) between livelihood work and gift work in the commons, is one of the thing at the centre of what we’re continuing to attempt to do, as we evolve from meet.coop 1.0 to some new infrastructure regime . . perhaps, via federation across coops (some of which have mostly-paid workers, and some of which don’t). This ain’t simple. But we believe it matters a lot, to grapple with this challenge of political economy, in the sphere of digital infrastructure.

Does that feel like a response to what you were querying @edsu ? Or am I at a tangent somehow?

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Thanks Mike. SocialCoop operations work is all pro-bono at the moment. Maybe it has been different in the past, but it’s completely volunteer. I think it’s an interesting idea to try to bring more structure and financial support to members of SocialCoop who are doing work. I think it would perhaps have a side effect of making people more accountable to getting particular things done. For example the work to redesign the wiki has been languishing because it’s all being done on a volunteer basis, with very little planning. I don’t think SocialCoop is currently set up to take on maintaining a BBB instance. But perhaps I’m wrong. I think it’s an important discussion to be having!

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Community Bridge & meet .coop

@freescholar and @mnoyes discussed the possibility that Community Bridge might adopt the meet. coop BBB service Evolution 1 - Find a new home - #33 by mnoyes Sounds exciting thanks :slight_smile:

Let’s pick up tech-level exchange here, about migrating a BBB instance? How does CB tech team view the description of meet. coop sysadmin regime here Nextcloud . Is it like the existing CB regime?
@dvdjaco @Yurko @EduMerco

The meet. coop @evolution team is discussing options for migrating our BBB platform, with @gcotnoir at WebTV, Montreal. See Evolution 1 - Find a new home - #37 by mikemh

There’s a note on the two options being discussed: Nextcloud and this includes some points on sysadmin, server migration, data privacy, etc, under ‘Appendix: Operational items’ . Do check these out and comment here as appropriate? @chris Webarchitects is referred to, as the hoster of our back-office stack and some of our user-facing tools. Do have a look and comment?