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What 2023 will bring for PeerTube (joinpeertube.org)
260 points by booteille 49 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 87 comments

As a Brit I love the idea of a video service just for the titled and ennobled.

May I ask - do the non-peers get any access at all? Even perhaps as a degraded, low resolution service? If so, I'd like to know where to register my disapproval.

If you do not wish to watch videos of fox hunting, Mayfair house parties and Etonian high jinks, then commons-tube is for you.

These days, a Lords-oriented tube site would actually be full of videos on how to raise money for friends and family without attracting scrutiny, or to sycophant your way to the top of a political party - the primary qualifications of modern peers.

Sir, I believe it is called “RubeTube”.

Don't forget the Boat Race and Royal Ascot. I just hope they won't let the likes of John Oliver onto PeerTube.

He's over on SneerTube.

Spectacular. Also, if you are a Lord, the resolution is 1080p, from there it gets scaled up so Viscount, Earl etc up to you have to be a Duke or minor royal to get 4k.

Audio could be auto dubbed into received pronunciation and any food onscreen automatically replaced by deepfaked cucumber sandwiches.

When Simon Cowell on Britain’s Got Talent used to ask “peers, what do you think?” I thought he was asking his fellow judges. But no! He was asking Piers Morgan!

No peasants allowed, for sure.

Fox hunts are paywalled, though.

Life is paywalled, dear chap.

Finally, I love that they've created https://peer.tube/ to showcase good content on PeerTube. Discoverability has been quite a challenge.

Also, remote transcoding of videos seems like a huge win! Makes it so you won't need as beefy as a system to run PeerTube.

I wonder why FOSDEM doesn't use PeerTube to host their videos.

Cool, I hope they keep it "safe for play store review". I have had to run my own server in order to get the client[1] I wrote to pass play store reviews.

[1] https://github.com/sschueller/peertube-android

> Also, remote transcoding of videos seems like a huge win! Makes it so you won't need as beefy as a system to run PeerTube.

You can technically do it if you're willing to hack around. Since it uses the ffmpeg binary you could technically replace it with rffmpeg[1], the setup isn't pretty but it's doable. I haven't done it myself but have seen reddit posts on the jellyfin community that it works pretty well once setup.

[1] https://github.com/joshuaboniface/rffmpeg

> I wonder why FOSDEM doesn't use PeerTube to host their videos.

I didn’t watch any of their videos yet this year, but perhaps the thing they are using to host their videos is something they have built on their own, before PeerTube even existed? And so if what they have works then that’s a good reason to stick to using that.

This guy has implemented a mind-boggling amount of features in these years basically all alone and funded with a modest tech salary.

Just goes to show how much potential small teams or even individuals have that gets wasted in big corpos.

It also shows how the web (and technology in general) would be a lot better for us if we decided to support these people just a little bit, instead of letting ourselves be exploited by Big Tech in exchange of "free" stuff.

It also shows how the web (and technology in general) would be a lot more better for us if we decided to support these people just a little bit, instead of letting ourselves be exploited by Big Tech in exchange of "free" stuff.

The biggest issue with Peertube/Youtube is related to creators and how they get paid for content they create.

Youtube has an avenue for that to happen, and Peertube doesn't, or at least in a way that works.

Unless Peertube wants to just be "the place you host your videos from other platforms as a backup" something would have to be done.

How many YouTubers, as a percentage of total users, actually get paid a living wage by doing work on YouTube? I'd assume that it's not many.

The ones that do aren't surviving on YouTube ad revenue alone since the adpocalypse. They're doing so based on ad reads and crowdfunding, both of which work on Peertube just fine.

The only thing keeping them on YouTube is audience reach.

It's a very large ocean at this point, so while the percentages are small -- the number is quite large.

Youtube of ~15 years ago was mostly just Joe Randoms making videos to amuse themselves or others, not trying to make a career out of it. The videos were less polished but also less soulless. This sort of content could thrive on peertube, they don't have to win over the "influence career" people.

This sort of content could thrive on peertube, they don't have to win over the "influence career" people.

But this isn't 15 years ago. There wasn't a huge player in this space when Youtube was getting started, but now there is. And now people know it's theoretically possible to make decent money creating content.

The way to solve this, much like the way to solve R&D for open source, is to educate consumers to pay to creators and to eschew ad-funded business.

"Educate" means to transfer skills and information, not to increase the likelihood that people behave in a certain way. The value-neutral term for the latter is "influence".

I'm a bit glib here, but the distinction is actually important. The ad industry, in particular, tends to use "educate" when it means "influence."

I do believe though that it is a matter of education. The absolute majority of people have no idea how the sausage of social media content is made.

Has that ever worked?

On what scale are you talking about?

There are certainly plenty of stories of people who produce content funded directly by their audience, but none of them to match the money made by the top Youtubers.

Yes. This almost makes you giggle with excitement about what sort of potential has accumulated around web technologies when used creatively and with purpose.

Self-hosting is still not quite as easy as it could have been, though.

While extremely impressive, we shouldn't forget the support that Framasoft provides him, and that he's building upon WebTorrent software and Fediverse protocols.

I feel like this relates right back to the recent wave of layoffs.

As always the French locale means there is a bit of language barrier for the English speaking world, but framasoft supports a whole host of interesting "fediverse" projects. I would maybe single out mobilizon [0] as most intriguing. It is "simply" about communities organizing events in a decentralized way.

[0] https://mobilizon.fr/

Humm, I can't see a thing that is not translated to at least english. Not sure about the language barrier.

once you start digging into frama forums, repos etc its a more colorful picture. To be clear, I am not complaining: steamrolling the world into a monoculture is not my idea of a good online society, just saying that the impact of some open source organizations like framasoft on tech might have been higher had there not been a linguistic friction to overcome.

"Impact on tech" doesn't just mean "impact on Silicon Valley". Framasoft has been plenty influential in Europe, and a decent chunk of that has been because they're not just another anglophonic "international" (United States) software house.

I am with you, but some humility on the face of current tech reality won't hurt, it might just help identify structural obstacles and how to overcome them. E.g., we are exchanging those views on a "Silicon Valley" platform - if there ever was one. There is nothing remotely equivalent to HN in Europe, primarily (I think) because of linguistic frictions.

Nice seeing this on the top of HN, lucky timing, I was just browsing code/blogposts etc last night and ended up donating €30. I've been toying with the software and I've been pretty impressed.

I'd like to see an invite-based signup option like Mastodon, but other than that, it's a nice roadmap!

Edit: Created an idea post: https://ideas.joinpeertube.org/posts/139/invite-links-to-cre...

I'm wondering how they plan to get decent content. I just searched two of my interests, climbing and canoeing, and only a handful of uninteresting videos popped up. Are there specific topics that have engaging communities on the site?

Just like YouTube most content is crap. Maybe the bigger problem is that searching on any one instance will only search a small subset of the content available.

But it is mostly a discovery problem. Once you have found a channel that you like it is easy to follow via RSS or ActivityPub. I would love to see discovery services built on top of PeerTube, it seems natural to separate the viewing infrastructure from the recommendation service.

Quality is a function of effort. Effort has a cost. The typical cost for high quality is high effort.

A content creator producing quality content has spent a lot of money in order to produce the high quality content. How much? Estimates from YouTube creators who are currently in the top creators get us numbers like $25,000-$1,000,000 per video. If they do not reliably make more than that much from trying to produce at that quality, they cannot survive while doing so.

So a larger problem than content discovery is that by default people producing quality content will die.

Just like YouTube most content is crap.

There is a huge difference between "there is lots of crap content to wade through to get to the good content" and "I can't find content that isn't crap". My foray into Peertube over the years is that the latter is much closer than the former.

You can also use https://sepiasearch.org/ to find content across most instances.

> Just like YouTube most content is crap.

Well, most of everything in the Universe is “crap.” But, to each their own, and I find YouTube to be a treasure trove of educational content, among other things.

Based on the Mastodon experience (very quiet outside of small niches until mid last year) you'll probably have to wait til Youtube self-destructs.

It's different. Most people on Twitter are there to promote their ideas and themselves, not get paid. So free syndication is fine for them. Most popular/quality YouTube content is there because the creator wants to get paid, not to spread their ideas.

… I mean, I think 99.99% of people are on twitter to have fun, not promote themselves. (Also some of the remainder are on twitter specifically to moan about bad customer service; it’s surprising how many accounts you we apparently used solely for this).

Similarly, most people on YouTube are not expecting to strike it big with videos of their cat, or their hobby project, or whatever.

Much of the content I watch on YouTube consists of obscure music videos where nobody is getting paid (or maybe they have a Patreon), but having someone else host your videos for free is still a pretty good deal.

That's like asking how Signal plans on getting nice people to talk to. Peertube is just a self-hosted platform that allows for bandwidth-efficient video sharing, it's up to the single instance owners to care about publicizing their stuff.

Publicizing isn't the challenge. Monetizing is.

I understand your point, but it's worth pointing out that for many of us, "difficult to monetize" is a feature, not a bug.

It's open source. You could put Google Adsense API calls in every nook and cranny of the platform if you like. Or any other ad provider, for the matter

But then what's the point anymore?

The point of what? The point of PeerTube is to leverage the p2p nature of torrents to allow people to host video-sharing platforms for a fraction of the cost. If you want to monetize your instance then why not?

Ok I thought the idea was to avoid Google's espionage. Once you start monetizing you will get all that right back.

What's the point of self hosting if you still need Google?

Why Google? I explicitely said you could embed any ad provider ( or even use your own personal method for distributing ads).

Maybe you don't like that, but that's what software freedom looks like

Why do you think that monetizing is more of a challenge when you own the platform that you publish on?

What is that screenshot of ‘Morning Affairs’ to ‘Embark’ meant to show?

Related, that’s probably not the best picture to show if they’re going for mainstream acceptance. I suspect it’s probably a pretty sedate video actually, so the author of the post just didn’t think about how it looked, but just choosing something with less apparent nakedness would probably give a better first impression if PeerTube is going for a widespread audience.

I have one problem with PeerTube: its P2P architecture makes the users legally liable for the content they're watching, because they aren't just watching, they are also automatically sharing it.

Of course, Torrent has the same problem but I think in that case people are more aware of it.

It's already happening with fascist propaganda: https://joinpeertube.org/news/isd-study

The fundamental benefit of Youtube is that it is perhaps the only social media platform, along with Instagram and Onlyfans, that has figured out how to create an ecosystem where creators are sufficiently compensated in a way that sustains careers.

The problem here was only ever partly technological, and the rest is a business problem. On one end, you have the ability of Youtube to store huge amounts of video, transcode it, and then serve it to basically every corner of the globe, eating up significant portions of global bandwidth doing so, all with incredibly low tail latency (load up random 0-view videos and they still load quickly).

On the other, you have creators actually getting paid. Yes, they're not paid very much, and yes there are endless issues with advertisers getting unhappy or creators complaining about content policy, but by and large it's sustained an incredibly diverse ecosystem of people making videos because enough people watch them to make it a living. That's not to add the embedded advertising that usually pays much more than YT's own ads.

Any platform that wants to compete must solve all these problems simultaneously: can you serve video at global scale, not go bankrupt doing it, and split enough of your money video creators that they actually want to host their videos with you.

The problem is as much with the business model as it is technological, and anybody that tries to build a better youtube just by throwing code at the problem is doomed to fail.

And then after you have all of that you still end up with the network effect: YT has all the users and all the video, and it's a self-reinforcing system where one begets the other.

In a very odd way, I almost want Youtube to screw up something big to shine some light here, a la Twitter/Mastodon. Get these things rolling!

Youtube semi-regularly screws up in ways that makes the creators fear for their channel and audience, and makes them evaluate alternatives. The "problem" is that youtube never really screws up on the content consumer side, so viewers have little reason to ever go to any of these altnernatives (unless it's paid bonus content on patreon).

Though I guess I could see some channels that are too heavily restricted on youtube using peertube as a repository of all videos, and youtube for the videos that youtube currently deems acceptable enough.

Just like with Mastodon created because of the 2013 Twitter APIpocalypse, YouTube have been screwing things up big for at least 14 years now, and PeerTube as it exists now is at least partially the result of those actions :


(To be fair there also was that Viacom et al. lawsuit for $1 billion in damages...)

I doesn't matter much since there is no money involved in alternatives. Google pays for content creators. A lot. Decentralisation is likely removing all compensations and people stop pushing content for money.

To which I say, GOOD.

I'm 100% convinced that NOTHING of significant value would be lost if the revenue that Youtube pays directly were to go away. It would be a rough transition period, but pure-ads just doesn't make anything good. Patreon-style is ideal, but Netflix is fine too.

General question, why haven't nefarious actors used PeerTubes technology to launch their own non-censorable channels/videos? I'm talking ISIS tier.

More speed, more content!

I'm getting certificate errors. This is a giant red flag to me.

For which domain? joinpeertube.org or one of the video hosting nodes?

Use Qualys [1] to test the domain in question to link here or use the testssl.sh [2] code only depends on openssl and bash to test from your machine. If one of the many self hosted nodes, see if you can find a way to reach out to them and kindly suggest they set up certbot or a cron job to renew their certs.

Joinpeertube.org looks good to me [3] so I assume you find a self-hosted node that needs some attention.

If someone here knows of a way to query a list of all the self-hosted domains joined into peertube perhaps we could run testssl.sh against all of them to generate reports. I am not opposed to doing this if someone knows how I can get a list of all the domains using curl.

[1] - https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/

[2] - https://github.com/drwetter/testssl.sh

[3] - https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=joinpeertube....


Clicking on the HN link, as a user how would I know this is to be expected? or that it's one random node?

Joinpeertube.org is not a random node, however that site links to many random nodes for the videos. One may or may not realize when they click on a video that they are on a new domain unless they glance at the URL bar. That is why I was looking for clarification.

If you are experiencing issues on joinpeertube.org then it may be worth running an OS update and ensuring you also have the latest version of your browser to rule out CA certificate store issues. CA stores are periodically updated and LetsEncrypt did go through a change that will eventually invalidate its older signing keys and intermediate certificates. This would only impact people that have stagnant operating systems or browsers unless one is being routed through an outdated MitM Man-in-the-Middle HTTPS proxy.

We may be able to rule out MitM with openssl, see if the fingerprint is the same for you.

    openssl s_client -servername joinpeertube.com -connect joinpeertube.com:443 < /dev/null 2>/dev/null | openssl x509 -fingerprint -noout -in /dev/stdin
    SHA1 Fingerprint=C0:4E:F2:F6:EA:2B:72:C5:84:E0:73:2C:2C:2B:BB:FB:A1:34:C8:20

Something looks weird with dns on my end. Now I have to figure that out

It seems China is the only place that shows a different IP for joinpeertube.org [1] Are you seeing the same IP?

[1] - https://www.whatsmydns.net/#A/joinpeertube.org

I don't. It a basic Let's Encrypt certificate. It comes from you side.

Are you sure you're not on a network that may be blocking the site? I had the same issue but it went away once I connected to a VPN.

What errors?


It's showing as some kind of cicso cert valid for a couple of days.

There's no interception on this network. Other let's encrypt certs work just fine.

my guess is a massive propaganda campaign demonizing peertube

Given some of the content I've seen on PeerTube, PeerTube becoming popular would be the end of PeerTube.

It's nice to see PeerTube keeping going, it's quite an important project in the long run, always providing the opportunity to spin up your own instance for videohosting, and "peer" too. Here federation is actually a more useful model when compared to deeply flawed fediverse in its use case.

PeerTube uses ActivityPub, it is _part_ of the fediverse. You can comment on a video using a Mastodon account.

I'm sorry to hear that. Thank you for the correction though.

Fediverse is exactly what you were saying when you said "Here federation is actually a more useful model", it is federated.

Two comments in and still not a word on what is “flawed” about the fediverse.

I'm guessing they are interpreting "fediverse" as a federated implementation of a global clique like Twitter where everyone wants to connect to everyone, instead of only their friends/followees

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