Kenton Varda

45 points
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Palo Alto, CA, USA

Kenton Varda | I write open source software. I worked for Google for 7.5 years, during which I worked on infrastructure and security but was best-known for open sourcing Protocol Buffers, Google's internal data interchange protocol. After leaving, I created Cap'n Proto, which is like Protocol Buffers but infinity times faster, and am now working on, a platform for personal clouds.

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Nope, Sandstorm is completely separate from ownCloud. ownCloud could be packaged as a Sandstorm app, but that hasn't happened yet. Davros is a Sandstorm app which implements a compatible protocol, so you can use it with the ownCloud client, but other than implementing the same protocol it is not based on ownCloud either.

> Your demo landing page infinitely loops without cookies,

Sorry, I think that must be CloudFlare's doing, as I don't actually use cookies myself but I know CloudFlare introduces one. But I would think it that case that all CloudFlare-enabled sites would be affected, which is a pretty significant chunk of the internet. Do you find a lot of sites have this problem?

Or did you also disable localStorage along with cookies? Sandstorm does in fact use that.

> and the landing page requires javascript for no clear reason.

The landing site is part of a Meteor app. Meteor apps are pretty much entirely Javascript. The design makes it possible to browse between pages of the app without waiting for slow page reloads; apps that avoid Javascript feel awfully slow and dated these days.

> It looks like you are tied to google's ajax code, so if they yank that, yes your site goes down.

Huh? Sandstorm does not rely on any external resources to my knowledge.

The Sandstorm web site (not Sandstorm itself) uses analytics and social buttons but they are all optional; it still works if they fail.

> Having servers that users can use doesn't overcome the network effect

Not all apps have a network effect. E.g. a document editor doesn't have much network effect. I would argue e-mail apps don't have much network effect either, since e-mail is an open standard. Obviously network effect is still a problem for federated social networks, but at least by removing a separate major problem (hosting) we are getting closer.

> IMHO, a good distributed networking library...

No. Native clients are great (and Sandstorm will support them) but for anything social or collaborative you still need a server. E.g. in order to have a real-time collaborative document editor, you need a server that hosts the canonical copy and mediates edits.

Moreover, what you describe would require rewriting all our apps. Being able to seed Sandstorm with existing apps is really important for bootstrapping.