DRAFT: State of the (Friendly) Forge Federation


I would like to create a document describing the state of the Forge Federation, not limited to forgefriends, that is based on what people did in the past (sure thing) and tries to predict what they will do in the future based on that. It would span two years only, one year in the past, one year in the future.

This is something between a roadmap and a state of the art study. What is usually involved in a roadmap requires a team of paid staff. But none of the people involved in working on federation are paid at the moment, except for me, KN4CK3R. What it essentially means is that whatever I think would make sense to implement but I don’t intend to implement myself has a probability of apparition in the next year that entirely depends on other people.

I can give two examples to illustrate based on what I thought nine months ago:

  • I would have predicted that @KN4CK3R was going to work almost full time on Gitea federation. And I would have predicted that the chance of @Ta180m showing up and volunteering many weeks of his time on federation to be close to 0%. Turns out that I was wrong. But it also turns out that in the end the work was done, just not by a single person but by two. This does not diminish what @KN4CK3R did, that’s not what I mean: his contributions to Gitea are astounding and I’m very impressed by the quality of his work.
  • I would have predicted that @zeripath would take the opportunity of the NLnet grant to take a leave of absence and spend a significant amount of the grant to implement federated user (because it is kind of his area of expertise). But it turned out to no be the case.

I also find difficult to represent each element of the roadmap as dependent on each other. Representing federated users is likely to be implemented as a temporary hack to allow Gitea federation to move forward. Although it could be seen as a hard dependency without which nothing federated can happen.
Another example is what a forge is expected to do when receiving a “Commit” message via ActivityPub. I think the best way is to sync the state of the remote repo via the git repository that contains the FFF state. But realistically that’s not going to happen immediately and some other “thing” will be implemented. So from my point of view FFF is a dependency without which forge federation cannot be implemented in Gitea. But from someone else point of view it’s not.

Regarding funding, what happened in the last years tends to demonstrate that most of the funding (50K€, 25K€, 5K€ for diversity, over 10K€ for the forgefed specifications, etc.) raised over the past two years was not spent because the beneficiaries did not claim it. And a number of opportunities to apply for grants (150K€, 20K€+ etc.) were missed or do not raise any interest. I therefore do not think necessary to prominently represent that in the roadmap, although my own contribution entirely depends on funding. At this point in time I’m the only person who is both available and funded to work full time on federation. Making a roadmap based on that exception is unlikely to be useful.

So, in a nutshell, I will try to make a roadmap that:

  • Is a guess of what will happen in the next year
  • Shows what happened in the past year
  • Is based on who did what and who is likely (educated guess at best) to do what
  • Shows the difference between volunteer work and paid work

It will not include:

  • A long term vision of forge federation
  • Tasks that nobody publicly declared that they would commit to complete in the next 12 months
  • Dependencies between tasks unless there is no way around it (like someone not being available during a long period of time and unable to work on a given topic)
  • Considerations regarding funding work towards forge federation

At this point I’m not entirely sure such a roadmap will be interesting or useful. The only risk I see is that it will not contain much because there are so few people committed to do work.

To be continued

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Draft is here.

@realaravinth @CSDUMMI @aschrijver @KN4CK3R @Ta180m @techknowlogick @zeripath Your review of the State of the (Friendly) Forge Federation would be very welcome. It covers the past year and tries to predict what will happen in the year to come. Feel free to edit to add anything you’d like or raise concerns on what it contains.

Cross-post :slight_smile: just gave some feedback in the chat.

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