As we’re going forward into 2017 we’ll be using quite a few new tools on both the staff and community ends, this post is intended as a good reference so you know where we’ll be staying and heading.
Every tool in this list is free and open source software (FOSS) and that with hope is something that will not change. Open source is the way forward and the constant stream of attacks against privacy and forced backdoors demonstrate that. Since we were founded six years ago we’ve run our own servers and tried to stick entirely to open source software as far as is possible.
Public Discussion Forum: Discourse
This is Discourse. Yes the website that you’re reading from right now.
Discourse is modern and open source ‘discussion platform’ (read forum) software that we switched to in 2015 and haven’t been disappointed with since. Built by the same people that made Stack Overflow and a world away from the classic forums (MyBB, PhpBB, Xenforo, etc).
It acts as a sort of builtin board for announcements and long term discussion, a place you can watch to know exactly what’s happening currently, see our currently active servers and bring up anything you want to be talk about.
Voice Chat: Mumble
Mumble is an open source voice chat application that matches it’s main competitor Teamspeak in all the important ways. It uses the exact same voice codecs as Teamspeak so audio quality will be no worse, offers full certificate based encryption that we can trust and is still in active, if slow development.
Mumble is the heart of the community and where we all unite for regular events, general gaming and day to day discussion. Everyone is welcome to join us there, just pop in to a public room and say hi.
If you’re just a standard wonderful member of the community then the software in this section probably isn’t for you, if you need to contact the staff when no one is around on Mumble use the forums. Still, we’re an open community so feel free to keep on reading if you’re interested.
Instant Messaging: Riot.IM
Pagers: the now mostly obsolete piece of equipment that doctors can still be seen running about with in response to emergencies, thats what Riot.IM is for us.
But Mumble already has instant messaging capabilities… so why not use that? Or just the forums?
The point of Riot.IM for us is being always available at a moments notice. Riot has dedicated apps for Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS that can stay running in the background with minimal effort, it’s install and forget right until it’s needed.
As for the technology Riot.IM is an open source instant messaging client built upon the decentralised Matrix specification, it’s a clear replacement for both IRC and XMPP plus the not evil alternative to Facebook Chat.
File Sharing: Nextcloud
Nextcloud is an open source file sharing system that we host for the use of our staff uploading that is considered sensitive such as server logs and credentials. It’s especially important for our recording team for both the sharing of raw footage and backup of episodes after.
Open Broadcast Software
The now very popular also open source piece of software that supports both streaming and recording. It easily beats almost all of the commercial alternatives with its ability to record anything in several different codecs, perform scene switching, handling separate audio channels, apply filters to audio live and much more.
OBS is one of the best examples of open source software that beats everything closed source and we’re glad to have it.
Despite having been around for nine years already, OpenShot is still a new and experimental discovery for us, I’ve moved us to looking into it from a brief foray into Blender. I think it will work well for us but we’ll continue to look into that.
OpenShot is open source and multiplatform video editing software, it aims to be easy to use (a massive plus when trying to train a team of editors) and in the features we need matches most large commercial alternatives. It’s even still in active development, just a few months ago having released support for 4K video editing and a massive update today.
These are the tools that we half have been using and intend to keep using throughout 2017 but as always we welcome discussion and disagreement at the community meetings.