The “family intranet” — or not

I talked a bit at the last Homebrew club meeting about setting up various web applications on our home server for use by the family. So far, we’re now using:

  • Owncloud for family notes and a family calendar, which automagically shows up on various PCs, tablets and phones by means of Caldav.
  • Shaarli for bookmarking interesting / important places on the web (a private delicious replacement)
  • Selfoss, for keeping up with the news. (Ok, that’s just me so far, not the rest of the family.)

Obviously set up by means of Indie Box.

Tantek called it the “Family Intranet”. Which is sort of right, but only sort of … the reason for this post. It is an intranet in the sense that for now, access to virtual host http://family/ is limited to people physically connected to the home LAN, and thus, the family. But that’s just temporary.

As soon as I’m (more) confident in security, and dynamic DNS has been straightened out, that same host is going to be accessible on the public internet. By default, for the general public, it will show nothing. But:

  • Family members, i.e. the ones that have access today through the LAN, will be able to access it from the public internet, and
  • other people who are not family members on the LAN, will also have selective access.

This becomes particularly interesting once we make it beyond files and bookmarks, such as to photos and videos, and social networking. For example:

  • distant relatives, including those who rarely/never visit us/our LAN in person will have access to certain family photos, vacation movies etc.
  • running applications such as on it to keep in touch with friends definitely goes beyond the family. But my inclination would still be to keep most data there access-controlled on not accessible to the general public, only friends.

So, is this an intranet? Doesn’t sound like it. Is it “Indie Web”? If Web == public, then not. But perhaps today’s assumption of web == public is the aberration, not the normal case once we cut ourselves free from the big feudal overlords?

It seems to me that the natural state of affairs, once we have regained control over our personal data, is to only make a small subset of it available publicly. That, for me, is perhaps more “indie” than publishing for the general public.

Perhaps all of these cases are “indie web”, but we need updated terms for Netscape’s almost-20-year-old “corporate” intranet/extranet terms that work for an individual-centric, family-centric, decentralized world. Some people have called it “the personal cloud”, the “family cloud”, the “community cloud” etc.