RIT Matrix Homeserver: Current Status and Plan [Help Wanted]

Hey all!

As you may have heard, there’s a project in the works by me and a few others to set up an official :rit.edu Matrix homeserver. Ideally, we would like this to be a collaborative effrt betwoon CSH, RITlug, and FOSS@RIT, as all three groups have independantly expressed an interest in establishing their own homeserver. With this post, I’d like to apprise you of what the plan for the homeserver going forward, and how you can contribute.

Our current priority is to secure rack space to set up the server itself. Ideally, we’d like to get permission to install one of our boxes with Research Computing, with whom our initial contact will be the systems administrator Paul Mezzanini. Should we fail to secure rack space with RC, Billie is currently seeking alternatives

However,before setting out to do this, we’d like to cement our legitamacy by appointing three official representatives from the three main groups who have expressed interest: CSH, RITlug, and FOSS@RIT. Billie currently represents CSH, and already has a depth of experience in the area, having already set up a fully functional Synapse instance and Matrix ecosystem for CSH. However, we are still seeking representatives from RITlug and FOSS@RIT. In addition, Emi will be acting as community management, employing experience in administering the :the-apothecary.club, a 45 MAU homeserver, and a larger community more than 150 members strong.

Once we’ve found rackspace or a server able to the necessary software, we intend to prepare a formal proposal to RIT, with emphasis on the large network of enthusiastic and passionate minds RIT would find themselves a part of should they elect to allow this project to proceed, as well as on the steps that we will be taking to ensure that the community we will be building is both technically sound and fostering of a passonate and friendly community.

A crucial part of this plan is the steps we must take to future-proof this project, most importantly the formation of a governing body, which will enable us to cleanly pass down technical, financial, and social control of the homeserver and community down to the students who will follow us. While the participants of the initial meeting did not want to prematurely commit to a structure without the full representation of all three clubs present, it is likely that the committee of representatives will continue into the final design.

After rack space has been secured, an initial board has been assembled, and a formal proposal composed, we will take the plan to the Univerisity Web Services department of RIT’s Marketing and Communcations department as an initial point of contact.

If you’re interested in helping out, please reach out to Emi Simpson (@emi:the-apothecary.club on Matrix, on emi@mail.rit.edu by email) or Billie Stevens (@billie:makesthings.xyz on Matrix or was9703@rit.edu). We are praticularly in need of people able to represent RITlug or FOSS@RIT, although all voices are always welcome. Additionally, if you have experience navigating the internal political landscape of RIT, or launching university sponsored projects, your help would be appreciated.

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You might want to contact CADTech; they set up a Mattermost instance when things went online and (from my experience) are more open to change than many parts of RIT.

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Hi folks,

I sent an email to the new head of research computing (Paul’s new boss) on related issues. I’ll let you know what I hear back from him

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For whatever it is worth, I sign my name on in support. This is an exciting idea and an interesting first exploration for RIT into decentralized tech. There is a lot of great value in this idea both as new ways to work and collaborate together online, and also in building and maintaining decentralized technologies.

Early thinking on sustainability is good. You might be interested in checking out the CommunityRule tool to help you think about make a decision-making framework / governance:

https://communityrule.info/

I cannot speak for RITlug, but I know RITlug already has racked machines in the Institute Hall data center too. This is where we run the TeleIRC bots and host TigerOS ISO images. @Tjzabel or @jxr8142 might be able to say more.

Maybe an option too if RITlug is interested in joining up with this cross-club initiative. :smile:

Hello @Emi!

I am able to be a representative for the RITlug side of things. As @jwf said, RITlug does indeed have server space in Institute Hall if needed. However, this server is not quite set up yet.

I remember there being talk of having meetings over jit.si on this. Have these already happened, and/or are there plans to continue these meetings in the future?

Let me know how I can help :smile:

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Looks like RIT has decided to go with Slack Enterprise Grid. How would this affect the Matrix Homeserver project?

More info here. https://wiki.rit.edu/display/Slack/Slack+Home