We make computers work properly

Our beliefs

We believe the most important problems need scalable, open, extensible solutions. Free and open solutions can be used in different ways, including and especially ways their creators could not have imagined. We believe that technology harnessed properly can change the world for the better.

Our approach

We build open and extensible solutions to the most important problems within the range of our team's abilities and resources. We examine a problem completely at the outset to find the underlying issues. We select challenges based on their importance and impact without regard to the apparent size or complexity. Once we decide something needs to be done, we will find a way.

One size rarely fits all and we expect most of the tools we build to find life beyond their intended uses, so we prefer protocols over software, modular components over monoliths, and permissive licenses over usage restrictions.

Economic sustainability is critical to our work since most projects need to be developed and maintained over a long period of time. So for each problem we try to develop an economic engine to support our development on the project.

Whenever possible we develop completely open source (not just "open core") and work in the open. We are extremely sensitive to the dangers of corporate influence on technology. We design our projects to be resilient to future corporate interference or attempts to co-opt the work, including our own. The free and open nature of our work is our highest concern.

Our projects

  • Tent

    Protocol for personal data and communications

    Centralization and monopolies are terrible for innovation. Market forces are normally able to solve these problems but most users today have their data scattered across a variety of services that don't talk to each other and give them few choices. We created Tent to solve the problems associated with centralized social networks and personal data storage.

    We observed that most services today were highly specific solutions to a simple problem: how can users create data, store it, access it with different apps, and send copies to other users. We designed Tent to be a comprehensive, data-agnostic solution to this challenge so that future generations of developers could create new experiences without reinventing the wheel and users would have the choice of interoperable applications and service providers.

    Tent is a protocol because most technologies that survive on the internet long term are based on protocols, like HTTP and SMTP which power the web and email. Tent shares many similarities with both the web and email, but was designed for evented data storage and semantic data across a user's social graph. Every user has a server and many applications. Because Tent is a protocol anyone can create a new Tent server or application without asking anyone's permission. All Tent users are first class citizens: communicating with other users works the same way whether they use the same service provider or not (just like email). Users can also change service providers at any time (including self hosting) easily taking all their data and relationships with them (address books are automatically updated when a user moves in Tent). Tent's data formats are developer-extensible, like desktop file systems, so Tent can evolve with the rest of the world without changing any of the basic components.

    The economic engines that power our work on Tent:

    • Our Tent hosting service
    • Occasional consulting for companies that are considering integrating Tent into their products

    Tent was built from the ground up specifically to prevent anyone fooling around with its open and decentralized nature. We make Tent apps, run a Tent hosting service, search engine, and several other resources. All of our Tent products compete on an even playing field with those from the rest of the community. The same rules apply to us as to all other developers and service providers. We strongly encourage development of alternatives to all our products since competition is the best way to prevent bad behavior.

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