Creating a Video Home for FOSS Projects

For BookStack I’ve been consistently creating videos on YouTube for almost 2 years now, but recently I’ve been thinking about providing an alternative option for the following reasons:

  1. I’ve come to really appreciate the open & connected federated world, and would like to make the videos available via those means.
  2. YouTube has potential privacy implications, and pushes ads with increasing force. Some choice for users that can’t accept these elements would be nice.

For a YouTube alternative platform PeerTube is the obvious choice. Much like other federated & non-centralised platforms, the hard part is finding a home. None of the existing open servers really looked appropriate for serving the kind of videos I was making. I thought of creating a BookStack specific instance, but the hosting & maintenance effort didn’t really seem worthwhile, especially since this was a “nice to have” for the project, not something specifically requested by the community.

While it didn’t seem worthwhile just for BookStack, I thought it’d be likely that other projects may be in the same position, so I instead thought about creating an instance with a wider scope, one dedicated to hosting free and open source software projects.

That idea has turned into

Before setting this up, I done a fair bit of local testing to understand the requirements and management process. I’m aiming to run this as thrifty and efficient as possible. It’s on a relatively small VPS but I’ve configured things so I can attach my desktop PC (and any systems I have laying about) to the instance to help with larger transcode jobs.

Right now it only hosts me with BookStack, but the plan is to slowly scale things & onboard extra projects, in a way that I can keep an eye on sustainability. Right now it’s just costing me about £10 per month, which I can happily consume. At a certain level, before it gets uncomfortable to personally finance, I’d maybe look to have a more formal donation plan/system to keep things sustained.

While setting this up I’ve gained a massive amount of appreciation and respect for the PeerTube project. It’s fantastic open source software that’s featureful, well documented and well managed. I can tell a lot of effort and care has gone into this great AGPL3 project.

If you produce videos for your FOSS project, and would like to use this platform, you can find more details on the about page. There’s a contact button on that page or you can reach out to me on Mastodon. If you have an existing YouTube channel, PeerTube makes it super simple to run a channel alongside that. You can auto-sync to import everything including your video backlog and new videos going forward, and this includes metadata like video descriptions.