PeerTube, a free software to take back control of your videos
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Gaby Weber Documentaries
Gaby Weber Documentaries
Our aim is not to replace them, but rather to simultaneously offer something else, with different values.
Anyone with a modicum of technical skills can host a PeerTube server, aka an instance. Each instance hosts its users and their videos. In this way, every instance is created, moderated and maintained independently by various administrators.
You can still watch from your account videos hosted by other instances though if the administrator of your instance had previously connected it with other instances.
And there's more! PeerTube uses ActivityPub, a federating protocol that allows you to interact with other software, provided they also use this protocol. For example, PeerTube and Mastodon -a Twitter alternative- are connected: you can follow a PeerTube user from Mastodon (the latest videos from the PeerTube account you follow will appear in your feed), and even comment on a PeerTube-hosted video directly from your Mastodon's account.
Mainstream online video broadcasting services make money off of your data by analyzing your interactions so that they can then bombard your with targeted advertising.
Most importantly, you are a person to PeerTube, not a product in need of profiling so as to be stuck in video loops. For example, PeerTube doesn't use any biased recommendation algorithms to keep you online for hours on end.
All of this is made possible by Peertube's free/libre license (GNU-AGPL). Its code is a digital "common", that belongs to everybody, instead of a secret formula that belongs to Google (in the case of Youtube) or to Vivendi/Bolloré (Dailymotion). This free/libre license guarantees our fundamental freedoms as users and allows many contributors to offer evolutions and new features.
In this way, when you watch a video, your computer contributes to its broadcast. If a lot of people are watching the same video at the same time, their browser automatically send smalls pieces of the video to the other viewers. The server resources are not over-exploited: the stream is split, the network optimized.
It might not look like it, but thanks to peer-to-peer broadcasting, popular video makers and their videos are no longer forced to be hosted by big companies, whose infrastructure can stand thousands of views at the same time... or to pay for a robust but extremely expensive independent video host.
Who is behind?
Peertube is a free/libre software funded by a French non-profit organization: Framasoft
Our organization started in 2004, and now devotes itself to popular education about digital technology issues. We are a small structure of less than 40 members and under 10 employees, well-known for the De-google-ify Internet project, when we offered 34 ethical and alternative online tools. As a public interest organization, over 90% of our funding comes from donations (tax deductible for French taxpayers).
Thanks to our crowdfunding (from March to July 2018), Framasoft were able to employ PeerTube's main developer. After a beta release in March 2018, release 1 came out in November 2018. Since then, several intermediary releases have brought many features along. Several collectives have already created PeerTube hosts, laying the foundation for the federation.
The more people use, support, and contribute to PeerTube, the quicker it will become a concrete alternative to platforms like YouTube.