Freedica is a free open development social network that allows you to easily create your own locally controlled social network similar to Facebook or Twitter – but under the control of your local group rather than under the control of a billionaire led for-profit corporation - and without the data mining, shadow banning, trolls and bots commonly found on top down social networks.
Freedica runs on a simple Virtual Private Server (VPS) which costs about $20 per month. This is obviously much less expensive that a centrally controlled social network which can cost anywhere from $100 million to $100 billion to build and run.
Freedica was forked from the Friendica Social Network project in June 2023. While the names may sound similar, Freedica has a much different purpose than Friendica. The goal of Friendica is to create worldwide groups of casual users, through interaction with a platform called the Fediverse. While this is a worthy goal, it can result in some of the same problems experienced while using Facebook and Twitter - namely drive-by trolls making constructive conversations all but impossible.
To overcome this problem of bots and trolls, Freedica does not intend to be part of the Fediverse. Instead, our goal is to create a series of more locally controlled social networks to be used by a social movement or national political campaign to gradually grow their movement over time by starting with a single national social network that includes 50 state groups - and can eventually evolve to a series of 50 state networks – each of which can include any number of sub-groups for each county, city, school district or other sub-divisions in that state. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, we are focusing on providing a specific tool for a specific function.
To achieve this goal, Freedica offers several major benefits. Here is a list of the top 12 differences:
#1 More Informative Site Home Page
Your Social Network Home page should be come with customizable text and images to let visitors know what your network is about and why they should join. Sadly, the template for the Friendica site home page is extremely complex as it includes both right and left side panels in addition to being dominated by the Site Login and Registration forms. There is limited provisions for adding custom text and images. This makes it difficult to customize the Friendica site home page.
We addressed this problem by eliminating the right and left side panels from the site home page and moving the Login and Registration form to a separate Login page accessible from a top navigation bar. In addition, we provide four Site Home page HTML and CSS files as well as four Site Home page content images that can be easily customized using the provided Libre Draw files. These changes allow your to easily customize the appearance of your Social Network site home page.
#2 Customizable Theme Variants with Customizable Banner Images added to the top of the Site Home and Member pages
We provide 4 nature based and customizable theme variants called Blue Sky, Green Meadow, Purple Mist and Yellow Sun. Each variant has its own customizable banner image. We also include 4 sample Libre Draw files which can be used to create your own banner images.
Here is the Friendica Site Home page using the Vier theme:
Note that the left side panel is empty white space while the right side panel is hidden. Below is an example of the Freedica Site Home page using the Spring theme with the Blue Sky variant.
#3 Simplified More Readable Site Member Pages
The Friendica Top Navigation bar has a distracting search box - and the tabbed bar below it has five options for the Network page.
The Friendica Home Profile page is even worse with nine options:
All of these options can be reached by other routes. But their presence on the top bar and tabbed bar can be pretty confusing for beginners. In addition, having so many menu items requires making the font size so small that words can barely be read. We therefore reduced the number of menu items on both the top navigation bar and the tabbed bar below it. This allows us to increase the font sizes which makes Freedica is much more readable and therefore much easier for beginners to learn how to use.
Here is the Freedica top bar and tabbed bar on the Network page:
Here is the Freedica tabbed bar on the Home Profile page:
#4 Simplified Graphical Installation Process
Our goal is to encourage people who are not programmers to install and manage their own bottom up social networks. Friendica documentation offers several very complex and confusing ways to install Friendica. These options are needed because there are many types of server configurations Friendica is trying to support.
In order to simplify the installation process, we will provide only one set of instructions but they will be step by step instructions. This is made possible because we will assume that those installing Friendica will be using a VPS host with a graphical DNS Manager and that they will be installing Freedica on a Debian VPS with the free open source Hestia Control Panel. The Hestia Control Panel dramatically simplifies the installation process allowing even those without a technical background to install and run their own Freedica Social Network. In fact, you can install Freedica on a Hestia VPS in under 5 minutes just by clicking on a couple of buttons.
#5 Simplified Cron and Backup Process
A major advantage of using the Hestia Control Panel is that it includes a simple graphical interface for creating cron jobs and backups. Cron commands can be entered in less than a couple of minutes. Backups are taken automatically and can be downloaded with the click of a button. Restoring your site from a backup can also be done in a matter of minutes by clicking on a button.
#6 Simplified and more current Member Instructions
The documentation that comes with Friendica is often outdated. Much of it is intended for developers with a more technical background. One of our main missions is to focus on assisting those without a technical background. We therefore have greatly improved documentation for beginners while at the same time moving documentation for developers out of the Freedica package and into a separate series of web pages.
#7 Freedica has a much smaller File Size.
Friendica is a very large program at over 120 Megabytes. This includes 5 themes and 85 addon programs. We have replaced these five themes with two new themes and eliminated 80 addons – leaving a total of 5 of the most commonly used addons. These changes reduce the size of Freedica by about 60MB such that Freedica is less than 60MB. This means Freedica takes much less space on your server and therefore costs much less to run and maintain over time.
This file size reduction is needed to permit a single VPS to host up to 50 networks. Including two backups and posting data, a single Freedica network would take about 200MB of disc space on the VPS while a single Friendica network would take about 400MB. 50 Freedica networks would take 10GB of disc space while 50 Friendica networks would take at least 20GB. Over time, each state network could be hosted on its own VPS. However, initially all state networks would be hosted on the same national VPS. It is therefore important to keep the cost down by reducing the file size as much as possible.
Smarty is a template creation language based on HTML. So the Vier theme is based almost entirely on simple and secure CSS and HTML. In addition, each Freedica theme has a file size of 1MB which is one tenth the file size of Frio which is 11MB.
#9 Freedica eliminates Bootstrap
#10 Freedica Development is on an Open Source Repository called Codeberg instead of closed source GitHub
It is sad that many Open Software projects, including Friendica, use a closed source repository called GitHub when there is a much better non-profit Open Software repository called Codeberg to host their Open Software projects.
GitHub (aka Microsoft) was recently found to be spying on and pirating BILLIONS of lines of code from more than a million open source projects in order to develop their commercial GitHub program called Copilot – a clear violation of Open Source License requirements. Microsoft and GitHub are currently being sued for $9 billion. Here is a link to the 56 page lawsuit:
One of the people who brought the lawsuit explained how this spying and code theft harms Open Source Code development: “Microsoft is creating a new walled garden that will inhibit programmers from discovering traditional open-source communities, Over time, this process will starve these communities. User attention and engagement will be shifted [...] away from the open-source projects themselves—away from their source repos, their issue trackers, their mailing lists, their discussion boards.”
The Software Freedom Conservancy was so appalled at Microsoft’s attack on Open Source Software development that they referred to it as “monetizing the labor of open source developers via a proprietary product.”They therefore launched a campaign asking Open Software developers to “Give Up GitHub!.”
Yet despite this assault on Open Source software, tens of thousands of projects are still made using Windows programs on Windows computers with their code hosted on GitHub and or the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Sadly, $9 billion is peanuts for Microsoft who will likely be given a Get Out of Jail Free card – just like they have been given many times in the past after being found guilty of violating US federal laws.
If we are to overcome our current addiction to harmful software, and gain our freedom from the likes of Microsoft and Google, we need to completely change the way we develop software. We need to look not merely at the code for hidden defects, but rather – because software has such a big impact on all of us - we need to closely examine the entire software development process for hidden defects. The term I propose for this more careful and holistic approach is Open Software Development.
Our goal is to more precisely define the word “open” and explain how Open Software programs can and should be developed using entirely Open Software tools – and to provide a place where those interested in learning about and or developing Open Software programs can ask questions and discuss important issues regarding the present state and future of Open Software programs.
Open Software Development includes the prior concept of Free Open Source Software. But in addition, it requires a willingness to change - an open mind – to consider and try new ways of doing things.
More Drawbacks of GitHub
Even if you do not care about GitHub spying on your code development and stealing your open source code for their closed source programs, you should think twice about using GitHub.
In 2012, Linus Torvalds stated:
"I don't do GitHub pull requests. GitHub throws away all the relevant information, like having even a valid email address for the person asking me to pull. Their diffstat is also deficient and useless."
In 2021, Torvalds added:
“GitHub creates absolutely useless garbage merges, and you should never ever use the GitHub interfaces to merge anything… Linux kernel merges need to be done properly... That means proper commit messages with information about what is being merged and *why* you merge something. But it also means proper authorship and committer information etc. All of which GitHub entirely screws up."
In 2022, Torvalds added: "Git comes with a nice pull-request generation module, but GitHub instead decided to replace it with their own totally inferior version. As a result, I consider GitHub useless for these kinds of things... the pull requests and the online commit editing, are just pure garbage."
GitHub likely loses more than $100 million per year – but Microsoft does not care
Since purchasing GitHub in 2018 for $7.5 billion, Microsoft has not reported any revenue numbers for GitHub in its quarterly and yearly filings. The last reported GitHub balance statement was leaked in 2016 - when GitHub was losing about $100 million per year. Microsoft essentially uses GitHub as a Loss Leader to attract users to their Azure Cloud – which makes billions of dollars every year - while keeping people addicted to the insecure Windows operating system and Microsoft 365 monthly rental payments.
#11 We use a simple graphical tool rather than complex terminal commands to improve Freedica
Because we want to make Freedica development more accessible to more people, we use and show you how to use a graphical interface called Git Cola to connect local copies of Freedica with our Codeberg repository. Git Cola combined with Codeberg make it possible for more visually oriented people to take part in Freedica development.
12 We explain how to integrate your Social Network with other free online community building tools
There are a variety of ways online communities can communicate with each other. In this course, we explain how to integrate Freedica with several other free open source online community projects. If your team wants to have their own video conferencing platform, where they can collaborate on creating team documents, we explain how to use Jitsi and NextCloud. If you want to write a book or create a course, we explain how to combine Freedica with the Joomla Content Management System (CMS) and the Moodle Learning Management System. Learn to connect content you create on your Joomla website with shared documents and video conferencing on your Nextcloud website and distribute your content on your Freedica Social Network. This is possible because all three programs are built using PHP – which runs 80% of the world’s websites.
Freedica offers many other important organizing benefits including:
* Customizable profile forms to organize by state, county, city, Congressional District, Legislative District and or School District.
* Customizable Themes to give you complete control over the appearance and content of your network pages.
* Customizable New Member Landing page for members to be directed to rather than just returning them to the Network Home page.
* Customizable Error Page to give people helpful advice when they wind up on a broken page.
* Three typed of networks… Choose between a network completely open to the public, a network requiring admin approval or a completely closed network open only to invited members.
We have written a detailed course on how to create your own secure Freedica social Network. Here is a link to this course:
Here are the 9 Steps we review during this course:
You are invited to be part of this great adventure
Whether you are an expert on coding with PHP or a beginner looking to escape from Facebook, you are welcome to join our Freedica community. For more information about setting up your own Freedica website, visit our project website freedica.org or visit our course website: