what's next

Discussion of items in the "What's New" log.

what's next

Postby josh » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:40 pm

This is a difficult post.

Spamgourmet has been running for over 18 years now (that's a long time for an internet thing). We've maintained a non-commercial, privacy centered approach that was much more common on the internet in say, 1998, than it is in 2018. I will never give up on it. Not getting caught up with financial concerns and over-recording and misusing data from our users has kept operating costs low and management fairly trouble free. It has also made spamgourmet pretty unattractive as an acquisition target, which is definitely part of the plan.

This approach has worked very well. But I knew that if the time ever came where I needed to move away, there could be some challenge to be absolutely sure that things will continue as they have (or greatly improve - that's certainly possible :) ) after I walk away. Specifically, it's not the first transfer I'm worried about - I'm fairly certain I can find a trustworthy person or group -- rather it's the second transfer that troubles me.

That's because, by today's standards, the transfer is asking a lot: take over a system written by someone else which will make no money, and run it for a really long time before the challenging task of finding yet another trustworthy person to take it over. Of course, simply shutting down the system solves this problem, but would be pretty painful to a lot of people. Honestly, though, it would be preferable to blindly handing off control of the service to the wrong place.

About two months ago, after some surgery I was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme ("GBM"). This is a grade 4 brain cancer. It's considered terminal and incurable, and the average survival time is something like 18 months from diagnosis. I'm getting world-class medical care and I'm optimistic that I will be around longer than average - even much longer. I'm also very hopeful that medical advances will greatly improve the prognosis, and that I will stay alive long enough to benefit from them. However, given the nature of the disease, we have to consider that even if I'm alive, I could lose my ability to continue running spamgourmet effectively, and that this could happen pretty soon. So something has to be done.

So - I want to bring back up the discussion about things that could be done. I'll post more to this thread -- these days I'm trying to avoid words like 'brainstorm' (haha. ok, not funny), but that's what needs to happen.
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Re: what's next

Postby pbb » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:31 pm

Hello Josh,

I am very sorry to hear your news and I do hope that your treatment is successful.

Regarding the stewardship of spamgourmet, is there not some way in which a 'board of trustees' can be created so that the best interests of the system can be administered on a legal, non-profit and on-going, basis?

Or, could the 'Organisation' become a not-for-profit co-operative, with a maximum number of (elected, non-executive) employees, but also a membership (the users) who have voting rights?

Clearly, the on-going users of Spamgourmet should be paying something easily affordable ($2 per month?) towards its maintenance and to recompense its Stewards.

You need to take legal advice, and perhaps contact some of the bodies who are championing internet causes, to determine what options are open to you.

Regards and best wishes

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Re: what's next

Postby GSX » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:38 pm

I cannot say anything about the transfer, but I would like to tell you how I admire your handling of such a sensitive issue. Although we don't know each other personally, I feel with you. Stay strong, all the best.
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Re: what's next

Postby josh » Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:10 am

thanks for encouragement!

"contact some of the bodies who are championing internet causes" -- if anyone can list a few of these, that would be very helpful. I know someone listed one group in another thread, and I confess that I haven't contacted them.

I happen to be a lawyer myself :) in Texas, USA. But part of me wants to get the service outside of the USA (can't imagine why...). Sweden keeps coming to mind. Seems like a place with a strong user rights / user privacy culture.
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Re: what's next

Postby Zero » Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:17 pm

Never trust averages or statistics! That's what I heard an oncologist say. Be optimistic and you will be surprised how much better things will turn out to be after all.
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Re: what's next

Postby dmartin » Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:48 am

Hi Josh,

Hope your health holds!

You were asking above of groups that could potentially take over the SG service; nobody is going to be as good as you; but here are some ideas (I have no affiliation with any of them, but of a few I'm a customer or use their products & services).
The EFF (eff.org), the provide some tools like HTTPS evrywhere and Privacuy Badger.
The Open Rights Group (openrightsgroup.org).
The Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) that runs letsencrypt (letsencrypt.org).
Also how about the Linux foundation?
The apache foundation (apache.org).
How about the group that runs security oriented email ProtonMail (in Switzerland I believe).
The Free Software Foundation (fsf.org)
Also there are a few VPN services like privateinternetaccess.com and expressvpn.com and NordVPN.com and VyprVPN.

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Re: what's next

Postby davies » Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:26 pm

I was alerted to your problems only after the London Perl Workshop when someone who wanted to communicate with me decided SG was a great idea & told me about the downtime & your problems. Apart from the obvious many thanks & best wishes, have you considered part of the Perl community for the future? An organisation like the Perl foundation might have the interest and knowhow.

If you want to communicate with me privately, my SG address is the same as my userid here.

I hope it doesn't happen, but even if SG were closed down tomorrow, it has made the world a better place.


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Re: what's next

Postby scribbly » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:57 am

I really appreciate all you've done with SG... saved me countless times (well, that's technically not true, because we get a count :wink: )

Now that I'm over the shock... Someone related to email makes sense, maybe because I use ProtonMail this stuck out:
dmartin wrote:How about the group that runs security oriented email ProtonMail (in Switzerland I believe).

It would be funky if functionality was included in an email product... Though, anyone in the security / privacy area would be a good fit.

All the best for the future: Peace.
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