July 9, 2021
Recently I encouraged someone to join Ctrl-C Club, the tilde community that I'm part of (probably obvious, as it's in the URL here). They were interested in joining a tilde to learn more about Linux and coding in a community. That's well and good, but after joining, it's not immediately obvious what you can do. So I thought I'd write a short post about how I tilde.
First: a tilde community, in my own words, is a community of people using a shared Linux computer host. We all connect via ssh and have our own accounts on the computer. In an era where we're used to having personal computers, a tilde server is an anomaly where dozens or hundreds have accounts on a single machine, like an oldskool timesharing machine (look it up). Most tildes have 1 or 2 administrators who keep things running and literally serve as the admin account.
Ctrl-c.club is a relaxed community. It's an Ubuntu server. There are a few hundred registered, and maybe a few dozen folks I see normally in iris, and probably many more folks engaging in other kinds of ways. A lot of the focus is on playing with Linux and making and tinkering with small software.
When you log in through ssh the first thing that greets you is a greeting message of the day (MOTD). There's some useful info there, but it mostly doesn't change that often. Still, any important messages from the admin will be posted there.
At the end of the message it usually says No Mail. If it says new messages, I check them. I can run neomutt or I can run alpine, which is probably easier for newbies to use. I can write an email there or read my messages. This is the email I have listed on my gemini capsule index page.
The number one activity I do on ctrl-c.club is read and respond to messages on the command line forum software iris. iris is very minimal software:
t lists all topics u lists all unread # (typing a number) prints out one of the topic threads r starts a reply to the thread you are currently reading q quits iris help gives a full list of commands
As of the day I'm writing this there are (:term and switch over to iris for a moment to check...ahem) 117 topic threads. That's a lot of threads to read! People write questions about learning programming, the pandemic, software recommendations, ask about Ctrl-C.club issues. As you can tell, it's very programmer-y oriented.
Being a member of any tilde grants you wider privileges in the tilde community. It's like when you're a member of one museum that has reciprocal membership rights to a host of other museums (it's great by the way! I recommend). I was looking for a long time for an alternative to GitHub, GitLab and later ruled out sr.ht and then codeberg (I can write a post on why). Tildegit runs a Gitea instance and is a drop-in replacement for GitHub. It gets rid of the crap I didn't want and works exactly the way I want it to work. It even has a recent projects page too in case you're wanting to peep other programming projects of tidlers. I enjoy browsing it sometimes. Much more intimate and interesting than GitHub's. The only thing that's missing is something like GitHub pages, but you can host a blog or gemini capsule directly on ctrl-c.club.
I host this here gemini capsule and a related http blog. I tend to start by writing new posts directly in my public_gemini folder. Then I test the page since it's immediately live, and add a link from my index.html. I push new pages to a tildegit repo that is a backup. I wrote a gemini to html converter in node that I keep on my file system on ctrl-c.club and tracked on tildegit that I use when I want to convert a page from gmi -> html. I track my gemini pageview stats using a simple bash script that I wrote. I had asked on iris about how to gather pageview stats and the admin Calamitous gave me some pointers as to what logfile would hold the stats. It's essentially a list of IP addresses, what url endpoint they've reached, and the time. I simply scan through, count the number of lines that connect to my own endpoint, and print out the stats for the day and month. Tildegit can be accessed through a website without needing to login to ctrl-c.club. A tilde account is required to make an account on tildegit.org.
A simple website. People live stream DJ shows of all kinds of music, mostly electronic-ish types but not all. There's a listed schedule and a Mastodon account that posts when a new dj comes on the air. As I'm typing this there is some aggressive drum and bass music playing that I'm enjoying.
I sometimes connect to ctrl-c.club from my iPhone or iPad using ssh in the iSH app, running Alpine Linux. When I do so I can use the built-in amfora program (since I haven't put the time into downloading Go and building from Scratch.) Amfora works out of the box for me, and I have my own bookmarks list so I can always check Amfora and a few specific capsules I read.
Tilde.news is a Hacker News alternative, built using the lobste.rs codebase. It's slower pace; there's usually a post every other day or so. And much less commenting. This can be done through the browser.
If you're looking for a drop-in google docs replacement, one that respects your privacy, there is an instance of cryptpad set up. You can make documents, spreadsheets, presentations, whiteboard, forms, and more. You can get started without making an account, and work anonymously. I believe you need to make an account and sign in if you want to choose to save a page in your account however.
Cryptpad on Tildeverse
I've also only occasionally tried out the tilde.chat IRC system, part of the wider tildeverse. I guess I'm just not a big 'chatter' in that way (I don't really want to leave a chat screen open), but I can see that at any moment usually dozens or a hundred people are logged in, so this is the major activity of many tidlers. I think if I didn't have my regular community on Mastodon then IRC would become a bigger draw for me.
As mentioned several times, ctrl-c.club is one of many tilde communities. They are all part of a shared info Tildeverse site, which links to most of the tilde communities, the shared tilde resources and now even has a shop to sell tildeverse merch like caps, mugs and shirts.
You can comment on this post by sending an email to the email listed on the index page.