Hello Multiverse...

A screenshot of the Ctrl-C Club's home page

I just joined the Ctrl-C Club. It's a "pubnix" - a publicly accessible online *n*x system. In this case, Ubuntu GNU/Linux which happens to have been my first FOSS (free/open-source software) experience, so I feel at home (doubly so as isiZulu is my third language). Both Ubuntu and Raspberry Pi OS, which is currently my FOSS home, are derivatives of Debian. Pubnix servers are sometimes called tilde servers (after the ~ symbol indicating a user's home directory) and their communities and content, the "tildeverse."

Writing the last paragraph triggered a long-dormant memory. Before I ever tried FOSS, I heard about it and bought a mag (I think it was Linux User, in 2004/5) with a free CD on the front cover, featuring the Impi Linux operating system ("impi" means "war" or "army" in isiZulu). At the time I didn't own a computer so I didn't get to try Impi. But I might still have the CD somewhere in storage. I heard its developers were hired among the team that developed Ubuntu.

I first discovered the pubnix phenomenon via a friend who for years had been logging into one of the most venerable of them all: the Super-Dimensional Fortress at sdf.org, which runs on FreeBSD, another Unix-like operating system. I eventually joined too and particularly liked one of SDF's services, aNONradio. But to publish web pages on SDF, you have to donate a dollar or more. Not easy for us on the outskirts of empire.

So I'm delighted to find all members can publish here!

Here's a guide to getting started in the tildeverse. And here's a somewhat philosophical intro to the command-line.

How I made this page:

You can view the HTML for this page either by right-clicking and selecting "View page source," or by pressing F12 and selecting Elements. On joining the club, they told me that I could place files in a folder called public_html and the web server would make them available to the world. The join-up instructions include an address to ssh into. If you're using Linux or Mac, you can just go straight to your terminal and enter it. In Windows 10, ssh can be made to work in the Power Shell, otherwise as with older versions of Windows, use the PuTTY app.

A screenshot of this page's HTML in the Nano editor

To create the file I used the Nano editor (shown above), which I started by giving the command nano public_html/index.html. Then I just typed the source code you see, saved and exited. If you haven't used such editors before it's a bit alien, but keep calm & check out the command menu in the form of key combos; the ctrl key is represented as ^ (there's no Save command because it's an option during Exit). Use the arrow keys to move the cursor.

More about HTML:

For a discussion of the basic structure of HTML documents, see here. For a great tutorial app, served from a single file, see Slingcode. With the author's blessing, I copied the file into my public_html folder here at Ctrl-C, so you can also run it there. The only thing in the file besides HTML is javascript (another story for another day).

For a more conventional and complete web tutorial, see https://www.learn-html.org/

Typing is old-fashioned, maybe even elitist. I suggest that by now we could and should be able to input by voice in our home language. I'm keeping an eye on this (mostly) FOSS project: mycroft.ai. Let's create liberating tech!

That's it for now. Cheers.


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