PeerTube

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PeerTube
A triangle pointing to the right that resembles a "play video" icon and consists of three smaller triangles of the same shape
Screenshot of a PeerTube test instance run by the Blender Foundation.
Screenshot of a PeerTube test instance run by the Blender Foundation.
Developer(s)Framasoft, et. al
Initial release11 October 2018;
4 months ago
 (2018-10-11)
Stable release
1.0.1 / 19 October 2018;
3 months ago
 (2018-10-19)
Preview release
v1.1.0-rc.1 / 22 November 2018;
2 months ago
 (2018-11-22)
Repositorygithub.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube
Written inTypeScript, HTML, CSS, SQL
Operating systemUnix-like
PlatformWeb
Size2.08 MB (tar.xz)
Available inEnglish
LicenseAGPL v3.0+[1]
Websitejoinpeertube.org

PeerTube is a free, decentralized, federated video platform that uses peer-to-peer technology to reduce load on individual servers. It is released under the GNU Affero General Public License.

Started in 2015 by a programmer known as Chocobozzz, development of PeerTube is now supported by the French non-profit Framasoft.[2] The aim is to provide an alternative to centralized platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Dailymotion.

Operation[edit]

A PeerTube instance's website has a simple appearance, with thumbnails directing the user to a video. Each instance is often independent of others in terms of appearance, account management, subscriptions, likes and news. Some of them may share the same videos with others by agreeing on their broadcast conditions: they then form federations. Federations are several instances with the same videos, common laws and potentially based on the same monetary system. Videos are common within the federation but each video is stored by the instance that published it. All federations are independent of each other.

Origins and history[edit]

PeerTube was created by a web developer known as Chocobozzz as a peer-to-peer alternative to YouTube, utilizing the WebTorrent protocol to share videos.[3] He was contacted in 2017 by Framasoft, which had a campaign called Contributopia,[4] the goal of which is to create alternatives to centralized platforms. In order to support him and his work, notably on improving the design and usability, Framasoft hired the developer.

In 2018, Framasoft launched a crowdfunding on KissKissBankBank [fr] which raised €53,100—more than double the initial goal of €20,000.[5][2]

A first beta of PeerTube was released in March 2018[6] and the first stable version in October 2018. In June 2018, only a few months after the first beta, 113 instances[7] are publicly available on the web that together host more than 10,000 videos.[8]

In June 2018, as a result of its videos disappearing amid changes regarding the monetization of YouTube channels, the Blender Foundation began experimenting with hosting a PeerTube instance to distribute ad-free copies of the foundation's videos.[9]

Technology[edit]

Video introducing PeerTube

PeerTube uses WebTorrent technology. Each server hosts a torrent tracker and each web browser viewing a video reshares it. This allows to share the load between the server itself and the clients as well as the bandwidth used through P2P technology.

The system works via a federation of instances run by independent entities. Each PeerTube server can host any number of videos by itself, and can additionally federate with other servers to let users watch their videos in the same user interface. This federation permits to collectively host a large number of videos in a unified platform, without having to build an infrastructure comparable to that of the web giants. Each server is operated by and stays under the sole administration of a distinct entity.

PeerTube uses the ActivityPub protocol, a new W3C web standard, in order to allow decentralization and compatibility with other services such as Hubzilla, Mastodon or Diaspora*.[10] It is for example possible to comment on a video from a Mastodon account. This can create a whole "ecosystem", as opposed to locked-in platforms of the Big Four tech companies. This ecosystem aims to be resilient against censorship[9][11] and DDoS, the Big Four being an example of single point of failure.

The software relies on the PostgreSQL DBMS.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "README.md §License".
  2. ^ a b "PeerTube 1.0: the free/libre and federated video platform".
  3. ^ (in French) "PeerTube, une tentative d'alternative française et décentralisée à YouTube".
  4. ^ (in French) "Contributopia".
  5. ^ "PeerTube Crowdfunding".
  6. ^ (in French) "PeerTube : le " YouTube décentralisé " passe en bêta publique".
  7. ^ (in French) "Après YouTube… PeerTube ? Déjà des centaines d'instances !".
  8. ^ "Statistiques PeerTube".
  9. ^ a b Foundation, Blender. "YouTube Blocks Blender Videos Worldwide". blender.org.
  10. ^ "Just a few Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube alternatives". 18 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Torrentfreak".