Seven ideals for local-first software: CoBox

These ideals are inspired by Ink and Switches Seven Ideals for Local-first Software.

CoBox is a Dropbox-like shared filesystem built on top of Dat. Dat is a Value-driven technology built by community, financed responsibly, and given away for free to the public. Think the cloud but without the corporate middlemen…

Dat is a new p2p hypermedia protocol. It provides public-key-addressed file archives which can be synced securely and browsed on-demand.

  • Fast: Archives sync from multiple sources at once.
  • Secure: All updates are signed and integrity-checked.
  • Resilient: Archives can change hosts without changing their URLs.
  • Versioned: Changes are written to an append-only version log.
  • Decentralized: Any device can host any archive.

1. No spinners: your work at your fingertips

CoBox is almost as fast as your native system. The underlying data sharing protocol is dat. This is as quick as your normal system. Your digital stuff remains at your fingertips, not in a data farm somewhere else around the world.

2. Your work is not trapped on one device

We love that the cloud has showed us what it’s like to have our digital stuff sync across devices, without thinking about it. We just weren’t planning for it to be on government and advertisers computers too. CoBox spreads your digital stuff between your devices and that of peers you choose, backed up by organisations you choose (or automatically if you’ve chosen to set and forget) - it just doesn’t end up on corporate, government or advertisers computers.

3. The network is optional

Going offline for a bit? CoBox has got you. Data is stored on your device, and we sync across the network if it is available, or across your work or home wifi.

4. Seamless collaboration with your colleagues

CoBox enables collaboration and cooperation without having to relinquish your data sovereignty or ownership of your digital stuff. CoBox is collaborative software, built for humans from the very first digital bricks laid in the foundations. As easy as the corporate cloud we’ve been used to.

5. The Long Now

How long before the megacorp choose to change or shut down their service? How long before the climate makes those data farms impractical or impossible to run? With CoBox you can spread your data across large numbers of peers computers, securely. Sometimes it’s easier to predict people closer to home.

6. Security and privacy by default

CoBox uses modern cryptography to secure your data on your computer before it spreads to others computers. No-one but you and people you choose can access stuff. No ifs, no buts. Using some neat tricks we’ve also made it easy to recover your data from friends in case you have the equivalent of a house fire and lose all your devices in one event.

7. You retain ultimate ownership and control

Centered around the principle of data sovereignty you (and your devices) decide what happens with your digital stuff. CoBox is open source meaning anyone can audit the underlying protocols and code which then amplify your data sovereignty and support you to keep your digital stuff collaborative and safe without the overhead of doing manual backups and having to think about all of that.