Parsnips is a developing project to offer a collection of internet services to my local community, free of charge. I hope to include:
To be clear, it's an old-school setup: A collection of computers in my bedroom. It's an unpaid volunteer project, a labor of love; there's no high availability this or site reliability team that. There are nightly encrypted offsite backups, but if I need to make an adjustment to the network, or someone unplugs the cable modem by mistake (the one thing not on battery backup), it's gonna be unavailable for a few minutes.
The mission of Parsnips is to help people gain more privacy in their communications and digital works; the main strategy is to allow people to divest their data from large corporate silos such as Facebook, Google, and Apple by giving them alternative software that places user privacy and control as a top priority.
My vision is for a large number of "community sysadmins" (to riff on a phrase from elsewebs) to provide similar services to their communities and establish this as a real alternative to corporate data-farms.
Parsnips will only serve a relatively small number of users, even if I expand the hardware offerings and connectivity several times over. One volunteer is not enough. If you would like to start a similar service, please get in touch! I will be sharing code as I develop this service, and blog posts as I learn from my own experiences and those of others.
― Tim McCormack