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Maintaining Focus in a Rapidly Changing World

Leadership & Org Update 18

Global Pandemic

Together, we are living in a unique moment in time, yet likely we are experiencing it in very different ways. As the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our families, businesses, and day-to-day lives around the world, we wanted to share with you how we’re supporting our team and communities, and how we are continuing development and deployment of Holochain and the Holo network.

Our hearts and thoughts are with all those people affected by the virus, particularly those who are sick or have loved ones that are sick. We wish speedy recoveries for all. We’re also humbly inspired by our healthcare workers and those on the frontlines who are supporting people around the world.

In the midst of this crisis, our team remains focused on our commitment to deliver alternatives to how people can coordinate, collaborate, and empower themselves in new distributed forms. As a remote and widely dispersed team developing global infrastructure, we feel we have some distinct advantages that can help us persevere during this turmoil. Also, we have an incredibly committed team that sees in this crisis another urgent call to action for bringing this project into the world — and to you.

Depending on your perspective and location, perhaps you are feeling worried about the actions or inactions of our respective governments and institutions around the world. Many fear governments will use this as an opportunity to extend their powers more than they worry about the personal health of our global community. We share some of these concerns. When the pandemic ebbs, the powers that were extended by those institutions may not be subsequently withdrawn. This may be posited as a question of health versus privacy, where the concern is that the people of the world will choose health and therefore lose many other civil liberties. But this false dichotomy carries assumptions of centralised control of data. Here at Holochain, we think that distributed and agent based data is a key way to address this matter and that’s why we remain committed, now more than ever, to bring truly distributed data and app computing to everyone.

As a business, Holo has the grit and resilience needed in these trying times. The responsiveness we’ve learned from adjusting to multiple uncertain landscapes over the last few years supported us quickly iterating on our business continuity and crisis scenario planning over the last six weeks. We began our response to this pandemic in February. We identified risks in international travel for our team and shifted plans for a gathering in the UK from the physical realm to the remote. We have further pulled together to address fear, isolation, and financial concerns as well as possible health impacts.

We are working to be as flexible as possible for the needs of individuals on our team. Amidst this shifting our comfort with synchronous video communication as well as many asynchronous tools allows us to continue with our work productively.

So let’s turn now to address some questions about the status of that work.

Visibility to our Work and Upcoming Releases

Some folks in our community have been asking us questions over the past few weeks. Though we’ll be having another AMA soon, we wanted to try to answer a few of those quickly here.

Why have we been relatively quiet over the last several weeks?

The truth is we’ve kept our heads down working. Specifically we’ve been focused on:

  1. Business continuity in the face of the global pandemic so we can continue delivering the Holo network and new versions of Holochain.
  2. Continued support of our dev community building Holochain applications.
  3. Delivering the test version of HoloFuel to our Holo host community.

What is causing the delays in the latest release of Holochain and the opening of HP Admin and testing of HoloFuel for HoloPort owners?

As we deployed the HoloPorts, we finalised infrastructure that allowed for new forms of testing Holochain and Holochain applications. While testing real apps like the HoloFuel app on live systems we encountered issues that were not previously visible and some of these were rooted in the implementation of Holochain. One way of looking at it is that actively running the HoloFuel app, tests integration across many layers of infrastructure including web UIs, the Holo network, and HoloPorts, which together use Holochain in ways that other apps have not yet.

Why is Holo’s Github activity low?

When troubleshooting complex interdependent network issues, it can take many hours or even days of diagnosis to reliably reproduce issues and track them back to their source. This ends up resulting in only a few code changes, some of which are experimental and never even get merged into the mainstream code.

We have been in a pretty heavy diagnostic cycle since we shipped HoloPorts so our past activity metrics of normal development cycles don’t pan out the same. It is difficult to find one metric, or even a group of metrics, to accurately show what we’ve been working on and what we’ve accomplished. Context matters. Other measures of team activity might include the number of messages on our team chats as we coordinate the diagnostics across multiple dev teams. As an example, a cycle of testing with issues identified might look like this:

When we get to a point in the process where we believe we need broader testing with non-team members, we deploy to a pre-production space where invited community testers can test and give further feedback. If a blocker is identified at that stage, we have to go through the entire process again. This is what we have been doing with HP Admin and HoloFuel for the past several weeks. We are finishing a dev cycle today and if our testing goes as expected, we’ll be preparing a new build for our pre-production test environment. We will make further communications about progress on the Holo Forum later this week.

How Can You Help?

In the next few weeks we will be opening up more and more ways for our community to participate. Here is what you can do now and how you can prepare to move forward with Holo and Holochain.

hApp Devs: Install Holochain, hop on the Holochain Forum, attend online meetups, and connect with other teams of devs who are beginning to write new apps in Holochain. Look for updated design specs for core open source hApps that we all need for moving the ecosystem forward.

Hosts: Get on the Holo Forum and start finding 2–3 other hosts that are in aligned time zones and coordinate some testing times. Respond to any survey or sign up requests for team testing when you receive the links.

Marketers and Biz Dev Folks: Create channels on the Holochain Forum and reach out to our growth team about 3rd party grants you think are perfect for distributed app/ distributed infrastructure projects you are excited to develop.

Writers: Contribute to the developer.holochain.org site and to our blogs for both Holochain and Holo. Do you have a submission you’d like to make? Reach out to social@holo.host.

Graphic Designers and Animators: Help Holo and Holochain share complicated messages that are more digestible, and more fun! Share cool related design projects with us — like this Animated Holo Cloud by sending links to social@holo.host (projects should be open-source or commons licensed).

Keep strong and take care of yourself and those around you. Adversity can bring us together and have us be our better selves. Let us take that opportunity together. Thank you.




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Holo is a distributed cloud hosting platform for peer-to-peer Holochain apps (hApps); building a better web. Powered by @Holochain