Owncast Newsletter July 2024

In This Issue

A Note From The Editor

Welcome back, dear reader! Perhaps you thought I'd taken a trip to the underworld or been distracted by a small, shiny object and simply wandered off, but no...the "back in early June" should have been "back to prepping a newsletter in early June", and it did indeed take much of the month to do. But, here I am and there you are.

This newsletter's going to be a bit on the short side. It's not that there aren't things happening in the world of Owncast, but commenting on new pull requests in the Github repo doesn't make for riveting reading.

It's belated, but it's still worth remarking that Owncast turned 4 while I was on hiatus. That'll be one of our two features this issue. The other will be the streamer feature with Operation Puppet, which is seriously not your stereotypical streamer.

Until next issue, keep the streams running!

Owncast, Four Years On

Gabe Kangas, the creator of Owncast, wrote a very special and heartfelt post to his blog on May 23 to mark the 4th anniversary of Owncast's first commit. In there, he notes the heady beginnings of a first month that began with a hastily-created streaming server and ended with S3 integration, chat, and even documentation. He further notes about how the rush of early features and finding a project that meets unspoken needs eventually begins to crystallize into a more disciplined development process and the less glamorous work of paying down the tech debt of past decisions and rebuilding architecture to better fit the roadmap.

The Owncast Newsletter would also like to note that the past four years have been an evolution of an ecosystem. It's not just the streaming server, the chat, and the web interfaces. It's the integration of the Fediverse, a directory of streams, clients for iOS and Roku, and a community dedicated to independent streaming. The goal of Owncast will always be first and foremost around enabling individuals to form their own communities, but the tools of shared community help spread "Owncast culture", and we appreciate and celebrate the work put in by the developers, streamers, and friends in the chat.

This month's featured streamer is Operation: Puppet, the creation of Kevin Blades. Kevin's a professional hand puppet builder and designer, a passion he's been able to pursue full-time since 2019. In addition to puppetry, Kevin's a long-time FOSS enthusiast and self-hoster, and while developing a YouTube channel around his puppet characters and tutorials about puppet building, he encountered Owncast. A presence on commercial social media is still pretty important to a small business these days (editorial note: as a DJ contantly asked for the Instagram I don't have, I empathize), but Kevin's preferred home is the Fediverse.

Operation: Puppet typically offers two kinds of streams a week. Wednesdays around 10:00 AM Eastern US time are the puppet building live streams, a show from the studio where Kevin shows his current works-in-progress and has live interaction and Q&A with the viewers. These relaxed and fun environments are great for talking about the craft of puppet making, and people with an interest in puppetry are welcome to join and nerd out. Weekend streams, often on Sunday around 2:00 PM Eastern US time, are game streams feature a vTuber version of Frankie the I.T. Troll, one of Kevin's recurring puppet characters.

I asked Kevin what his feelings were around offering such a unique kind of stream, and he shared with me a remark so heartfelt that it's only appropriate to quote it verbatim:

Now more than ever I think people need a source of fun, silly, lighthearted entertainment.
The power of The Fediverse and by extension Owncast is it puts power into the hands of the users, rather than the whim of some predatory corporate algorithm. We can put into the world the things we want to see, instead of trying to game some inscrutable system.

Jim Henson taught us about kindness and the importance of believing in yourself and never forgetting to enjoy your weirdness. Those things are all alive and well in The Fediverse and the indie web in general.

Kevin's also offering a Peertube channel with an archive of past streams, podcasts, and so much more. You can find these all on the homepage for Operation: Puppet, and while you're there, stop and take a moment to appreciate how adorable the puppets are.

Closing Remarks

Thanks again for helping make this community newsletter a success. This newsletter is the product of, and a service to, the community of Owncast developers, streamers, viewers, and enthusiasts later. We cannot be a sounding board for the community without your support. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with interesting project news, events, or other news of note, and if you'd like to help build the social fabric of the Owncast community, please consider checking out the #owncast-community channel on rocket.chat.

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