Working on Manyverse for Community Networks

Continuing the discussion from Which mobile end user devices are used within your community networks?:

Thanks @Eric from raising that up.

For the last year we have been in conversations with @andrestaltz, the creator and core developer of Manyverse.

Manyverse is a social network that doesn’t rely on remote servers to work, but instead uses the power of the users’ devices as a way to power the network, and in that way safeguarding the information the users share from prying eyes.

Andre has been adding an amazing set of features to support the use in rural, offline or not well interconnected environments:

  1. local discovery and exchange: so users that are within the same network can exchange information at full speed without relying on the internet
  2. storage space management: to be able to remove some of the resources being shared in the social network in a way to limit the amount of disk space that it takes (cause phones are always struggling with it)
  3. tested in some low end devices

And there were some contributions that are already making it a compelling tool for communities:

  1. you can already consume audio and image messages
  2. you can publish images, though not yet audio (soon…)

The purpose of this work is to try to get the features that are most needed within the community networks, to try to use them and test them to see its use, and maybe shape it so it can include our communities’ need.

Also, test the app in the contexts that are going to be used:

  1. resource constrained
  2. devices with non-supported operating systems, with limited resources

What we are trying to do now is to see which devices of the ones that are used within community networks are the less capable, to try to procure some and test it in them: Which mobile end user devices are used within your community networks?

If anyone is interested in trying it out, please go for it, and let me know if I can be of any help.

Will update on this thread on the progress we make.


Hey @nicopace, thanks for creating this thread! And I’m happy to answer questions in this community if people have any. :slight_smile:


@andrestaltz @nicopace @Eric I have been playing with this and have been looking for the most frictionless way of getting this out on peoples’ handsets in an offline setting.

The problem is to help those without the attentiveness or knowledge (vast majority of people) to avoid scams and theft.

These are the current main avenues that I’m exploring:

  1. Preloaded on branded handsets that we sell / rent: this seems to be the only real fool-proof way. Also easy to ship out devices with as much of the badware as possible stripped - and to do this in consultation with communities to ensure it has things that align with them.

  2. A fork of- or F-Droid itself, with curated apps. A variation on the above - but this could be the opening of a can of worms - or a huge administrative burden that needs to get funded or sustained.

  3. Sharing an APK via Whatsapp, Telegram or another messaging service that allows attachments. Most Android phones will only ask once for said service, so updates can be delivered without warnings popping up - but again this opens the risk of scam apps capitalizing on the precedent set.

  4. Just making the APK available for download. This runs the risk of conditioning people to disregard warnings and might open them up to scams or theft.

Quite frankly, I still don’t know which is best. I am leaning toward 4. and using it as a teaching opportunity - but from experience I know how difficult it is to get the message across. Ie. exposure to the warning page normalizes it - and it shouldn’t. So I guess it depends on how many other apps people are dependent on, such as local wallets, etc.

If there are other apps that people want - then the F-Droid or F-Droid fork approach might be more feasible. Which is probably cheaper than 1. which is the way the “big guys” do it.

I do wish that we could mature this community to play like a multinational, the only trick is to invest the time to do the business modelling and planning, and set up the agreements - so that the whole thing can eventually be sustained with sales revenues. But this has been somewhat undermined with other multinationals selling below cost so as to gain online customers. So perhaps a more feasible approach would be to partner with those other multinationals, but the problem is that they are often part of the problem - and this gives them the balance of power in this, which they do not deserve. In an ideal world they would, rather than just forcing their global agenda equally on everyone, be regulated as platforms and mandated to work with orgs who consult in a credible and accountable way with the communities where things are to be deployed,

  1. Integrating app sharing and curation into manyverse.

This is probably the “free market” version of all of the above, which would remove any bureaucratic bottlenecks… but then would shift the balance of power to a single application developer which would run a huge risk of becoming just another multinational corporation with a global agenda.

Hey dagelf! Thanks for the thoughtful comment, I’m busy right now so I’ll answer you properly soonish, but for now I can comment at least that we do have APK files available for direct download (this is quite new, a few weeks old) at Hope this helps!


Andre Medeiros

On Fri, Nov 13, 2020, at 10:42, Coenraad Loubser via Community Networks wrote:


13 November

  1. Integrating app sharing and curation into manyverse.

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