Welcome to Nomagic, an informal entity (formerly a Limited company) which aims to provide private individuals and small associations with a viable, responsible, and committed alternative to the Web services provided by big IT corporations. Located near London (UK), we aim to be an accessible and trustful partner of your digital life (which is still Your life).
The big picture
“Freedom is something that dies unless it’s used.” – Hunter S. Thompson
We aim at helping you to achieve data ownership and full control over what we believe is yours and yours only. By providing you with access to various FOSS-based (Free and Open Source Software) Web services at a competitive rate, we want to do our share in getting an Internet that is not constantly looking back at us, scrutinizing and selling every piece of information we produce, whether directly or indirectly (metadata). This is all the more a concern as Internet has become an ever-growing part of our life, and pretty much all of people’s data are shared between quite a few multinational companies. The reason for this is mostly historical, with early Internet companies managing to attract people decades ago by offering free (as in free beer) access to their services under their terms of conditions, that usually result in making the end-user the ‘product’ to sell to others. We think that such an hegemony is not healthy for a fair and respectful Internet, and by extension, to society. While big companies are free to pursue their bid for growth with larger profits, this has raised several issues, such as:
- they have become targets for easy implementation of mass surveillance, which we believe will not help to better our societies but only contribute to reduce our freedom, and put us at the mercy of whoever has access to this tremendous power. And of course, this will result in self-imposed censorship, as is the case in autocratic regimes.
- they tend to trap users into their products by deliberately making them incompatible with others, violating standard protocols along the way (ex: XMPP chat protocol).
We strongly believe that full transparency and irrevocable rights over people’s own data is the only way ahead for an ethical future. We believe people’s data is their own, and should not be monetized and resold to third parties. To put it simply, freedom and privacy are too valuable to be bargained with.
Our endeavour is to be part of a larger and growing network of hosters sharing fundamental values of openess, exchange, and respect. This collective was initiated by Framasoft in 2016 under the acronym CHATONS (French for KITTENS).
The acronym was created playfully to describe core values and form the word of one the most viewed content on the Web.
Internet is in danger
Known privacy infringement laws and worldwide spying are very real, and represent a danger to our most basic freedom: the right to privacy and the freedom of speech. Net neutrality, the most sacred principle of Internet, which is also the main reason for its success, is regularly challenged by private entities who tend to see Internet only as a source of profit. We believe those changes, imposed on citizens without consultation or provision of a choice, are shaking the foundations of our societies as a whole. While we hope these laws won’t last forever, we also believe it is everyone’s responsibility to take a stand against this trend, by bringing our own changes. As citizens and consummers, we are all part of the system, and our actions and choices (or the lack of them) have consequences.
There is an ever-growing threat to net neutrality, partly pushed by some ever-greedy ISP (Internet Service Provider). Did you know that in the US multiple ISPs have been caught for editing the web pages you are browsing in order to inject advertisement? Can you imagine how dangerous that is for freedom and privacy? Tomorrow your content could be modified on the fly to apply censorship or disinformation without you even knowing it… Could be your email as well! Well, maybe non-tampered Internet will be available for an extra fee then! Scary, right?!
What can we do?
“Change is hard at the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” – John Charles Polanyi
Only the use of Free Software provides the most basic requirements for a digital trust relationship. More than that, they provide a virtuous circle in the development of software programs, as a Free Software program can be used, studied, modified, and redistributed freely.
Why shouldn’t you trust a software that does not provide its own sources? Because you can’t make any improvement or correction, and have absolutely no way of knowing if that piece of software does not contain malicious code, a backdoor, etc. It’s like buying a house in which you would not be allowed to change anything, with some rooms closed with no key to open them, and possibly a backdoor without the key required to open or lock it. It is that simple, really.
No software is ‘perfect’, and bugs and vulnerabilities can be found regardless of the software licensing model. The Wikipedia page on open source and closed source software confirms this. However we also know that open source communities are usually very fast to react to vulnerabilities and provide a patch publicly available within hours.
In the last few years, we have noticed a growing number of concerned citizens having an interest in their privacy and taking back ownership of their digital lives. Nomagic is committed to providing those people with a full set of applications and best practices to broaden their use of the Internet without being a product while contributing to a small local business.
Online data is real life information, we offer you the possibility to keep ownership over it.
Closer to the local loop
We would be happy to have you onboard and to accompany you in mastering our tools and services (when possible). If you live near London, your system administrator has probably never been so close, and we hope to meet regularly to chat and exchange.
As said earlier, we want a decentralized Internet with services we can trust and rely on without having to tradeoff our privacy. We have an objective of a maximum of 15000 users, with as many services as possible. We want to stay relatively small and be able to meet with as many users as possible.
How would it make a difference?
We are not alone! Many passionate and concerned people feel the same way, and there are already many other companies / associations that are in the process of proposing great alternative services that relying exclusively on free software, making a point of keeping your data private.
Nomagic aims to be part of that ‘network’.
What can you expect?
We have implemented a number of services for our users to access. You can see the full catalog with more details here.
- Email using any mail client or our webmail SOGo. Our email solution is a Postfix / Dovecot server.
- Chat via XMPP or Matrix. Our XMPP server is OpenFire, and Matrix is implemented via Synapse and mxisd servers.
- Webmail/ Address Book / Calendar using SOGo
- File Hosting using Seafile client or via the Web Interface, with OnlyOffice integration for online editing
- Temporary file hosting using Lufi
- Calendar/ event tool using Framadate
- Taking notes using Turtl
- Collaborative text edition using Etherpad-lite and CodiMD
- Read-later online tool using Wallabag
- And many more!
Under the hood
- Our infrastructure servers are hosted by Hetzner, a German hosting provider.
- Our services status page is hosted on a virtual machine at Rackspace (Hong Kong datacenter). This allow the status page to be reachable in case of a major service interruption.
- We use Proxmox hypervisor on a GNU/Linux Debian distribution.
- We make use of LXC containers and Qemu-KVM virtual machine for our infrastructure.
- The infrastructure is monitored locally and off-site for reachability.
- We have full weekly backups for everything except Lufi and Lutim (temporary file and image share) data.
- We have daily snapshots of all containers/ virtual machines.