TL;DR — The arkOS project is being discontinued. Source code will remain available indefinitely and can be used by anyone pursuant to the license.
When I started arkOS back in late 2012, I was moved by the idea of creating a new and innovative software stack and operating system that could bring self-hosted server applications to a wide audience. The vision has always been the same: to give the masses the tools and education they need to properly self-host all of their software needs in one place. This project has spawned many different ideas and micro-projects from many different developers including myself, and has helped contribute (I hope!) to a renewed interest in the decentralized "do-it-yourself" internet we have seen with the rise of projects like Indieweb, Sandstorm, Mastodon and more.
My interest has always been at the crossroads of design and UX with decentralization and privacy. My future projects will most certainly continue along those lines. I must regretfully announce, however, that arkOS will not be among those future projects.
This project has long suffered from a common problem in open source: namely that there is far more work to be done than available developers to do it. arkOS has been my "baby" for a long time, but that's not because I wanted it to be that way! It's clear now that there are simply too many avenues and varying approaches to solving self-hosting, and having one project that seeks to do them all at once has not been able to gather a critical mass of support. Furthermore, as my own professional career in software development continues, I have less and less time to dedicate to a project that is only going to expand in scope and ultimately deviate from the new technologies and approaches I am trying to align with.
Put simply, there are other projects that are better suited to get you to where you want to go for now, and I will never be happy with what I am creating if I know in the back of my mind it's not the best it can be. Rather than continuing to ignore the very serious questions posed by the overly broad scope of this project, I believe it is best that I turn my efforts to more achievable goals.
The Practical Stuff
- If you are looking for a new self-hosted server project to check out, I highly recommend Yunohost. We have shared some very similar approaches to self-hosting in general over the years. The guys there are very smart and nice and they definitely deserve your support and contributions!
- Skylark is not being discontinued. It is going to pivot a bit, though. I'm going to work on separating it more and more from arkOS' existing codebase, into something even more innovative, stable and useful. And heck, even including a free self-hostable version as well. More details on all that soon.
- Source code remains on Github, of course. I am in the process of going through all of my project folders to determine if there is anything I have not already completely open sourced; if so I will make sure to publish it to the Github organization. My hope is that bits and pieces of this project will be able to live on in many others, so please don't hesitate to piece out bits that you think are particularly useful.
- The website and forums for this project will remain online for the near future. The forums may go into read only mode, I haven't quite decided yet. If there is anything you would like to archive from the main site that isn't available already on Github, I guess now would be a good time to do that!
The Personal Stuff
I'd like to give a heartfelt thanks to the entire community that has followed this project over the years. Some people have been around since the very beginning, others have just come across it and have liked the ideas I've tried to propagate. Regardless of how you've arrived here, I want you all to know that being a part of this community has been a very rewarding experience, and I have all of you to thank for that. It has taught me a lot, opened a lot of doors, introduced me to some amazing people and given me many fun memories I will always take with me. My sincere wish is that you will not be too disappointed with this decision, but that you will understand it in your own way. And that you, too, will be able to take something away from arkOS, whether it's a new skill you've learned, a new software suite you've fallen in love with or a new friend you've made out here on the Internets.
And in case it hasn't been made clear already: my core mission of contributing to the open source, privacy and decentralized/distributed software communities will certainly not end here. There are many more ideas I have for more novel and modern approaches to the common problems we encounter, and my current experiences in the professional world of software engineering will play a big part in the things I plan to do in the future.
If you're interested in the new things I've got planned, I invite you to stay connected with me. Check out the list of my social media accounts on my website.
Thank you for coming with me on this journey. ❤️
Onward and upward,