Running Half a Small Tech Company's Infrastructure for Fun


published 2022-12-18 16:00

updated 2022-12-18 19:20

For those that don't know, I run, which consists of quite a few services. I primarily run these for myself, so I feel like I'm in control of my life's data, but also so that I don't have to depend on any corporation for what I consider important software. Some of these are open to my friends, and are public facing services, like:

However, like all tech companies, this accounts for a minority of the services necessary to keep the business functioning. Things like monitoring, VPN access to internal data and services, CI pipelines, password managers, email notifications, DNS records. Of course, most companies recognizing this is not the thing that will help turn a profit, pay other companies to do it. I decided to do it all myself, because apparently I enjoy larp-ing as an SRE in my free time 🤭

Some of these services include:

  • Wireguard
  • Shaarli
  • Taskwarrior Server
  • Pass
  • Wallabag
  • Seafile

It's interesting to note the difference in dynamics. Companies require a service that they develop, deploy, and then monetize. In doing so they require various other services. I have nothing of the sort, though I too must trade my skills for money. In operating my life I've found these tools help me. I think they could help other people too.

However, I've now gotten to the point where I'm generally replicating industry standards for no discern-able reason. Is there a good reason to hook up my gitea instance to a woodpecker instance, so I can automate the updating of the other services I run? It's cool! I seem to enjoy doing it! Sure, but is it enriching my life? Eh, not so much. It does help my career, though. Overall, I'm not convinced anymore. Yes, I care about privacy, and having been running these services for the better part of a decade now, I can confidently continue my lifestyle without needing to pay for services I'm happy to run myself. There's also bigger fish to fry. As an individual, I've already maxxxed the amount I can withdraw from Big Tech™ firms. In a certain sense, my personally victory has already been achieved. There's no further meaning I can derive from optimizing the alternative.

Which is not to say I don't depend on people. Hurricane Electric does my DNS records, Cyberia runs my VM instances, all the open source software I'm using was developed by thousands of people across the globe. None of what I have done would be possible without all of these people.

Which brings me to my next problem: If it's not just sticking it to big tech corps that brings meaning to my life, what should all of this infrastructure be helping me accomplish? I have lots of smaller projects, generally of artistic nature. There's always further processes I can employ to better Quantify myself, of which Kitaab is the center piece. I could contribute to some of the software I use as well. But ultimately I'm still figuring it out. I achieved the Invincible System, and Quantified Self is at a point that I'm quite happy with (annotations excepted). Kitaab functions well, but is in desperate need of a clean up / more linking. My website is in shambles, but I'd want to re-write it entirely. There's mutual aid related work I could do. I guess I'm taking suggestions? I feel like that generally doesn't end well.