An exciting update about Owncast

Today in our periodic team sync-up call I announced to the Owncast team that we have been awarded a grant by the NLnet Foundation to support work around federation and ActivityPub.

This is super exciting, as NLnet have proven to be a steward of openness, standards and open source. Having approval from NLnet and allowing Owncast to join that community of fantastic projects really makes me believe that Owncast is going the right direction and caring about the right things.

Our project page on NLNet’s site is still empty, but it’s there!

While it’s still early days, and we’re getting our goals, approach and roadmap worked out, the major tent pole items I’m looking to address with this work is the following:

  • Simply allowing people to “follow” Owncast servers for notifications and inline content, essentially replacing our stop-gap bot that posts on behalf of servers if they opt into the directory.
  • Support interoperability with PeerTube so Owncast content can show up in PeerTube interfaces, and possibly be able to show up in their search index.
  • Use this as an open building block to allow people to build their own directories and communities to aggregate collections of Owncast servers. This is something that have been asked of us and instead of building an Owncast-specific way of doing this (like we’ve done with we can utilize standards, allowing people to follow any number of Owncast servers and build whatever kind of interfaces around that.

Things might change as the project is kicked off and more is learned, but this gives us the building blocks to take advantage of federation when future features get added to Owncast such as recordings being rendered inline, or scheduled events showing up in the right places so people know when to tune in to a live stream. If you have any ideas how Owncast content can live hand-in-hand with other federated services, please reach out!

A big thank you to everyone who has supported Owncast, has setup an Owncast instance, or hung out watching an Owncast-powered live stream. Your feedback, support and content continues to push the project forward and allow us to make moves like this knowing that if we do a good job, real people will benefit from it.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions feel free to drop by our community chat.