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~urbit 101 for serving the people

stp hi urbit

hi stp people! i'm lukas, a musician. i'm not associated with urbit, besides following the project for ~2 years, having my own planet (~pinsyt-nossub) and being active on the network.

i'm doing this write-up, because i've been wanting to do do something like it for a while. i finally onboarded to urbit in 2022, after the L2 rollout and stumbled upon the https://stp.world group on urbit yesterday, right before going to bed.

i hope this is a helpful 101 for those that would like to start exploring or using urbit.

what is urbit

go to urbit.org and read a bit and then come back.

there's a lot of docs, but basically, my daily driver urbit looks somewhat like this:

my urbit

or like this:

my urbit

and you can find stuff like this:

max zoom maximalists

and there's cool communities like this one and all sorts of other nooks and crannies.

right now on urbit, you can:

  • create or join groups to chat with people, or dm them
  • post text with markdown formatting, images (urls ending in jpg or png render automatically) in "notebooks" (blogs?) or "collections" (moodboards?)
  • create a microblog on urbit that automatically posts to a website where people can subscribe
  • vote on stuff as a group
  • create proof of attendance tokens called gorae. somebody smart called them "nfts without global consensus"
  • learn hoon, write your own apps and distribute them directly on the network
  • gossip
  • hang out
  • and much more! and soon to be even much more! have i mentioned, that it's all p2p? goodbye facebook, goodbye discord, goodbye big companies! now we only have to make ISPs publicly owned entities and we're good!

anyway.

how to start using urbit

comets

you can check out the p2p network completely for free with a temporary identity called a comet please note that this is more like a throwaway account, so don't start building on this. (also note, that some communities might not accept comets)

planets

you can get yourself a permanent pseudonymous identity to make yourself a digital home on your computer, self-hosted or through a hosting provider. i got my urbit id (also called a @p or planet) for free at imperceptible.computer (again, not affiliated or anything)

groups

if you want to post a link to something on urbit, it starts like this:

web+urbitgraph://

a full link to a group looks like this:

web+urbitgraph://group/~pinsyt-nossub/mind-dump

and is rendered like this:

group link render

you can click it and join the group. references also work for messages, links to chats, notebooks etc.

first of all, here are a couple of very essential groups:

Urbit Community

very good starting place. there's a help chat and a general discussion chat. you can read the backlog and people are friendly, also towards comets.

web+urbitgraph://group/~bitbet-bolbel/urbit-community

Group Discovery

this is where i found out about STP! there's no central registry of groups, but this is as close as it gets.

web+urbitgraph://group/~rondev/group-discovery

Serving the People

guess you know more about this one than i do!

web+urbitgraph://group/~nibtud-bidsyt/serving-the-people

The Forge

web+urbitgraph://group/~middev/the-forge

has a collection of apps in it. people develop and publish here, so it's a nice place to find new apps to try out. please note, that there is no centralized "app store", so there might be more apps out there that are not in this group.

(yes, you can make an app just for you and your friends)

Foundation

urbit foundation. please note that they have a grants program. from my pleb understanding, they are currently looking for good ways to onboard people.

web+urbitgraph://group/~wolref-podlex/foundation

if you like exploring on your own, the groups above should be a great starting point.

i'd also like to especially mention

networked-subject

web+urbitgraph://group/~matwet/networked-subject

~sitful-hatred was very helpful by providing guides on his website and also troubleshooting a bunch of issues i had when i moved my ship from my computer to a vps. thanks.

at the end of this post there is a list with a lot of groups in no particular order for you to check out. it's not complete or anything, but let's move on for now.

apps

you can find apps, either by searching for them on the start screen on top, where it says "Search" by looking for the name of the developer (for example, ~paldev)… but how would you know the developers name?

as mentioned, above, go to this group:

web+urbitgraph://group/~middev/the-forge

and you'll find a collection called "foundry".in there, you'll find a list of apps that you can click to install.

if you read this on urbit: check out the list below! you can just click it and it will install. (give it a couple of moments)

Escape

web+urbitgraph://~dister-fabnev-hinmur/escape/

This one's a different interface for browsing groups, chatting etc. allows you to make folders for your groups, among other things.

%transit

web+urbitgraph://~mister-dister-dozzod-dozzod/transit/

Once a day, something marvelous happens. Don't want to spoil it.

pals

web+urbitgraph://~paldev/pals/

add people and have them be your pals! you can see who you added, who added you, and it displays a smiley face if both of you added each other. seems very simplistic, but this works together with other apps (escape, rumors… i guess more soon)

rumors

web+urbitgraph://~paldev/rumors/

this one's fun. basically you can post text messages anonymously on a wall. you can see messages your friends AND their friends see. literally gossip.

Studio

web+urbitgraph://~tirrel/studio/

~tirrel are working on a usd payment gateway so people can basically do substack here (and probably more). studio already allows you to set up a blog that posts to clearnet. if you're reading this on urbit, you can go to https://pinsyt-nossub.arvo.network/mind-dump and read it over there. i hope markdown rendering will work soon.

Gora

web+urbitgraph://~laddys-dozzod-dalten/gora/

%gora allows you to creat proof of attendance tokens. someone described it very nicely today as "nfts without global consensus". very easy to create and hand to people, who then can display them publicly. if i understand this correctly, you should also be able to use this for gating content, but i haven't tried it yet or this functionality hasn't been built yet.

Astrolabe

web+urbitgraph://~dister-midlev-mindyr/astrolabe/

this one gives you information about urbit azimuth numbers. what's that? your @p is a representation of an azimuth number! 0 is ~zod. type in a number or type in a @p and see what it does. this one i use a lot lately for my data sonification stuff.

Handshake

web+urbitgraph://~hodzod-walrus/handshake/

"Confirm Urbit IDs via QR code." for irl urbit-gatekeeping

web+urbitgraph://~magped-magped-rabsef-bicrym/orca/

lets you bind together chats that are on different groups. Basically this lets different groups share a chat.

Invisible Networks 2022

web+urbitgraph://~tocrex-holpen/inet2022/

writing challenge that's already over for this year. app was built to submit and display content. very beautiful.

docs

web+urbitgraph://~pocwet/docs/

lets you access documentation of your installed apps, if available.

canvas

web+urbitgraph://~dister-norsyr-torryn/canvas/

remember canvas on reddit? yeah, you can do your own collaborative canvas stuff on urbit.

ballot

web+urbitgraph://~livdel-binmun-lomder-librun/ballot/

"An app that allows you to vote with other ships. Built by Holium."

crow

web+urbitgraph://~magped-magped-rabsef-bicrym/crow/

if you ".", it "caw caw". a chat-bot or more? i'm not sure yet. something i want to explore more.

future

alright, so clearly urbit is working right now and people are building on it.

urbit will change.

i saw a glimpse of what it might be in the future in a public notebook by ~fabled-faster. it was one of those "oh shit" moments, where ideas start to unfold because you glimpsed the underlaying foundations for a moment.

it was these 3 pictures. (sorry for hot-linking ed)

1

2

3

if i'm not wrong, those are mockups for the next (?) groups update interface. urbit is already very cool, but i don't see a reason for DAO's or other communities to keep using proprietary tools to communicate, unless they have very specific needs that somehow depend on old software stacks that need to be used or something along those lines.

a tiny, open source, self-hostable, platform-agnostic p2p OS with a cryptographic identity system baked in, that allows you to associate freely with other nodes and build groups with modular functionalities is something i'm glad to use every day.

there is stuff missing, but you can build the stuff that's missing, if you want to.

thanks for reading, i hope this helps!

~pinsyt-nossub

more groups

web+urbitgraph://group/~habder-pacted/embassy-zone

web+urbitgraph://group/~paldev/group

web+urbitgraph://group/~bollug-worlus/urbit-index

web+urbitgraph://group/~dalten/dalten-collective-public

web+urbitgraph://group/~natnex-ronret/door-link

web+urbitgraph://group/~rabsef-bicrym/hollow-mars-theory

web+urbitgraph://group/~litmus-ritten/iwtf

web+urbitgraph://group/~fabled-faster/storage

web+urbitgraph://group/~fabled-faster/structure

web+urbitgraph://group/~fabled-faster/wind

web+urbitgraph://group/~winlud-dirnet/point-dao

web+urbitgraph://group/~hatryx-lastud/other-life

web+urbitgraph://group/~somlus-savlev/sigils-9786

web+urbitgraph://group/~pinsyt-nossub/sleep-is-death-skull-zzz

web+urbitgraph://group/~bidbel/a

web+urbitgraph://group/~naltyc-wornes-dozzod-dalten/big-urbit-smol-computer

web+urbitgraph://group/~tamlut-modnys/consciousness-and-cosmos

web+urbitgraph://group/~folfer-foldex/dobbsion-acoustic-cluster

web+urbitgraph://group/~pindet-timmut/drainers

web+urbitgraph://group/~pinsyt-nossub/mind-dump

web+urbitgraph://group/~panrut-ragbyl/dusko

web+urbitgraph://group/~nildys/the-eightfold-path

web+urbitgraph://group/~lodsum-rilner/emil-graphics

web+urbitgraph://group/~rocdel-napsec/endproject

web+urbitgraph://group/~navluc-latmes/graphic-design

web+urbitgraph://group/~tocrex-holpen/invisible-networks-2022

web+urbitgraph://group/~ripwen-sabrup/max-zoom-photos-jpg

web+urbitgraph://group/~wannux-laptex/mental-wellness

web+urbitgraph://group/~norsyr-torryn/hispanohablantes

web+urbitgraph://group/~nibset-napwyn/remote-life

web+urbitgraph://group/~nartes-fasrum/urbytes

web+urbitgraph://group/~todset-partug/urmetica

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