The future of the Witness Hotbox

6 months ago

future-smoke-witness-hotbox.png

I want to see SMOKE have a low barrier to entry when it comes to keeping this network decentralized. This is done in two ways, one having more witnesses and two having more nodes holding the chain data. The latter is a project I plan to start up soon and make running an RPC node as simple as possible so that even people new to running Linux servers have the chance to support the distribution of the chain data.

The former, the Witness Hotbox, is the focus of my SMOKE development at this time. Version one is out and is very easy to convert your existing Witness into the Docker environment. The reason for using Docker is the repeatably and consistency it gives us witnesses. If it works for me, I know with certainty that it will work exactly the same way for you on your Linux server. Any errors I fix will be fixed for you after an update.

This same repeatably benefits new Witnesses that have never run a Linux server or a Witness of any kind. Not only does it allow us all to keep the errors low but it also gives us an opportunity to make the entry into Witnessing super easy! In the current version of the Witness Hotbox, there are a lot of steps to spin up the Witness from scratch. Less than without it but still way too many for the average person.

As much as I would love forever Witness on SMOKE to know C++, Python, Javascript, and five plus years running Linux servers, I know that is a pipe dream. I don't think that matters, to be honest, every nerd entered into the Linux and development sphere somehow and maybe having a smooth onboarding process for SMOKE Witnesses is precisely the step someone needs to fuel the fires and get them interested in learning Linux or c++, etc.

Where I am Taking the Witness Hotbox:

My goal with the witness Hotbox is to make running a witness as comfortable as possible. In the end, I want a someone new to witnessing to be able to enter their username, and key then forgets the rest. It's an ambitious goal and where will be the need for user input for things like the wallet in the beginning. However, the fewer steps we have a new Witness take to help decentralize this blockchain the better.

Let me know what you think. This topic has been on my mind ever since releasing and seeing how much trouble new users still have even with the Hotbox Docker image. Do you perter an elite group of programmers running the Witnesses or have is open to all users to help increase decentralization?



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Love the idea of more decentralization of the chain, and more opportunity for people to run and understand the technology. Great stuff JR.

I don't mind if witnesses are not developers, although it can help the case if they are. From experience around some of these chains, for witnesses and rpc nodes the main skill is system admin 'sysadmin', (Inter)networking, bash scripting. The top witnesses require good ol' fashioned 'nix admin to never ever miss a block - that's tough to do. Developers have freedom, don't need to be running 24/7, have other 'creative' areas of the mind they need to apply ... they really need good sysadmin around also to do the top stuff.
Of course very rare to find anyone that can be awesome at BOTH - But a solid witness needs mostly old fashioned sysadmin skill; and a developer may very well have the basics of that skill to run a very competent witness as well ...!

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The top witnesses require good ol' fashioned 'nix admin to never ever miss a block

I totally agree that the top twenty need to have a solid base in system administration. A good book for anyone looking to learn about it is called "UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook. This book goes for about 50 USD on Amazon at the moment. It is very much worth the investment.

Developers have freedom, don't need to be running 24/7, have other 'creative' areas of the mind they need to apply

Yeah, this is true. Having the witness software be as stream lined as possible would allow for more focus on the system administration side and in turn will lead to more stable witnesses. At least that is a hope of mine.

I was looking at link about running a node. Never done it before. Can you explain the difference in running a node and being a wittness?

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oh the node question, yea that gets complicated. you have witness nodes, p2p nodes, rpc nodes , and ipfs nodes (for video content for example). So each one has it's own job in providing content to the end user. (that involves front ends). Witnesses secure the blockchain, with consensus mechanisms. p2p nodes are more like support/data nodes to help speed the transfer of data around the network... rpc nodes are the servers that connect front ends like smoke.io to the blockchain itself.. and ipfs nodes are file storage nodes either ran by end users or corporations to serve files on the interplantary file system.

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graylan explained it really well already. Just think like this: witnesses are the ones confirming the blocks and keeping the blockchain running, nodes are the ones that you contact when you try to get information from the blockchain. So both are necessary to keep the blockchain running and functional.

Good to see witnesses helping other witnesses. The unity will bring the platform to higher heights. Good work!

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I agree! We all must help each other if we want this chain to succeed.

@jrswab please reach out to me on discord. you can find me by going to eostalk.io and clicking on the discord widget in there.

I am @officialfuzzy on there and would like to work with you as we may have specific needs for this.

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Sounds great and thank you for the upvote!

I remember when you were assisting me in setting up my witness that we had discussed something along these lines! I'm definitely glad to see some of your ideas come to fruition. I'm a bit late getting to this post, but I assure you, I read it thoroughly. :)

I've started checking out some guides for C++ and I'm thinking I'll probably refresh myself on Java as well. I don't think I'll bother to learn Python, unless there is something specific I am interested in working on that would warrant me learning it specifically as well.

Now that I've dealt with my witness for a little period of time, I think that this has both positive and negative aspects. I originally thought it was a majorly positive thing (I think I commented that somewhere on your early on posts or something.. maybe it was in discord.. but now that I've given it time, I'm unsure as to what would be best. I only say this because for me personally, I know that having to struggle and get assistance actually made me care more about the witness and doing something meaningful with it. Had I been able to just plug in my username and such and had it up and running right off the rip.. That may not have been the case or I may not have cared to the extent that I now do.

I think investing time and energy, seriously, and caring about what is happening.. is what makes people become truly attached to an idea or concept and begin to care about it a great deal. It's funny to watch my own opinions shift with time, but as is the way of the universe, right? :)

Peace and Love!

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I understand that the more we struggle through something the more attached we get to making sure it runs well. So making this as easy as possible may create more decentralization while in turn making less caring witnesses. It is a fine line to walk, we don't want elitism but also do not want incompetence.

I would love to have this just be a plug and play type of system but do keep in mind that may be impossible. However, the easier it is to get running the better the chance of keeping the elitism out of the blockchain.

Thanks for the well though out comment. As I work on simplifying this I need to find a way to have the witness fell like they put in some work while still not making them jump through a hoops just to get the witness online. I am open to all ideas so please feel free to message me on Discord if you have one.

God bless.

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I feel that as long as these cookie-cuttered witnesses have secured nodes, we will be alright. I suppose it would help to have more nodes available and running for the network tbh.

There's also the witness voting aspect. Obviously people will decide who deserves to be higher up in the rankings and I suppose no one would really be voting for a witness who has no idea what they're really doing, just running it for earnings. The community would probably address these points and vote accordingly.

Thank you for the reply as well, glad to be able to have a back and forth with you about it all. I also appreciate you actually reading my comments and giving feedback/input from them. Means a lot! I agree as well, it shouldn't be a stressful hassle, but there should be enough effort to incite feelings of caring and personal investment into it.

Discord is where we first met. ;P We've talked on there on a few occasions and I'm sure we will on many more over the course of time. :)

Peace and Love!

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as long as these cookie-cuttered witnesses have secured nodes, we will be alright.

Yes, and I will never be able to secure a server for someone without logging in myself. If a witness spins up for the money and does not secure their server they could get hacked and loose their funds. It wont effect the network but their wallet.

suppose no one would really be voting for a witness who has no idea what they're really doing

You'd be surprised but as I mentioned above, if someones incompetence does shine though then people will tend to jump ship to another witness.

This is all just my two SMOKEs though 😉

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This is all just my two SMOKEs though

I love that saying! lol! Very slick there sir. ;)

It wont effect the network but their wallet

Ah, I was unaware of this. I thought that unsecured nodes could potentially compromise the integrity of the blockchain. I guess I'm still green when it comes to all this though, so the more I learn, the better. I suppose that's a very good thing then, as long as the network/blockchain is safe, I guess it would only hurt someone personally, so if that's the case.. Then I guess I wouldn't mind a shit ton of cookie cutter witnesses to help the network. If they lose their funds, that would be their own fault.

Thank you for the information and the reply, as always, it's good to interact with you!

Peace and Love! :)

More decentralization, more betterness😤

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P R E A C H !

I love the name you have picked for the project to convert the witness to a Docker environment. It will be interesting to see how user friendly one can make this. Good luck with your endeavor!

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Thanks a ton mate! Hope it can bring more witnesses to the platform.

That's a great project your planning!

I want a someone new to witnessing to be able to enter their username, and key then forgets the rest

I you can get this done, then decentralization really shouldn't be any problem on this blockchain.

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DPOS is 4 or five times as decentralized as bitcoin according to dan larimer, because bitcoin is controlled by four or five mining pools that together compromise over 51% of the stake. So the logic is that if those pools got together and colluded they could usurp the whole blockchain. I personally think it would be hilarious to see witnessing become so turnkey, the only prob is that if anything went wrong w the node they might have a very hard time figuring out what to do about it at first, but yeah i think its a great learning experience and dockerized containers and witness arrays should probably be taught to 5 year olds in school so they can do cool stuff when they grow up and gain some perspective on the world:)

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I personally think it would be hilarious to see witnessing become so turnkey, the only prob is that if anything went wrong w the node they might have a very hard time figuring out what to do about it at first

watch them just delete the server and start fresh ;)

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That is the goal!

I'd vote for you if you were not in business with Jerry Banfield, scum by association in my book and not worth a vote.

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jr isn't scum. get to know the dude before you slander people.

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He works with Jerry, that is all anyone needs to know and understand. Association is association, reasons do not matter. He paired up with him to buy spot 35 on another chain. He didn't earn it and never could doing things as he does. That's why his personal witness isn't top 100 and Jerry's has dropped 3 spots since they teamed up.

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Flagged for misleading information. He didn't buy any witness votes. What have you contributed ? Do you even know what this post is about? He created a docker for witnesses to us with this blockchain. He invested a lot of money into steem and smoke , so correct yourself before your wreck yourself.

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He runs Jerry's witness for a %, that is buying his way into the position. He couldn't make it there of his own ability he had to piggyback on Jerry. I wouldn't use anything made by this guy, flag away. Your opinion is yours, I am just stating facts of his actions.

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You are a witness for smoke? Oh okay. Guess you didn't figure out how to setup the server. let us know if you need help. What you said is not only misleading it's combative. Jrswab stated before , on the blockchain he would turn of the server if jerry did anything wrong. Now, you probably run a witness on steem, you don't like jerry being active, Tough shit. Jerry doesn't want to run his witness anymore and JR is.

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Jerry has already did wrong. I guess you don't understand that.

I don't need to run a witness, there are many great witnesses on both chains already. If good witnesses went away and we were only stuck with the kind like Jerry or those working with him I may need to but I do not.

I'm not money hungry, I don't even self-vote or power down or withdraw on any chain. I am here for the community, not the money.

Why did he pair with Jerry if not for money? Witness 35 has no more power than witness 100 except a little more money.

By the way, what color are your pom poms? You're a pretty good cheerleader for Jr.

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hahaha

drop it bro, no one cares but you and maybe five other people.

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I made a one-line comment, it was your cheerleader who wanted to make it a full conversation. Such is life.

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Possibly, but your one line comment was a jab at me. You could have just ignored this post all together and there would never have been a confrontation by someone that feels your comment is misleading.

Your last message to him:

Why did he pair with Jerry if not for money?

You are right, I did it for money. Money to keep my server online and STEEM more decentralized. Money to give away to minnows creating work that is way undervalued. All in the hope that they stick around STEEM and help cultivate good content for potential investors.

Yes, it's about the money but not for me to get rich.

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I don't really care about his opinion and his flagging made me giggle as I see he is a witness. That is an example of great decentralization and makes me happy he is a turnkey witness with no knowledge of servers or setting up a node, thank you for that.

I am sure the more turnkey people we have the better chance this blockchain has to stay up and running when issues happen. How long did your node take to come back online after HF20?

I've had an open offer to pay for a server for any witness not wanting to self-vote or keep the Steem earned from witnessing. A witness for the people, 100% used for voting sub 500 SP users only.

I guess if you are hurting for money, you do what you have to in order to make ends meet. Doing so doesn't mean it is good for the community at all.

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I do see you don't use @jrswab to self-vote, so I will give you props for that on steemit. Can't say that about many.

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Possibly, but your one line comment was a jab at me. You could have just ignored this post all together

Yes and left people unaware of the fact you are paired with Jerry on another platform. I noticed you omitted that information yourself when you told of your place on Steemit as Witness Jrswab and not Witness Jrswap and 1/2 Jerrybanfield.

People do have the right to know all the facts and make their own choices based on all, not part of the information.

Why did you choose to leave off that you were also part of that witness in your list of accomplishments and experience as a witness?

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Why did you choose to leave off that you were also part of that witness in your list of accomplishments and experience as a witness?

Because I do not see that as my witness. I am open to chat in Discord if you'd like. It would be much better than commenting here. But I understand if you want this in the open. I don't intend to hide anything if I was I would have taken many steps to hide that I was doing all the technical work for Jerry's witness in the first place.

I have no hard feeling against you mate. I find your concerns legitimate. For the record I never said I agreed with what Jerry did in the past on steem.

I'd much rather run my witness and be able to give away as much steem as I can now. Unfortunately, at the level I've been at for the past six months every cent goes back to the server and I have to power down to make the host payments.

I wish you all the best <3

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Fine, you're an alright normal guy. I stand corrected and if you can do good with Jerry's spot than things will be better for all involved.

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Thanks mate. It was good chatting with you. Feel free to DM me anytime.

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i love to hear when people are open minded, jrswab is a really good guy, have been around him a lot in the community and you'll discover this too by talking just like you did with him. appreciate that man.

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I just discorded you, we can talk about a few things.

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Hope you guys worked it out 1-1. Let's not bring STEEM chaos to our chilled SMOKE place! I'm sure we can all contribute and it's needed to stay decentralized. Bad witness will be voted out of here soon enough :)

Great

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Right on!