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Kickstarter Endorsement: GIT ANNEX ASSISTANT —

UPDATE: This kickstarter hit $20,000, meaning Joey will be working on this new project for a whole year. I can just imagine the possibilities as it matures and gets done.

Over the course of this year I will occasionally push you to kickstarter projects related to things I think are important to Archive Team‘s goals and mission. I’m not as likely to write these for just any project I like – if you want to check THAT sort of thing out, it’s probably a better idea to just follow me on Kickstarter and see what I’m up to.

Today’s suggested project is GIT-ANNEX ASSISTANT, by Joey Hess. At this moment, there’s about 11 days left to get in on it. He asked for $3000, he has about $13,000, and he wants $20,000. I want him to have it too. This is why.

To understand the power of GIT ANNEX, you need to understand GIT. To understand the power of the GIT ANNEX ASSISTANT, you need to understand neither. Let’s do what we can.

GIT is, at its heart, a version control system, allowing multiple people or entities to work with code and ensure nobody steps on anybody, changes can be reversed, and that progression, rather than mistakes and screaming, are the order of the day. Programmers love git. They love it enough that a site that does nothing but make git respositories public, called GITHUB, is a hugely popular site. But you’re not a programmer, or you work alone and don’t need this. Fine. Stick with me.

Normally, with GIT, you need to “check in” everything you’re coding into a GIT Repository. This is fine when we’re talking about a few dozen or hundred of megabytes of code. But, and we’re making a jump here – GIT isn’t really just for coders and developers. GIT can track any data. And that any data can be photos, videos, music, CD-ROM images, you name it. And with that comes the power of tracking changes, of sharing updates, and of undoing silly things done by others or by yourself. But you really don’t want some poor GIT respository to hold every single point of data being tracked – not when you’re using, say, GITHUB or another public repository unwilling to deal with that level of stuff and preferring to stick to the “keeping track of how it is being handled” job. Well, GIT ANNEX does this very thing – instead of the repository having to keep a copy of, say, every file in all your hard drives, you can instead use GIT ANNEX to say “just keep track of the description of these files” and that’s all it’ll do.

Am I losing you? Keep with it.

I am not a developer, not a programmer. I don’t use GIT at the moment for any of my projects (although plenty of Archive Team members do, and I and many others benefit from its use). What excites me about GIT ANNEX is how it fundamentally tracks the backup and availability of any data you own, and allows you to share data with a large or small audience, ensuring that the data survives

This is where we get to GIT ANNEX ASSISTANT.

GIT ANNEX ASSISTANT, built on top of these rock solid building blocks that already exist and which are in use around the world, will bridge that last final and critical gap from programmer-nerd-wonkery to next-generation-data-availability for the end user. It will enable you to tell this graphic interface to “just do it”, and ignore all the amazing stuff underneath that’s making sure stuff works for you.

If you’re stuck back on the “woah, hold on, what exactly is GIT ANNEX there, bucko” phase, then feel free to browse around the GIT ANNEX site. Joey Hess has done an amazing job explaining this utility.

But GIT ANNEX ASSISTANT will allow you to use all this cloud technology for what it promises, instead of what it delivers.

Now Hold Up.

Did the dude who wrote Fuck The Cloud just endorse cloud storage?

Well yes, yes I did.

Because GIT ANNEX (and therefore GIT ANNEX ASSISTANT) makes it so that you can make sure your data is on a bunch of clouds, and local storage too, meaning that you don’t have to trust any of those fuckers, including yourself. Fuck the Cloud before it Fucks you! GIT ANNEX ASSISTANT will be tracking things for you, asking you to plug in drives when needed, and retrieving your data.

Oh, but even better. It allows you to declare data in such a way that a bunch of you can share file repositories, not unlike Dropbox or an FTP site, so that everyone gets access to the data, changes are tracked, and so on.

Joey is fantastically cheap. I went over this whole project and his lifestyle with him, and $20k gets him full-time on this project for a full year. He’ll be going through the list and coding up greater platform access, improving GIT ANNEX ASSISTANT to be even easier, and a whole host of related projects. This is a fantastic bargain.

As I write this, he has $13,000 and 11 days to get to his goal. I am endorsing him and telling you this will help the world get away from obfuscated, cheap-ass and unregulated cloud storage, and back to you being in control of your shit without your shit taking control of you.

Here’s a link to the kickstarter page. He has my full endorsement.


Categorised as: Archive Team

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  1. Bruno says:

    If you want to check THAT sort of thing out, it’s probably a better idea to just follow me on Kickstarter and see what I’m up to.

    Except Kickstarter doesn’t seem to have a “follow” button anywhere on the profile pages. (I could be that does and I’m sort of stupid, but I couldn’t find it.)

    To follow someone who isn’t your FB friend, the trick is to tweak their profile address. Change the “/profile/” portion to “/profiles/”, and add a “/follow” to the end. In your case, that means:


  2. Greer Watson says:

    Since I’m not sure you got around to checking the later comments to your last post, I’m copying to this one.

    We at Fanlore Wiki (a project of the Organization for Transformative Works) very much appreciate your offer to help us with our project to document FortuneCity fansites. We really *need* your help, because you’ve stored the files in a format we don’t know how to access. MeeDee did manage to download one of the .tar files, but got stuck at that point. (She also commented to your last post, where she provided more detail.)

    Also, as the archivist for the Forever Knight Website Archive (, I’m looking for a number of missing files (pages/images) to complete our collection of FortuneCity sites for our fandom. We want to put the sites back up, and it would obviously be nicer if they were complete.

    I realize you are a busy man, but you also obviously know a lot more about computers than any of us. You offered your help–and we need it.

  3. Matt McClure says:

    Is git-annex assistant open source? I see that Joey has been blogging about it, and I’d assume from his past projects that he’d open the source, but I can’t find the source anywhere.

  4. […] thought I should instead work on it for a full year and really do the idea justice. Jason Scott was especially enthusiastic about this idea. So I added new goals and eventually it got […]