Thanks for the work you do on Tor. I really like the idea of “State of the Onion”, but for the last two iterations now, I’ve been very bummed out by the fact Tor uses very proprietary tech to make it happen, when there are good FOSS alternatives.
I’ve complained to @anarcat about this extensively in private, but I’m happy this post gives me a chance to air out my grievances.
Overall, I think there is a clear contradiction between the overall goals of Tor and the use of proprietary tools.
Having been a core member of the DebConf Video Team for years now, I certainly understand the challenges of organising a conference and how streaming live can be troublesome.
One of @anarcat’s argument in favor of Streamyard (the proprietary solution you are currently using for SOTO) is that it is not realistic for Tor to host and master the tooling to make SOTO happen. Although I respectfully disagree, I understand the argument he makes. Still, this does not mean proprietary streaming solutions are your only options!
Matrix + Jitsi worked very well for the last two FOSDEM, and I’m sure the kind folks at matrix.org would be more than happy to set you with a similar offering if you were to ask them.
Jitsi itself it also able to stream to RTMP endpoints (Youtube, etc.) and could be used in conjunction with a public Peertube instance to create a very simple and easy to use solution for such a short-lived conference.
Otherwise, great commercial offerings using FOSS tech exist. The DebConf Video Team works extensively with Carl Karsten at Next Day video. Using the FOSS stack we’ve developed together over the years, they have hosted dozens of conferences in the USA, in Australia and online. To be clear, I have no business affiliations with them, other than being glad Carl & folks use our stack and work with us in maintaining it.
I cannot commit alone for this, but there’s also a chance the DebConf Video Team could be convinced to host SOTO for you, using the aforementioned FOSS stack.
If in the end you decide to keep using Streamyard, I think you should at least consider making the SOTO livestream available on platforms that aren’t solely focused on spying on people and stealing their data (Youtube, Twitter and Facebook – the last one being the worst offender!).
Streamyard lets you simultaneously publish your livestream to commercial platforms and to a custom RTMP endpoint. With very little effort and costs, Tor could host a stream using the awesome nginx-rtmp module (it’s even packaged in Debian!). You could even decide to stream to a public Peertube instance if you don’t want to set up nginx. Either of these two options would give privacy-focused people a viable alternative.