Mintter, an Open Hypermedia System for the Web.

Authors: Alexandr Burdiyan, Horacio Herrera, Julio García, Eric Vicenti, Gabriel Herrero-Beaumont
Sites: mintter.com, hyper.media
Hypertext serves as our primary medium for thought and communication. With the advent of the web, it encapsulated the capabilities for these functions, simplifying the complex hypermedia systems developed from the '60s to the '80s. The web emphasized networking and decentralization, democratizing information access and winning the hypertext race.
However, in its current state, the web falls short of realizing its potential as the ultimate medium for thinking and communication. It has led us to rely on centralized platforms like Twitter and Instagram, driven by central planning. Unfortunately, these centralized structures struggle to contend with the intricate dynamics of our digital societies, stifling collaboration and innovation.
Our concerns extend beyond technology; we are deeply troubled by the erosion of community collaboration, the constitution of knowledge, and the hijacking of the editorial process in journalism and academia by colossal monopolies. These issues strike at the core of our democracies and the scientific process, prompting us to embark on a mission to reshape the digital landscape for the better.
In response, Mintter Hypermedia emerges as a solution, aiming to complement the web by enabling collaboration within the framework of decentralization and networking. We draw inspiration from legacy hypermedia systems, particularly those designed with decentralization and networking in mind, such as Augment and Xanadu. Additionally, projects like the Open Hypermedia System from the University of Southampton, conceived in the era of the web, have been instrumental in bridging the gap between traditional hypermedia systems and the modern web. Notably, insights from hypertext experts like Jakob Nielsen and Mark Bernstein have enriched our perspective.
Mintter Hypermedia is an open publishing system that enables communities to collaborate on structured and deeply linked content. Within the Mintter ecosystem, all content is cryptographically signed, versioned, and made permanent with IPFS. Key features include signed authorship, verifiable version history, an open editing philosophy, and direct peer connections.
Authentication in Mintter is designed to facilitate multi-device usage seamlessly. Users are given a secret key, a 12-word phrase from which the Mintter account key is derived, and will serve as their unique identifier and ensure a consistent link between their identity and the content they create. Furthermore, Mintter employs a device-specific key to enhance security and enable multi-device access. All user content is signed with these keys, enabling third parties to verify authorship, even in a multi-device environment reliably.
Direct connections between users' devices over the internet eliminate the need for social media gatekeepers, offering users greater control over their content. This allows users to connect to their peers by simply sharing connection URLs. The underlying Libp2p technology enhances the efficiency of these direct connections and ensures that users have the autonomy and flexibility to interact and collaborate directly, bypassing centralized intermediaries.
The Mintter Hypermedia System fully embraces content addressability by leveraging IPFS, ensuring data integrity and permanence. This p2p hypermedia storage base is crucial to fulfilling the vision of completing the web as a genuinely open hypertext system.
In Mintter, our Entities and Changes system allows for the evolution of content over time. Our current Entities are Account Profiles, Documents, and Groups. Changes are immutable signed data. We employ Conflict-Free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs) to interpret these changes in the current Entity State, ensuring consistency in a distributed network of computers. Plus, we maintain a version history for all Entities, enabling users to track and revert to previous states, facilitating collaboration and knowledge preservation.
The Document Entity in Mintter is designed to support the arrangement of blocks in a hierarchy, with many block types such as Paragraphs, Headings, Images, Videos, or Files. The system also enables the embedding and linking content through references to entities and change IDs, providing verifiability and independence in content referencing.
The Mintter system fosters robust collaboration through rich and deeply linked content. Users can seamlessly embed or link additional content into their documents by referencing Entities and Change IDs. Content addressability assures that users can verify the exact version of the embedded content they wish to reference. Furthermore, users can archive the content they embed or reference. In addition, Mintter's application capabilities include tracking citations and back-links associated with any document, facilitating effective content management and navigation.
Groups in Mintter are collections of documents, each with designated owners and editors. These groups can be cloned, facilitating changes in ownership. The Mintter ecosystem extends beyond individual collaboration, as groups can be published on websites, requiring a server and domain name. This approach ensures the high availability of important content even when peers are offline.
In conclusion, Mintter Hypermedia represents a groundbreaking initiative to bring an Open Hypermedia System to the Web, underpinned by open standards. Our vision is a web governed by decentralized online communities rather than centralized systems controlled by a few administrators. With the technology we have at our disposal, we are poised to create the literacy machines necessary for a new digital age.