ForgeFlux is an attempt at implementing ForgeFed external to Forges to provide a decentralised development environment. If successful, major software development workflows like pull requests/patches and bug trackers will be available in a decentralised context.
Free software developers are asked to choose between freedom and having access to a large community while choosing a software forge Some are willing to make compromises to their freedom in the hopes of developing a community around their project while others don't. Either way, these are compromises.
Additionally, participating in Free Software projects require creating and configuring accounts on the forge instances that the projects use. Maintaining multiple accounts is a time-consuming process.
A mechanism to enable developers on independently run forge instances to interact with other forge instances using a single account would solve the issues that mentioned above. ForgeFed is an attempt to do just that. But implementing native support for ForgeFed will require changes to the forge's source code, which we find to be a time-consuming process.
ForgeFlux will implement ForgeFed external to the forges, using the forge's HTTP APIs. Officially, external federation for Gitea, SourceHut, GitLab and GitHub will be implemented but the project will also provide tools and guidelines to implement federation for unsupported forges.
ForgeFlux will act as an adaptor that will enable federation on forge instances by running alongside the forge instances. The deployment architecture is very similar to how a third-party integration like Woodpecker CI works with Gitea deploy ForgeFlux next to a forge instance and configure authentication to enable federation on the forge instance.
ForgeFlux software is made-up of multiple components, each of which makes up for the lack of native federation features in supported forges:
Interface: Federation Adaptor
Interface uses data received from Forge APIs to provide an interface that supports ForgeFed. It includes tools and mechanisms to implement support for forges that are not Officially supported by ForgeFlux.
Northstar: Forge-Interface Discovery service
ForgeFlux allows for multiple interfaces to be run against a single software forge. Also, the protocol is flexible enough to support multiple types of software forges(GitLab, GitHub, etc). The protocol's decentralised nature makes it impossible to create a reliable record of which interfaces service which forges.
So we created a discovery service which stores records of interfaces and the forges they service. This is very similar to the way DNS works. In DNS, hostname is resolved to IP address. Here, software forge URL is resolved to URLs of interfaces that service the queried forge.
Starchart: Federated Repository Explorer
Forges provide means for exploring projects that are hosted on the forge instance. The federated forge ecosystem needs something similar. Starchart solves this problem by crawling the federated forge ecosystem(the forge admins will have to authorize crawling) and publishing the data for for indexing by search engines and also by providing a centralized service to people to explore projects on the federated ecosystem.