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Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to connect with the FriendUp leadership team and got a chance to catch up with the mission’s head of development, Hogne Titlestead.

An Interview with Hogne Titlestad, Head of FriendUP Development Architecture: Connecting the blockchain through decentralized applications sharing - Cryptonicles.com

After learning about the FriendUP project at the beginning of February, it was clear to me that the blockchain was evolving far faster than the rest of the world.

Join the Friend Telegram chat!

So I wanted to know more about the mission, and what the Friend core team had in store for it's growing community. Hogne Titlestad would be my guide.

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Mr. Titlestad has recently been coined as the new Linus Torvalds of the blockchain.
Hogne has remained focused through years of development.

If you aren’t familiar with Linus Torvalds, he was a founding developer of the Linux operating system back in the early 90s. So getting a chance to speak with Hogne Titlestad, of FriendUP, on his creation of the first operating system on the blockchain, was exciting for me. The ICO for the FriendUP project is nearing and this would give community members an opportunity to explore a more intimate lens of the project.

Here is the online interview that I had the pleasure of conducting with Hogne Titlestad, head of development for FriendUP.

Hogne Titlestad - FriendUP Chief Architect & COO

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INTERVIEW START

Alex:
Alex, Founder Cryptonicles.com

Hello Hogne, it’s great to have the opportunity to peer a little deeper into the mind behind the architecture of Friend Software Labs.

I’m sure the community participants of your team’s upcoming ICO would definitely like to hear more about the project from the man himself.

Just so we can know a little more about the mission and also understand where you are coming from…

Can you  break down the FriendUP platform into some simplified terms for us non-developer folk?

As well as where you fall into the team’s picture?

Hogne:
Hogne, Co-Founder FriendUp

Yes of course - thank you Alex.

Friend is the first blockchain driven, user focused operating system.

It acts as an on-ramp for open source projects to enter into the world of blockchain. The flexibility that comes with a ‘multi-kernel operating system’ will truly enable massively decentralized applications in a social desktop environment. The potential for collaboration between these decentralized applications becomes tremendous, as they are all found in a single place, the FriendUP, and all available through a built-in token based marketplace.

A convergence of blockchain and legacy tech through FriendUP.

The platform’s foundation includes decades of research in network based computing systems, and an ‘Amazon Web Service’ like infrastructure, technology base, will allow easy deployment for development teams.

I had the fortunate opportunity to be a part of this mission from the beginning, and continue to lead operations as Chief Architect and COO.

Alex:

Now the blockchain is still very young, but is attracting world-class talent from around the globe.

Can you tell us about your background in systems development and what brought you onto the blockchain through FriendUP?

Hogne:

The Netherlands is where I started my software engineering career in 2001.

I started working for Pieters Partners in Zeeland, and was learning C development in my spare time. Before this, I had programmed mainly in high level languages like Basic and Pascal.

I first started out with operating system development back in 2003 when I got involved with AROS, a research operating system that was recreating the Amiga OS on Intel architecture.

It was here that I met a rich, and growing, community of software developers and wrote my first desktop application, Lunapaint – a paint package with animation and layers that used 64-bit graphics internally.

The AROS project is still on-going, but back in 2007, I, and a number of other open source programmers, started a fork we coined "Anubis".

We wanted to burst out of the limitations of the AROS architecture - which at the time was already growing "long in the tooth". This was going to be a new operating system based on the Linux kernel. We wanted to avoid having to write our own binary drivers for the massive, ever expanding sea of hardware and focus on operating system functionality.

This work never lead to any releases, and so it wasn't until Friend was founded in 2014 that our core ideas found fertile soil.

In addition to operating system developments, my main job since 2001 was developing database back-ends and content management systems for customers in Scandinavia.

This experience involved a great deal of day to day interfacing with management and positions at an executive level. My time spent working on these enterprise databases allowed me to nurture strong connections within the industry, inevitably leading me to found my own company - fortunately, with passionate partnerships. That company would lead us to establish the Friend Software Labs of today.

Alex:

Now at first glance, FriendUP looks like a platform that targets developers, strictly in terms of utility.

What sort of opportunities will there be for non-developer folk using FriendUP?

Hogne:

For users, Friend will be a one-stop-shop for accessing software and digital services on the blockchain. Our Friend Store will offer users a wealth of applications in all categories, all accessible through point and click interfaces.

We have already on-boarded some projects, like Photopea and Wekan – projects which are now joining the blockchain space for the first time.

Friend is user-facing, which means that we are building a platform that aims to be easy to use, social, versatile and powerful for users. By getting a Friend account, you are essentially activating a computer in the cloud where you can install any software you like. And you can use that software, at the same time, on all of your internet-enabled devices. It is a new paradigm, and it will give users better access to their tools than they ever had before.

We actually hope to encourage more applications to get onto the blockchain, and find themselves on-board the FriendUP platform for their user communities.

Alex:

Tell us a little more about the friend marketplace. What exactly will users have access to once the platform is launched, and what plans do you have for the future?

Hogne:

Friend Store builds on top of our Friend Network - a network of communicating nodes that share resources and storage space, just to mention a few things. This is a network of Friend servers which actually create the backbone of the Friend operating system.

A one-stop-shop for digital.

The Friend Store is a sort of ‘front-end to the functionalities’ in the Friend Network. It gives users an easy to use marketplace where they can read reviews and install software, on their own, unique, cloud machine, through a point and click interface. Developers can quickly deploy their applications as merchants, and our community will make sure that the best submissions are visible to users on the friend store.

Just as the Friend Workspace is a graphic user interface (GUI) that displays the Friend Network of resources and services like a desktop environment in a browser tab, the Friend Store ‘skins’ the Friend Network so that all of the technologies involved are tailored to fit into a shop user interface.

We are forming partnerships with several blockchain based projects like Fluence and Golem.

Once fully integrated, users will be able to easily access cloud computing, decentralized storage opportunities, and the best available blockchain based decentralized applications, through their Friend account.

Want more Friend storage space? Activate a Storj drive. Need to render some Blender animations? Activate your Golem processor core. Want to play some games? Browse through our catalog and install some fun multiplayer or single player games that are highly rated by other users in the community.

The best part is that this entire platform is owned by its users. So it's going to be a very social place where you can spend a lot of time interacting with others in the blockchain community.

Alex:

As well, the decentralization of our economy is becoming a hot topic on the blockchain. Where do you see FriendUP being a support for independent I.T. professionals or smaller businesses, both in terms of functional utility, but also economically, given the rising costs in I.T. across the board?

Hogne:
Hogne and FriendUp

As mentioned before, Friend is a collaboration space with rich social functionalities. Right from the start, users will be able to collaborate using Friend Chat, the built-in chat and video conferencing app we built specifically for FriendUP.

But this app offers more than conversations. With it, you can start your own support services and monetize them using tokens.

As a merchant, you can bring your entire software catalog online in the Friend Store. Here, you can mix both services Friend services together allow you to offer Windows applications, and other web apps, directly to customers.

We are in the process of facilitating FIAT transactions customers and organizations as well. We will allow commercial vendors to sell services using their currencies and offer invoice based subscriptions.

The intersection between FIAT and crypto should delight investors knowing that Friend is going to be a strong bridge between conventional finance and the blockchain ecosystem.

It's all about making it easier for customers and businesses to get on board, which will help the entire blockchain ecosystem, and digital currencies in general, build legitimacy and recognition by being available together, in the same space.

Developers can scale their services and capitalize on the cloud.

As for the decentralized infrastructure technology we are providing - users will be able to take part in the token economy by running Friend servers. This way they can rent out their spare hardware capacity to others in the network – pretty much like Golem does on the processing side, but here, for cloud storage, web request handling and other services that may be on offer over time. Our integration with other projects has a big part to play here.

Alex:

Now in terms of solutions potential for larger development teams and enterprises, what sort of long-term effects do you see on I.T. departments that use the Friend, for both organizational efficiency and deployment policy, and protocol, for new systems?

Hogne:

Friend allows organizations and businesses to deploy customized clouds to their customers. An administrator can form their own networks where special services, app suites, and storage options are available and customized into templates for users and work groups. Authentication can be tailored using modules – we already support two-factor and encrypted authentication with configuration options.

We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from several industries; medical, support and educational, are where the Friend template technology is very attractive. Friend allows you to customize a user account with branding, GUI color schemes and pre-configured apps and devices.

You can then then just clone that template for your users. This is a game-changer for many universities, NGOs and other organizations that need to quickly deploy a workstation configuration for a mass amount of users.

Friend has open APIs, and organizations with their own software development teams that have a lot of flexibility and several options for customizing the experience for their customers.

We offer apps for both Android and iOS - where we support special functionality like push notifications and storage integrations. We also offer a Windows application which has powerful hardware integration functionality for remote apps, like legacy software.

Alex:

What larger industries do you see being able to adopt this platform quickly?

Hogne:

It seems that the biggest first adopters are healthcarel and educational organizations and companies. These suffer strong pain-points when it comes to mass deployment for users as well as security and infrastructure inflexibility.

These industries are changing quickly, as they are both forced to upgrade aging solutions that are widely deployed today. And Friend seems like a great vessel for mid-life upgrades and life extensions to these old apps and services that are currently in use.

Another large industry that we seeing a lot of interest from is energy. In this sector, many companies are constrained by a lack of mobility and access to their big point-clouds and data centres.

We have already identified solutions in these area, and see a lot of activity in the space going forward. WebGL (Web Graphics Library) and data streaming is disrupting a lot of data-heavy industries, and Friend is a perfect platform for deploying these new technologies with ease.

So we are looking to assist as many different types of industries as possible.

Alex:

That sounds pretty interesting - it looks like all sorts of I.T. departments will have to keep an eye on this ICO with all of the functional utility on the horizon.

With that being said have you had a chance to form any notable partnerships for future projects?

Hogne:

Right now, we're forming partnerships with both blockchain companies as well as conventional projects. Additionally, we are forming commercial partnerships with companies who love our platform - so it’s nice to know that our mission is being received well on a fundamental service level.

FriendUP is an interesting technology for many diverse software projects and tech companies. This is because it offers not only a versatile distribution platform for web apps, but because it offers integration and distribution for Windows apps – even legacy software written in Cobol for mainframes.

Here, our Scala4 partnership is very instrumental in bringing our technology to enterprises and larger corporations. It will help us harden our technology and make it easier to deploy in traditional markets.

Wekan is the first of the conventional open source projects we are partnering with. They see Friend as an exciting vessel for joining the token economy and to access micro-transaction strategies. They have a Trello like Kanban project management web app which is being integrated with the Friend APIs.

Fluence is a new decentralized storage and database technology. They are being made available to a wider audience through an upcoming Friend driver. This will allow any Friend developer to use Fluence in their applications, and it will distribute this technology among users through the Friend Store.

Alex:

The decentralization of data seems to be moving faster and faster along the ledger. What sort of position are you aiming for FriendUP, in terms of being a leading hub for virtual decentralization in the long term?

Hogne:

Friend is an OS, so disks are central to its operation. Today we offer a multitude of storage drivers, and these will expand in numbers continuously. Over time, we will support most of the decentralized storage technologies available, allowing application developers and users an even greater flexibility. Because of this, we will be one of the biggest hubs of storage space in the decentralized web, and a great source of activity for blockchain enabled storage technologies.

As an operating system, Friend consists of devices, file systems and libraries that underpin the desktop environment and GUI. Here, the entire stack will take advantage of the plethora of decentralized technologies in every category; processing, streaming, protocol transcoding, storage, databases and even AI. If you have a decentralized technology, you will eventually find it on FriendUP.

One of the most compelling aspects of our platform for other developers is the cross-pollination that we nurture and cultivate between technologies. In fact, you could say that Friend is the Silicon Valley of the Internet, and a catalyst for integration and collaboration between decentralized technology projects, bar none.

Alex:

Well it sounds like you guys are definitely going to change the way that everyone will operate in cloud environments.

From the common user, all the way up to enterprise level spectrums of service, it looks there will be utility for literally everyone on Friend.

With that being said, is there anything you would like to let the FriendUP community know about the project?

Hogne:
Hogne, Co-Founder FriendUp

Having an operating system embedded into the decentralized internet will change how we use computers.

Knowing that "your Friend" is busy processing for you, computing and taking care of your data, securely and efficiently, will make your life a whole lot easier. You are not locked to any device anymore. And you can take ownership over, and participate in the development of the technology that will make your digital life flourish.

We're proud of having the chance to positively impact the lives of so many people, and we're excited to see how people will make Friend their own.

Friend is about personal freedom and being able to make your own choices. Now, being open source and decentralized, we may finally make such a technology permanent, like the permanent web, and perhaps also be inoculated against corporate manipulation. 

We should be able to move freely with our tools. We should be able to innovate and iterate together, as developers, and to distribute the fruit of our innovation to everyone. Like Linux has done before, on the servers that run the internet, we hope to bring the same level of freedom and innovation to users everywhere, no matter on which device they chose to use the platform.

We also have a great team at Friend. After I met with Arne Peder Blix in Oslo four years ago, we quickly established both a strong financial unit and qualified management team with a fantastic track record.

Arne Peder Blix, Co-founder and CEO FriendUP

This allowed us to grow from a small group of developers and creative designers into a world class project with international partners and investors.

The special relationship between me and Arne has given us a unique synergy between tech and business experience. Our tight collaboration has been essential in forming the company and has allowed us to fund our research and development while attracting business partners of all kinds.

This is what has made Friend manifest in record time. Together, we know that we will bring our technology to the world with an impact.

Alex:

Thank you for answering these questions Hogne, they are definitely appreciated by the ecosystem.

Hogne:

Thanks Alex - anytime.

INTERVIEW END

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This interview gave me a chance to really see things through the eyes of the development leadership for FriendUP and also allowed me to get a better grasp of their long-term vision for the blockchain and the decentralization of our systems and economies.

Be sure to check out their ICO launch and give them a follow on Twitter as well.

You can do so below.

I’m definitely looking forward to more developments on FriendUP in 2018. The potential seems boundless.

There is going to be a lot of moving and shaking on the blockchain this year.

Alex

@peakdemand

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