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posted by martyb on Sunday September 30 2018, @11:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the make-the-web-a-web-again dept.

Exclusive: Tim Berners-Lee tells us his radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web

This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it's game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over.

"We have to do it now," he says, displaying an intensity and urgency that is uncharacteristic for this soft-spoken academic. "It's a historical moment." Ever since revelations emerged that Facebook had allowed people's data to be misused by political operatives, Berners-Lee has felt an imperative to get this digital idyll into the real world. In a post published this weekend, Berners-Lee explains that he is taking a sabbatical from MIT to work full time on Inrupt. The company will be the first major commercial venture built off of Solid, a decentralized web platform he and others at MIT have spent years building.

If all goes as planned, Inrupt will be to Solid what Netscape once was for many first-time users of the web: an easy way in. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.

[...] [On] Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.

How does Solid compare to Tor, I2P, Freenet, IPFS, Diaspora, etc.?

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @06:59AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @06:59AM (#742255)

    I paid his company's website [] a visit. It indeed smells like synergetic Blockchain quantum AI. But most of all, I don't get the guy's motivation. He built an open standard that thrived because it was simple and self-explanatory. What he's got today looks like a walled garden, Facebook-style "but open" minimization of the web into interpersonal social bullshit.

    "[A] place where entrepreneurial developers can innovate and generate revenue

    Oh, ok then. It's also LinkedIn and Github. I dunno, the idea seems a bit too complex to explain in a sentence. Antithesis of "let's link up information so people can jump between resources and find whatever they're looking for or didn't even yet know".

    If it weren't a node.js hipster web app complete with matching moon rock sales pitch I'd at least want to find out whether this idea is any good. I'll pass.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Monday October 01 2018, @10:09AM

    by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 01 2018, @10:09AM (#742274)

    > Oh, ok then. It's also LinkedIn and Github.

    github and linked in are polar opposited; linkedin is based on a closed proprietary API whereas github is based on an open API (git). That's the whole point! so gitlab exists for example, and you can decide to host on gitlab instead if github gets bought out by M$.