canopic jug writes:
Researcher Ruben Verborgh explains how to re-decentralize the World-Wide Web, for good this time. He argues that decentralization is foremost about choice and thus people should be free to join large or small communities and talks up Solid as a primary option.
Originally designed as a decentralized network, the Web has undergone a significant centralization in recent years. In order to regain freedom and control over the digital aspects of our lives, we should understand how we arrived at this point and how we can get back on track. This chapter explains the history of decentralization in a Web context, and details Tim Berners-Lee’s role in the continued battle for a free and open Web. The challenges and solutions are not purely technical in nature, but rather fit into a larger socio-economic puzzle, to which all of us are invited to contribute. Let us take back the Web for good, and leverage its full potential as envisioned by its creator.
Earlier on SN:
Tim Berners-Lee Launches Inrupt, Aims to Create a Decentralized Web (2018)
Decentralized Sharing (2014)
decentralization is foremost about choice and thus people should be free to join large or small communities and talks up Solid as a primary option.
The reason why we have huge nefarious internet conglomerates is because people allow it and want it, for the sake of convenience, because lolcats and sharing their stories of their brother's best friend's latest bowel movements is more important than principles of freedom and privacy.
Decentralization won't happen again, because it hasn't happened before, because people don't give a shit.
This. As Douglas Adams put it - "To summarise the summary of the summary, people are a problem".
If you want a website to publish your own interests, completely devoid of data-slurping and ad-targetting, the cost is a couple of beers per month and a bit of effort - its not like you have to learn HTML at all, with Wordpress and other point-and-drool website builders available - although even html is hardly rocket science. If you're willing to compromise and put up with a few banner ads you can probably find it for free.
Certainly quicker that wading through all of those words on the Solid website to find out what it actually is (and its clearly not a point-and-drool web publishing tool for the masses yet - maybe it will grow into a useful tool).
Decentralization won't happen again, because it hasn't happened before,
Yup, its worth remembering that the "good old days" were pretty much restricted to people who worked or studied at universities and other large institutions (even after dial-up internet 'went public' that's still what you needed if you wanted to do more than, maybe, create a forum on a bulletin board). Its never been so easy to set up your own web presence. Getting people to visit your site is another matter - even some hypothetical non-evil, decentralised version of Google won't do that if you are one voice amongst millions and don't have some other way of pump-priming the traffic.