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    The internet was designed around principles of openness, simplicity, and decentralization, but Big Tech's private networks and protocols threaten the 'net, say internet registries

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 9 December, 2021 - 14:05

So says a Study on the Internet's Technical Success Factors commissioned by APNIC and LACNIC – the regional internet address registries for the Asia–Pacific and Latin America and Caribbean regions respectively – and written by consultancy Analysys Mason.

The document states that "a significant fraction of global IP traffic now consists of data that is moved between the datacentres and edge networks of large internet companies." Those companies' needs, and growing networks, lead the analysts to suggest that "over time, we could see the internet transform into a more centralised system with a few global private networks carrying most of the content and services.

Another risk is that when private networks break, many users suffer. Exhibit A: yesterday's AWS brownout, which hurt Netflix and Disney+, among others.

Yet, if you look at nearly all the alternative social networks springing up, you'll see decentralisation, openness, interoperability, chronological feeds, no Big Tech...


#technology #interoperability #BigTech #openstandards #decentralisation

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    E-Mail is 50 years old this month, and it works pretty much the same, which is good, otherwise we'd all have to use one e-mail company

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 29 October, 2021 - 17:45

Think about it, you can pick an e-mail domain anywhere and use any e-mail client on any platform, to send an e-mail to someone anywhere else... We just take that for granted, but if e-mail were newly invented today by a company like say Meta, all the billions of people in the world would have to belong to that same single company in order to send and receive mail to anyone else...

E-mail's greatest success lies in it's open standards and decentralisation. It will no doubt me replaced at some point in the future, as all technologies will, but let us hope that instant messaging and social networks go back to being open and decentralised (like they too were once).


#technology #email #decentralisation #openstandards #deletemeta

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    Meet the Self-Hosters - Tired of Big Tech monopolies, a community of hobbyists is taking their digital lives off the cloud and onto DIY hardware that they control

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 7 September, 2021 - 20:33

It's no secret that a small handful of enormous companies dominate the internet as we know it. But the internet didn't always have services with a billion users and quasi-monopolistic control over search or shopping. It was once a loose collection of individuals, research labs, and small companies, each making their own home on the burgeoning world wide web.

“Self-hosting” is a practice that pretty much describes itself: running your own internet services, typically on hardware you own and have at home. This contrasts with relying on products from large tech companies, which the user has no direct involvement in. A self-hoster controls it all, from the hardware used to the configuration of the software.

It's not just for file sharing or backup, or hosting photo services, but many are now self-hosting decentralised instances of social networks too. The reasons are also not just about Big Tech surveillance and data mining, but often also for economic reasons (costs a lot to host large amounts of data), and the freedom to DIY and experiment with the source code.


#technology #selfhosting #decentralisation #privacy #BigTech

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    What Indian and Nigerian governments should have told their citizens rather than trying to control Twitter: Join the Fediverse!

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 6 June, 2021 - 21:06 · 1 minute

Sometimes the answer isn't 'Going Big'. Rather than build new centralized platforms that will inevitably fail in proportion to their user base. Choose 'protocols' that can naturally scale and deliver the best for every person. Smaller tight knit communities 'on your own terms' that are user-first is the future of social media. Facebook's goal is not to 'connect the world' their true goals lie in their business model 'to sell your data to advertisers'.

The Fediverse tries to put social networking back into your hands, just like email and websites - it's based on the #ActivityPub protocol that's internationally accepted and works according to your needs and not to some advertiser's! Pick any server or host your own. You can set the rules.

The irony of it is that this drive by governments to want to try control privately owned centralised social networks, will very likely increase the move to smaller more decentralised and federated social networks, in much the same way the laws of economics drive markets around the world based on supply and demand. The options are already all there and being used by many around the world. IRC for example is over 30 years old and still going strong. It's the reason that Mastodon came out of nowhere and is so busy today too.

Watch at

#technology #socialmedia #censorship #fediverse #decentralisation

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    Twitter and Interoperability: A case for tearing down the walls and introducing interoperability between social networks

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 26 January, 2021 - 10:22

Big social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc hold their users captive through the high cost for users to migrate elsewhere ie. all they have to give up by leaving friends and family behind, finding a new alternative platform, losing follower counts, often losing sponsorships, etc. This is why Facebook for example cut off their messenger interconnectivity with XMPP years ago because then any Facebook user could leave, and stay in contact with friends and family on Facebook.

As the article points out there are also some downsides to decentralisation like maybe losing the ability for one network to do mass mobilisation for good.

Personally I've also held the belief that we need more interoperability rather than just breaking up a big tech company. We do already have protocols such as ActivityPub, XMPP, etc that are in use connecting completely different social networks together.

Break the walls down and let Big Tech compete more equally and openly with everyone. This will also give the smaller social media networks a chance to compete for attention.


#technology #bigtech #interoperability #socialnetworks #decentralisation

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    Africa may have no Mastodon instances (I could not believe this) but it does have a decentralised Lemmy (Reddit clone) instance to foster social dialogue across African nations

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 24 January, 2021 - 17:45

Baraza is a digital public square as imagined in Bantu philosophy. Share and discuss news, resources, howtos, ask questions, or anything you like. While not required, posts related to Africa would be appreciated.

The site looks like it is physically hosted in Germany in the EU which is probably a good thing, but it's focus is on things African and will appeal to Africans. Lemmy is unfortunately not federated with the Fediverse but it federates with decentralised Lemmy nodes. So I was able to post a post on a community at Baraza that related to an African theme, from a different node.

It is not only great that Africa has a social media focal point, but that it is also for all African countries, so it keeps perspective and context instead of only being dominated by one country. Africa has many languages and cultures, often existing within each country. Establishing social dialogue across all African countries is of immeasurable value to all citizens.


#technology #decentralisation #reddit #alternativeto #africa