The people who don’t want you to run your own servers are the ones who want to run the servers.

People will happily run their own servers if it’s so simple to do that they don’t even know they’re doing it.

ar.al/2020/08/07/what-is-the-s

You want people to run their own servers? Design and build servers for individuals, not communities and let communities arise from the interconnections between those servers.

Why?

Because that’s the only way we can compete on ease of use with centralised systems. Not by mimicking their complexity but by side-stepping it. There is orders of magnitude difference in complexity between a system designed to serve just one and one designed to serve one, two, or a hundred thousand.

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Centralisation thrives on complexity; decentralisation on simplicity.

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If we want everyday people to seize the means of communication, we should ensure that those means are easy to hold.

@aral what do you mean by this? i'd think distributed systems are way more complicated

@valerauko @aral They are, due to being a web of interconnected systems which have everything from DNS, to domain names, to TLS certificates, to LAMP stacks, to proxies, to all required software (including updates, libraries, and dependencies), DDoS issues, ISP issues...

As someone who loves decentralisation and knows it's how the web was designed to be, it's not easy by any means. Most people aren't tech literate enough to know what the basics of computers are, never mind hosting servers which are complicated beasts even with documentation.

@valerauko @aral I think that it means that if you want to go distributed+ you have to concede a lot of stuff that's possible to do in centralised arch. Interestingly, natural convergence of masses to centers, perhaps, means that convenience relies on complexity.

@aral does it though? This may be unfair of me (I’m all for decentralisation BTW) bit when I was running IndieWeb functions on my blog, it was ridiculously complicated.

When I tried Micro.Blog, it was convoluted and awkward. Write.as was the same, albeit less so.

I hope it will get there some day, but my experience is the opposite. Centralisation is simple (sign up for Twitter, post your memes), and decentralisation is complicated unfortunately. 😕

@kev @aral I think the crucial word is "thrives". What you're saying is an example of how I read Aral's point.

When tools, protocols, or activities become too complicated, centralization will creep in. Hosting is complicated, and lo and behold we end up with largely centralized Web.

It's on us to design our tools such that they are *simple*. And when we do, centralized services will have less room to manoeuvre. The point is: we should not parrot centralized services, but instead design simpler tools.

@rysiek @aral ah, if that’s the case and I misunderstood, I totally agree. That’s definitely the path to success.

I REALLY hope that happens.

In the meantime Ill get back under my bridge. 😂

> t's on us to design our tools such that they are *simple*

... and to *resist* *fiercely* the attempts to inject complexity into them, an approach that appears to be on the rise as a means to attack user autonomy

@lxo exactly.

As a friend put it: at least sometimes we have to be able to say "this code is now complete". No new features needed.

@kev @aral I believe the point is technical complexity. Software that is more complex tends to centralize over time (think email or maybe Matrix), while software that is simpler can easily be decentralized since more people can actually set it up (such as possibly web servers or IRC).

We need to make hosting servers simpler if we want more people to do it without being sysadmins.

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