4 min

Decentralized Web Concept - Summer 2016


By the end of that day, I had a vision of a very different web, a web of servers combining secure identification with shared publishing responsibility. Instead of posting files or data to "a web server" under my control, I'd just be publishing to the web (using identifiers linked to my identifiers), and letting the web sort out what goes where, optimizing its own storage and delivery structures. That architectural shift takes me into what feels like uncharted territory, but it is clearly technically and financially possible.

It's hazy to me how this works. Someone has to pay for the servers and manage them.

Blockchain may open doors, however. One of the features of MaidSafe that was popular in my lunch conversation at the summit is its ability to give "coins" to users who provide storage. Building a payment network into the system from the beginning makes it easier to talk people into providing hosting and possibly more.

I assume that users would have no idea what content they would be hosting. What about server availability? Is the same "file" or post is stored on multiple servers?

Also, while it was clear that the people attending the summit (including me!) were eager to see and use a decentralized web, it's much less clear that a broader audience craves decentralization.

Bingo. The masses would view the decentralized web idea as too complicated. And the masses don't care about silos and decentralization.

Diaspora still exists, but hardly caught on. Searching the attendee list for "Facebook" brings up nothing.

(Plus, of course, the event itself used the centralized Slack for chat rather than less centralized IRC.)

Ouch! That's probably because Slack provides features that appeal to the users. Companies such as Automatic (WordPress) switched from IRC to Slack.

Slack is used by people who probably view IRC as being too technical. Until the Indieweb and decentralized web concepts become as easy to use as Facebook or email, then those ideas will be used only by a fraction of users.

That's telling that users at the decentralized web summit used Slack instead of IRC.

The Decentralized Web conversation is different. While it connects neatly with many traditional Web technology conversations—​hyperlinks are at the core—​it looks more toward peer-to-peer approaches rather than the classic HTTP client-server model.

IPFS, for example, builds on WebRTC, a protocol many people think of for audio and video but which also provides peer-to-peer data channels. The focus tends to be more on where data lives, the server side of the traditional conversation, than on where it is viewed, the client side. While most of us think of the Web as the surface we see in browsers, the structure underneath shapes everything.

The technical side of the decentralized web is promising, if not yet settled. Despite the DAO's recent problems and a lot of work yet to be done, it's been clear for a long time that peer-to-peer architectures can distribute content efficiently. These approaches can coexist easily with the traditional HTTP Web, and reuse the content tools of the Web.

Neocities is running IPFS in production today, as an experiment alongside HTTP.

(The Decentralized Web is far from the only possible sidecar for the Web. The Seif Project also aims to promote a different approach to development, targeted at highly individualized and hopefully not shared conversations.)





1996 : https://www.eff.org/cyberspace-independence



"What the Web Means to Mozilla"

I could not access that Google Doc within the Tor browser that runs by default with JavaScript, etc. disabled. Yeah, that's really open, Mozilla. I assume that the ideas exist as a normal HTML page somewhere. Maybe not, otherwise, the O'Reilly writer would have linked to it.

http://www.decentralizedweb.net/ - struggles to display within the Tor browser. At least the links appear.

2003 about blogging : http://www.shirky.com/writings/herecomeseverybody/powerlaw_weblog.html


Solid is an exciting new project led by Prof. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, taking place at MIT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute. The project aims to radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership as well as improved privacy.

Solid (derived from "social linked data") is a proposed set of conventions and tools for building decentralized social applications based on Linked Data principles. Solid is modular and extensible and it relies as much as possible on existing W3C standards and protocols.





A peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol to make the web faster, safer, and more open.

this definitely does not display within the Tor browser. A PDF file???







2009 post : https://blog.codinghorror.com/the-xanadu-dream/

Links are the fundamental building blocks of the web. And every time I click on one, I can't help recalling the odd visionary who came up with the original idea of clickable links in text, aka hypertext, in 1963 -- Ted Nelson.

Ted Nelson is, shall we say, a character. He has gone on record many times with the four maxims that guide his life. He isn't shy about sharing them with anyone he meets:

1. most people are fools
2. most authority is malignant
3. God does not exist
4. everything is wrong


The Seif Project


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