After the dotcom bust 20 years ago, there was a shift away from attempts to turn the Internet into a portal owned by a single company (AOL, Yahoo, etc) using incompatible and proprietary tech, in favor of open standards.

This spawned a heydey for things like self-hosted blogs, RSS and XMPP powered by Linux. People rejected lock-in and embraced the benefits and freedom open standards brought. Even Big Tech embraced these standards.

So why did it change? There are a few causes, and this pendulum between open and closed tech is always swinging, but to me the single most important cause was the advent of the smartphone.

Smartphones allowed tech companies to rewrite the rules around standards, software, lock-in and as Big Tech companies all sought to control the new personal computer with rules people would have rejected on their laptops. The rush to control SMS and news portals killed XMPP and RSS, respectively.

Show thread

@kyle Also reunning services 24/7 with even 99.9% reliability is well beyond most peoples capability, and even if they have the capability do they want to do it? I used to have a full rack in a data center to host Now it's an S3 bucket/Cloudflare. Email is Gmail. I don't want to run all these services and deal with spam/trying to get my email not marked as spam.

Isn't the whole point of IT to automate things and make them more reliable? This tends to lead to consolidation.

@kurtseifried In this discussion I'm talking more about open standards than I am self-hosting. You were able to move your email to Gmail so easily because email is an open standard. You could move sites to S3/CF because of the open web standards the services and browsers communicate with.

People who are moving to Mastodon have to wholesale rebuild things from scratch because they were moving away from a closed standard. The lock-in and friction to leave a platform to a competitor is by design.

@kyle THat's actually a good point. A specific reason I moved into Gmail is that I could use impasync to get my email in, and out. However now IMAP access requires an application-specific password for gmail users ( and Worksuite can still login, but I'm beginning to wonder how long until IMAP access goes away because "security reasons"? As for Mastodon, it remains to be seen but I assume at leasr a few people are pitching VC's on setting up massive Mastodon communities...

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Librem Social

Librem Social is an opt-in public network. Messages are shared under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license terms. Policy.

Stay safe. Please abide by our code of conduct.

(Source code)

image/svg+xml Librem Chat image/svg+xml