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Re: <nettime> A DIY Data Manifesto by Scott Gilbertson
Joss Winn on Tue, 8 Feb 2011 17:23:37 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> A DIY Data Manifesto by Scott Gilbertson


On 07/02/11 21:26, Geert Lovink wrote:
> 
> Good you raise this issue, Rory.
> 
> If I remember well from December Dave Winer kind of defended Amazon in  
> the Wikileaks cut-off controversy (he said he would not join a boycott).
> 
> The question indeed is: what does it mean when we call to run our own  
> servers? If they are located somewhere in the 'cloud' then what's the  
> difference anyway in comparison to Facebook or Google?
> 

There is no difference. The difference *appears* only to people who
Winer wrote his EC2 for Poets for.  The Engineers who Winer disses, know
there's no real difference in freedom whether you use wordpress.com or
set up your own blog on EC2. Sure, you can tinker with the application
layer, but if that's what you call freedom, you might as well go to
Dreamhost for $10/month and use their one-click
WordPress/status.net/drupal/whatever installs.

Setting up an EC2 server is a complete overkill for the appearance of
freedom Winer seems to be proposing. He's also understating the costs.
EC2 is expensive to run a server 24/7 ($90/month) compared to somewhere
like gandi.net, for example (£20/month). The only real benefit I can see
for EC2 is the ability to clone ready-made server images (as Winer is
pushing), but until very recently you couldn't even reliably send email
from an EC2 server because Amazon expect their customers to handle email
through dedicated third-party services. A simple EC2 server is one
thing, but then you need to work through the minefield of elastic IP
addresses, persistent storage, backups... Amazon sell services, not
complete 'solutions'.

> The alternatives we suggest cannot be empty gestures if we propose to  
> use 'virtual' servers that are under the same corporate control anyway.
> 
> Geert
> 
> 

Winer's good work on RSS and OPML should not be understated but the idea
that freedom can be found in the cloud seems utterly naive to me. Any of
us on this list who run our own virtual servers are aware of where the
freedom ends and the Amazon/Rackspace/etc. Terms and Conditions begin.
(I was one of those that terminated my Amazon account recently).

Winer (and the rest of us, too) might rather spend time looking at the
work of the radical tech collectives worldwide (of which nettime members
are well aware), which are regularly having their hardware seized or
cracked into by the cops, but persist in working collectively against
corporate control. Winer should be telling people to think about signing
up to http://mayfirst.org for $10/month or groups of people colocating
hardware with riseup.net in Seattle (http://www.seaccp.org/) or just set
up a log-free blog on noblogs
(http://www.autistici.org/en/services/web/blog.html)

In my experience, the closest thing to freedom on the net is to be found
in these types of collectives.
http://www.autistici.org/en/groups/links.html I would love to hear of
better alternatives to so-called net freedom that exist. If you don't
agree with their politics, they at least offer a relatively mature model
of operation for others to emulate.

Through his advocacy for loosely coupled services, Winer seems to be
more interested in the freedom of data, not the freedom of people. If
freedom really is about being able to publish 140 characters from your
own server and watch it 'loosely couple' itself with Twitter's API in
'real-time', then I'm heading for the hills!

You've all probably seen these, but for the record:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/sep/29/cloud.computing.richard.stallman

http://www.softwarefreedom.org/news/2010/feb/10/highlights-eben-moglens-freedom-cloud-talk/

Joss


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