Unpacking Moxie's "People don’t want to run their own servers, and never will"

Moxie Marlinspike’s article on web3 has resulted in huge amounts of conversation online about various aspects of the web and decentralization. One aspect that got a lot of attention, and one that I paid particular attention to given my current project is this statement: “People don’t want to run their own servers, and never will.” — Moxie Marlinspike I want to unpack why I think it’s very challenging to get non-technical end-users to run a home server of some sort, yet it’s not something I’d qualify as “will never happen” either.

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Can An "App Store" Be The Solution to Funding Open Source Desktop Applications?

I’ve been thinking a lot about open source lately, and wondering if there are alternative business models that could make it sustainable. This “app store” idea is one possibility. Motivation I always prefer using an open source application if I can find one that meets my needs. I am uneasy spending money on closed source solutions to any of my problems. It’s not the money that’s the issue. With an open source application I am more confident that there is no ill-intentioned code, and I can believe that even if development stalls, a sufficiently large user base will result in the application getting patches and other needed maintenance work, so that I can continue using it.

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Dark Mode: Not For Me Either

Kev Quirk managed to get himself on the front page of the orange site for his post on Dark Mode. The topic even drew 511 comments, some of which seemed to take this as a personal affront to their lifestyle choices. Now you’ve done it. Kev’s post was well researched and I learned a few things from it. Interestingly none of the reasons he cites for using light mode are reasons why I go light.

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Proprietary Services Fulfill The Open Web's Dream

Last night, during the protests for #BlackLivesMatter, there was an urgent need to spread information to participants and others trying to help. In an effort to get that information out, people reached for tools that they could use quickly and effectively. One of these tools is Carrd, an online website builder that makes single-page websites or very simple multi-page sites. It is run by a solo founder-developer. Carrd is great. If you want to put a single-page or other simple website online, it gets the job done fast and well.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch and NASA's Gulfstream-IIIs

I was watching news coverage before SpaceX’s launch of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley when I noticed something that took me back to the very end of my aerospace career. Astronauts usually live in Texas near NASA’s JSC, and fly to KSC (or Russia) when it’s time to launch. During the Shuttle era they would fly in T-38s from Texas. For this trip they took one of NASA’s Gulfstreams, though it’s unclear why.

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Our Web Versus Search Engines

Sometimes it seems like search engines are amazing. And yes, for a lot of questions, they do get us an answer quickly. But other times search engines fail me. For example I might search for pages that talk about two topics together, and I’ll get results for a popular page about the first topic that happens to have a link to a page on the second topic in its navigation menu.

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Thoughts on Sandstorm

When I tell people about my side-project to create a server that makes it safe and easy to run your own web apps, some say I should check out Sandstorm. I was a (small) backer of Sandstorm’s IndieGogo but I’ve been disappointed by how it worked out. I think the idea of safely and easily hosting your own server-side applications and services is important for the internet to remain free. I thought this then and I still think it now.

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The End of the Before-Times

Amused by this Guardian article, which draws from this tweet, which is inspired by this BBC piece, here is the last picture on my phone that represents normal life, or as we’ll soon know it: the before-time. This is sunrise in Joshua Tree, California on March 8. We had met some friends for a one-nighter camping trip. The virus was in the news a lot by then, and we greeted each other by kicking boots.

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100 Days Offload: Time For An Adjustment

This is day 17 of the 100DaysToOffload challenge for me. I have to say it’s been taxing. While I am very happy that I got this far, and I am happy with the posts I cranked out, I can tell it’s time to make an adjustment. This pace of posting is too demanding for me and my family, and it’s also limiting to some extent how much I’m getting out of the challenge.

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Deno Saved My Side-Project

My main side-project is a server that runs personal web-based applications. The idea is that web apps could be built and distributed more like the smartphone ecosystem than the current model of “everything online is a service”. I’ll talk more about this project some other time, but for now suffice it to say that for the idea to work, a user should be able to install a web-app without putting themselves at risk.

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Olivier Forget

Los Angeles, USA
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Aerospace Engineer turned sofware developer and bootstrappin' entrepreneur.