Curated Resource ( ? )

Three protocols and a future of the decentralized internet

Three protocols and a future of the decentralized internet

my notes ( ? )

An overview of three protocols - ActivityPub, Scuttlebutt and Dat - and their complementary roles in helping redistribute power from "large centralized corporate interests and back into the hands of individual people and small groups... No one protocol [is enough] ... each protocol has its strengths and weaknesses". We need "developers and designers ... to act as bridges between the communities of practice surrounding the protocols."

  • "Dat was invented to allow researchers to share very large data sets with each other ... Peer to peer ... All your content is its own hidden island until its URL is [shared/known]...
  • Secure ScuttleButt (SSB) ... remove distinctions between frontend and backend ... enabling the "backend" to be carried around by a user, who then owns their own data... powers a bunch of different decentralized applications... [incl] Patchwork... decentralized forum software ... [plus] decentralized chess... GitHub-style code collaboration... [It's] Peer to peer ... Automatic publication of content to your friends... you can find friends-of-friends and keep connecting to more people
  • ActivityPub was designed to solve the problem of "walled gardens" ... a common language for websites and apps to speak to each other... Not peer to peer ... content is "federated" (replicated) ... filling up server hard drives ... "

So "Dat is great for sharing big files ... Secure ScuttleButt ... for spreading messages organically between connected networks of people ... ActivityPub for coordinating messages between ... always-on servers ... actively maintained by sysadmins".

Together they could allow new forms of social media where people "just connect to each other's computers and share files that way, removing the giant tech company in the middle". But to get there we need developers to show "loyalty to ... an open, decentralized internet" rather than an individual protocol, which are simply "tools in a toolbox rather than monolithic solutions or ecosystems", and recognise their complementarity.

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