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[libreplanet-discuss] Free as in Freedom Network Services [was: Tackling
[libreplanet-discuss] Free as in Freedom Network Services [was: Tackling Network Effect]
Mon, 14 May 2012 10:06:28 -0600
> I am willing to pay for domain registration and hosting if nobody else
> volunteers, or no organisation can donate it, if there is a good design. (Of
> course, donations would be welcome to help spread the cost!)
Sharing the costs, control and ownership of hosting is a fundamental
and inescapable part of drawing users away from proprietary offerings.
Our lack of understanding on this subject must not stop us from tackling
this most important issue.
We must design a GNU Mode of Production that allows us to cover the
real costs of production (purchasing hardware, supplying electricity,
repairing and operating those machines, etc.) while preserving freedom
for every user.
We cannot leave these details to corporations that intend to subjugate
and overcharge us (where 'overcharge' also includes spying for the
purpose of receiving more advertisement revenue).
We cannot leave this to the charity of a few of us to fund and maintain
a small set of servers.
Charity cannot scale to compete with Google, Skype, Amazon, etc.
We need a rigorous business plan that will allow us to cover the real
costs of hosting Free Software while preserving User Freedom.
This can certainly be done.
Google, Skype, Amazon, and others charge *more* than the costs of
production, and yet their users do not pay in any 'direct' manner.
The FSF is already large enough to begin this.
The FSF already hosts email (@fsf.org and @gnu.org) that could compete
The FSF already hosts software projects (Savannah.GNU.org) that could
compete with github.com
We could compete with Facebook immediately (the Free Software is
already written) if we understood how to cover the costs of *HOST* that
software in such a way that those costs continue to be covered, even
as those hardware requirements increase in scale.
We are so weak on the 'business' side that we cannot even cover the
basic costs of those operations, whereas our proprietary competitors
cover all of their costs and *more* (in that they also receive Profit).
We must devise a solution to sharing hardware or we will forever be in
bondage to those corporations that know how to share (as in shareholders)
hardware for the purpose of subjugating users.
I have been working on this issue for a while now, and have discovered
some of the parts of the solution.
Once we realize how easy it is to co-own the Means of Production for
hosting Free Software, it will be obvious the same can be done for the
more important issues of food and housing and health-care.