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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Linked Data, Solid, and the FSF

From: J.B. Nicholson
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Linked Data, Solid, and the FSF
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2019 20:34:30 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.4.0

Tom wrote:
These days I'm not so confident that linked data and Solid can live up
to all the promises.  The main reason I am questioning this is that
these things are apparently not being pursued as free software projects
for the benefit of users and society at large.

So I'm wondering, what are the views of those involved with the FSF
regarding linked data and Solid?  I'm wondering mainly about long term
goals and ideals but am also interested in technical aspects as far as
I'm able to understand them.  Are there any projects planned or in
progress at the FSF that will use linked data or Solid?

I don't know what the FSF makes of it and I can't speak to FSF's projects. I can only guess that if Solid is either a protocol which all are free to implement, or if Solid is a program distributed as free software then the FSF will probably stay out of any discussion about Solid. I don't often see the FSF discuss details about technical differences between free software that do more or less the same thing.

It seems to me that ActivityPub does what I understand Solid aims to do (what little I understand of Solid). But ActivityPub exists with viable software that has been running for a while now.

Solid seems to me to be well-intentioned but inadequate and likely to not catch on because people don't understand or appreciate protocols or the technical details of implementations. Non-technical users look at ready-to-use services hosted in a way where they don't have to learn much to use them.

If Inrupt (which I believe will be an instance of Solid available commercially) is just another single point of censorship, then I don't understand how it is different than the other single points of censorship like Facebook, Twitter, Google's blog service, (the service not the WordPress software), and so many other services.

To me the main issue is the hosting and user interface: ordinary users really don't need the silly limits of Twitter or any Twitter-alike[1]. Users could use a blog hosted on hardware they own connected via an always-on Internet connection like what they probably already have (at least in wealthier countries such as the US). FreedomBox seems like it's heading in the right direction on this.

I can't comment on one protocol or implementation over another. I'd want free implementations of whatever is deemed valuable.

[1] Chomsky & Hermann's "Manufacturing Consent" ( explains how restricting the space in which one may express themselves limits the range of allowable debate -- new ideas require explanation and backing that a limited space is designed to disallow.

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