on Open Source and Federation

Profile Page of Yuri Kuznetsov

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Most people would generally support 'open source' projects due to beliefs that it makes it safer, promotes openness, allows users to see what they are running, and allows users to study or modify the program.

Despite those reasons being valid and true, for many programs, I think that it simply de-values the project.

For example, I would like to think of pleroma and mastodon. Two twitter clones. I think that these programs would be immensely more popular if they were centralized. If anyone can run their own, the site loses anything special. Besides the fact that these are poorly designed programs in the first place.

Recently, there has been some pressure for me to make kokonotsuba open source. I also would say to this, that if anyone could create their own kokonotsuba website, the original websites would lose much of their merit.

Federation and the ability to create decentralized networks has also been so far a failure. Not only do most of these projects rely too heavily on trust, they simply result in every single user creating their own "node" instead of congregating together and using a central one. This messies things and promotes a more closed-off atmosphere, which can damage the whole of the community.

From my experiences with federated projects, they seem to be mostly deserted, hard to use, slow, and full of egotists who want to run a billion copy-paste github services.

I can think of, from the top of my head, a dozen or so websites, each with a funny or cute domain, that all do the exact same thing, all of their administrators have the same personality, they all promote the same talking points, they all follow the same style, and they all offer the same services. Sites like fuwafuwa.moe, neko.airforce, uguu.se, and some other websites which I have now given free advertising.  A pastebin, file uploader, and link shortner are typical, but somewhat infrequently you also see gitlabs, IRC servers, and other services. They are all deserted,  simply cloned from github and never looked back on again. Because why use someone elses when you can just make your own?

This mentality, which I expressed in the last sentence, is just not suitable for gathering large userbases. It leads to confusion, primarily. While yes, promoting openess and security.

This is why I typically pride kolyma in making all of our services at home. Yes, for the most part, its all home-made. The bulletin board software which i have leased out to kaguya, simonov, and heyuri is home-made. The file uploader which we use, is unique, and only seen in 1 other place, even if its not homemade. We use a home-made spam blacklist, our own web daemon, our own analytics software, and we are working on some other things to replace the third party software we use. Even the software which i used to write this blog post (webadmin v1.1) was written by a kolyma net developer, and is closed source, for use only by us.

This has lead to increased usage, and made our websites more special, unique. If heyuri died, someone cant just throw up a site with the same name and call it a day, as history has taught us.

These are just my thoughts about open source and federation. Ultimately, I do support open source projects, and am more likely to use them, but for some fields, such as "DIY" programs, or other mass-produced garbage (see: vichan), its not suitable, and closed source alternatives are preffered.

kuznotes:
This site is turning 1 year old today. Happy birthday!

Copyright © 2005 — Yuri Kuznetsov