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Maybe it's time for personal servers?

Sunday, November 15, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named missile.gifIn the early part of this decade, after the first dotcom crash, a lot of us thought that we'd all have personal servers by now.  Permalink to this paragraph

We called them fractional horsepower servers because the issues were different. Ease of use mattered more than scalability. And communication between servers and authoring tools was also essential. Hence XML-RPC, OPML and RSS.  Permalink to this paragraph

Instead, user generated content emerged as a business model, and many people went with the free hosting offered by startups. I never have depended on it, I've been inside too many tech companies to be willing to trust my writing with them, esp not long-term. The UGC business model only seems good for the users -- as they say if the offer appears too good to be true, it probably is. If you read the user agreement, they have no long-term obligation to host it. They probably don't even have to give you a copy of your own stuff.  Permalink to this paragraph

People ask how I use River2 while I travel. Well, my ISP, AT&T, offers a plan where you get five static IP addresses. I'm pretty technical so I know how to set it up, and I have an old laptop in my house that runs River2. I log into it even when I'm getting on from the house, but I can check what's new from an airplane at 35000 feet, where I am right now. I've not mentioned this before, but a couple of people asked me how I do it, and I told them, and neither thought I was crazy. That's a good sign. A picture named sidesmiley.gif Permalink to this paragraph

Not that Google Reader isn't an excellent product, it is. But it isn't what I like. It's okay, not everyone drinks the same beer or drives the same car. And with broadband becoming more popular, and computers cheaper, and old laptops lying around doing nothing, maybe for some people now's the time to start looking at having your own server running in your own house.  Permalink to this paragraph

It'll be interesting to see what kinds of comments this post gets. Permalink to this paragraph

PS: There's a thread on this topic at YCombinator. Major misunderstanding, by personal server I mean one that you pay for or own, it doesn't have to be running in your house. If you pay for a server at Rackspace or EC2, that's fundamentally difference from the UGC model. That's the important difference. Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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