Since RMS enunciated the principles of Free Software so many years ago, the world of IT has crossed time and space. “On January 14th, Twitter suspended @Barbijaputa’s account after she participated in a conversation about sexually transmitted diseases. The next day, she created a profile on GNU social node Quitter.se and started posting. Her Twitter followers proved willing to follow her all the way to GNU social, and began joining existing nodes en masse and starting their own.
The growth was so explosive that the some of the existing GNU social nodes were unable to handle the traffic.
See Thousands of Spaniards leave Twitter for GNU social â€” Free Software Foundation â€” working together for free software.” While the original issues with users controlling software instead of being controlled by it still linger on the personal computer, servers, both local, remote and in the cloud introduce a new dimension.
It’s more efficient to have a few servers serving many thousands of people than having thousands of copies of some FLOSS. Indeed with networks of computers holding impossibly large databases, it’s not practical to have FLOSS on every PC taking care of business. One needs FLOSS on those servers to make them more trustworthy.
Social media is the extreme with hundreds of millions of users dealing with some central authority controlling every detail of a user’s experience. In Spain, the chickens have come home to roost and folks are giving FLOSS on federated servers a try. There will be teething troubles getting everything to scale but at least the users will have some say. Security is a whole other kettle of fish but security is a problem on the non-Free systems anyway.
I think this is an idea that can scale by eliminating bottlenecks. If there is no “central authority” there could be fewer bottlenecks. Can it be secured to prevent DOS and other baddies? Time will tell. The world can and does make its own FLOSS for PCs. Why not for networks of PCs and servers?