There is a category of people I'm getting tired of listening to. Not because I don't share what they say. I'm getting tired of listening to them because they are of those types who ultimately speak by hearsay, and as a result do nothing. They say they do, but in the end they only produce merry-go-rounds.
I speak of merry-go-rounds when those who introduce a political theme limit themselves to actions that are completely irrelevant, such as making a merry-go-round around a courthouse.
The issue of digital rights, such as the data collection, is being approached exactly in this way: with beautiful merry-go-rounds.
When they tell me that we have to rebel against this and that and "go out of google" in general I always find myself answering the same thing: look, I now do everything self-hosting, so I got out of it.
And here the answer is always "yes but you are a technician, not everyone can do it".
The answer is everyone can do it. Let's understand each other:
- Dynamic DNS are now free. With some routers (e.g. Fritz) they come as standard.
- LetsEncrypt allows you to have certificates for free.
- A raspberry today has 8GB of Ram. Consume a few watts.
Then you will tell me that people do not know how to configure this and that. But these are also bales.
If the privacy warriors really wanted to spread selfhosting, instead of creating html pages with the list of (alternative) software to install and configure, they would have to do is buy a nice raspberry, install the software in "vanilla" mode, do the image of the SDcard, and offer it for download together with a nice manual. Do you want an SD card with, I know, mastodon installed? Well, here it is. As soon as you open it, your wizard appears. Do you want your XMPP server to not use whatsapp? Download the image here and follow the three instructions on how to put your nice hostname in it.
Of course, perhaps the common man would not do it anyway because he is lazy: but in this case the cause would be lost. But now let's put ourselves in the shoes of those who are NOT lazy. Let's put ourselves in the shoes of the "non-technical" man who would like to install his pleroma on a stalk, who would like to lose those two or three hours to do it. But he doesn't know how, and he doesn't have more than those two / three hours.
Who helps this man?
He could buy a kit already made with the raspi, the case, an already pre-installed sd card, where to write two or three parameters to start everything, for example. On a working morning he could do it even without special knowledge.
But again, if this person tries instructions for doing this you will lose hundreds of "antagonists" sites like these phony .
Now if you are a sysadmin they are definitely useful things. I personally test these software when I see one mentioned, if I didn't know it before.
But the common man doesn't need this, and he doesn't know what to do with it. The solution for the common man is the box already made, to buy and install with a few steps. Because it is not true that the common man is not a technician: maybe he is. Maybe it's the technician who runs the electricity in your city. Maybe it's the technician who runs the x-ray machine. Maybe it's the technician who fixes the trains. There is not a single type of technician: the story of "not being a technician" is not an excuse. The problem is that to do selfhosting you have to be technical in a specific field .
And that's the point: you can't have Harry Potter's arrogance with Muggles when one tells you he is not a computer technician, and then maybe he is the one who repairs magnetic resonances in hospitals (which makes a fairly technical character, I would say!).
The point is, if we want people to start considering your alternatives to take care of privacy, they need to have it easily .
They need to do as with any product: buy the box, install it, maybe configure it with no more than one or two parameters , and go.
The truth is that many of these "hactivists" make the "alternative" pages and then write on Linkedin "hactivist, privacy advocate", and put us as "curator of the XYZ.hackers.staccahstaccah pages", and they get on with little , just copy / paste some similar site, and off you go. Others want to do politics, have sensed that the theme "pulls", but they don't know what to do, so they just repeat what they hear, and they also copy / paste the page with free software.
Throughout the lockdown, they went crazy looking for a solution for videoconferencing that would scale, just because they did not know the SDP part of the SIP protocol, which can delegate the choice of codec to the client.
But it was not only necessary to find a solution that worked technically: it was also necessary to find one that functioned politically , so who fucks if there are already solutions to the same problem: if framapiaf is politically cool, you have to use whatever they propose to them. And who fucks if Asterisk has been doing this for years and is open source, and has been tested by millions of users now .
I stopped listening to the hoplites of privacy and digital freedoms. I just answer that I am self-hosting everything. And if by any chance one of them replies that not everyone can do it, my answer is simple:
"If not everyone can self-host, it's because you and those like you have failed to make it easy."