Inrupt: Tim Berners-Lee's planning to decentralise the Internet away from corporates who have been controlling it for profit
"This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt (https://www.inrupt.com), a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over."
When Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, talks about the Internet I take note of what he says. He helped bring about much of what we enjoy on the Internet today except that years ago the Internet was about sharing, doing good, communicating for the benefit of everyone. Unfortunately, commercial interests (not to mention political and other agendas) have created centralised hubs which filter and feed what people see, think and say to fund profit driven corporations. Smaller startups like Mastodon, Diaspora, etc have definitely attracted many users but have just not been able to crack it with the masses. Each has also lacked a bit of "something" hence not being a natural solution to the problem.
"On his screen, there is a simple-looking web page with tabs across the top: Tim’s to-do list, his calendar, chats, address book. He built this app–one of the first on Solid–for his personal use. It is simple, spare. In fact, it’s so plain that, at first glance, it’s hard to see its significance. But to Berners-Lee, this is where the revolution begins. The app, using Solid’s decentralized technology, allows Berners-Lee to access all of his data seamlessly–his calendar, his music library, videos, chat, research. It’s like a mashup of Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and WhatsApp."
"The difference here is that, on Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.
When asked about this, Berners-Lee says flatly: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.”
Yes, it sounds a bit like what Mastodon, Diaspora, Friendica, etc are trying to achieve but I'm thinking that Berners-Lee has been thinking far bigger picture. Same principle but differently executed and at a more strategic level (that's how you think if you invent the world wide web). I'm going to be following this closely!