Presenting the Dweb

The web is the most successful programming system in history, resulting in the largest open plus accessible collection of human knowledge actually created. So yeah, it’ h pretty great. But there are a group of common problems that the web is not capable to address.

Have you ever…

  • Had a web site or app you love get up-to-date to a new version, and you wanted to go back to the old version?
  • Tried to share a file between your cell phone and laptop or tv or even other device while not connected to the web? And without using a cloud service?
  • Gone to a website or services that you depend on, only to find it’ s i9000 been shut down? Whether it obtained bought and enveloped by several internet giant, or has gone away from business, or whatever, it was crucial for you and now it’ s eliminated.

Additionally , the internet is facing critical internet medical issues, seemingly intractable due to the centralization associated with power in the hands of a couple of large companies who have economic passions in not solving these problems:

  • Hate speech, nuisance and other attacks on social networks
  • Repeated attacks on Internet Neutrality by governments and companies
  • Mass human marketing communications compromised and manipulated for income or political gain
  • Censorship and whole internet shutdowns by governments

These are some of the problems and use-cases addressed by a new wave associated with projects, products and platforms building upon or with web technologies using a twist: They’ re making use of decentralized or distributed network architectures instead of the centralized networks we make use of now, in order to let the users control their particular online experience without intermediaries, regardless of whether government or corporate. This brand new structural approach gives rise towards the idea of a ‘ decentralized web’, often conveniently shortened to ‘ dweb’.

You can read several perspectives on centralization, and precisely why it’ s an important issue for all of us to tackle, in Mozilla’ t Internet Wellness Report , released earlier this year.

What’ s the “ D” in Dweb?!

The “ d” in “ dweb” usually stands for either decentralized or distributed.
What is the distinction between distributed vs decentralized architectures? Here’ s a visual representation:

visual representation of central, decentralized, and distributed networks
(Image credit: Openclipart. org , your best source to get technical clip art with animals)

In central systems, one entity has control of the participation of all other organizations. In decentralized systems, power more than participation is divided between several entity. In distributed systems, nobody entity has control over the involvement of any other entity.

Examples of centralization on the web today would be the domain name system (DNS), servers operate by a single company, and web sites designed for controlled communication.

A few examples of decentralized or dispersed projects that became household brands are Napster , BitTorrent and Bitcoin .

Some of these new dweb tasks are decentralizing identity and social media. Some are building distributed providers in or on top of the existing central web, and others are distributed app protocols or platforms that operate the web stack (HTML, JavaScript plus CSS) on something other than HTTP. Also, there are blockchain-based platforms that will run anything as long as it can be put together into WebAssembly .

Here We Go

Mozilla’ s mission is to place users in control of their experiences on-line. While some of these projects and systems turn the familiar on the head (no servers! no DNS! no HTTP(S)! ), it’ ersus important for us to explore their possibility of empowerment.

This is the initial post in a series. We’ lmost all introduce projects that cover interpersonal communication, online identity, file sharing, brand new economic models, as well as high-level app platforms. All of this work is possibly decentralized or distributed, minimizing or even entirely removing centralized control.

You’ ll meet the individuals behind these projects, and learn regarding their values and goals, the particular technical architectures used, and see simple code examples of using the project or even platform.

So keep your assumptions at the door, and obtain ready to learn what a web a lot more fully in users’ control can look like.

Dietrich Ayala is really a developer advocate at Mozilla, the particular non-profit makers of the Firefox internet browser, where he’s been working for web freedom and shipping open supply software to hundreds of millions of people for more than a decade.

More articles by Lockpick Ayala…

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