Gmail

  • It looks like the UK Labour party will soon call for closer scrutiny of tech firms and their algorithms. If all goes well, it just won’t work, and that will the end of it. Otherwise, it will be really bad.After the 2016 Christmas break, a Labour’s industrial paper will call for suggestions on “how tech firms could be more closely supervised by government”. The algorithms, that is the formulas and rules used by those firms to run their services, are closely guarded trade secrets.
  • By now, you probably already know that Yahoo scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence”, and if you haven’t you can read all the details in the previous link, or in many other places. Here, I only want to point out one thing, mainly but not only to software geeks, and to any organizations whose goal include promoting privacy: this whole Yahoo story is just one more perfect example that one of the most urgent things to do in the digital sphere is to give everybody their very own, personal email server, at the smallest possible cost.
  • One year ago I launched a proposal, with related fundraiser, for an alternative to Facebook, Gmail and similar services really usable by normal people, the percloud. That fundraiser did not succeed, which is no problem at all for me, because I do have many other things to do. I am writing this post only because I believe that something like the percloud is still sorely needed, and the sooner anybody does it, the better.
  • I just got an email by somebody asking how the Free Software alternative to corporate social networks that I call percloud would work. I answered that…In a certain sense, we may compare a percloud to a traditional FTP server on which you would upload your posts, pictures and so on, in order to make them available from any computer or smartphone with an FTP client or Web browser, to you and every other Internet user else with the right permissions.
  • Believe it or not, I only discovered arKos last Friday, through this Slashdot announcement: a project (apparently) very similar to the percloud, which is my own proposal for a Free Software alternative to Facebook, Gmail &C. Following the links from Slashdot I discovered this interview to the arkOS developer and even more projects in the same space that I didn’t know: buddycloud, Personal Clouds and unhosted. update 2013/10/08, 10:20am GMT+1: I discovered just now the IndieWebCamp projects.
  • The percloud is my proposal for an easy to use personal cloud, that is for a feasible alternative for the masses to Facebook, Gmail, and all similar centralized Web services and their privacy and data ownership issues. Last week I put online a 10 slides summary of how the percloud should work. This post answers a specific question that I’ve been asked many times by readers of those slides(*): hey, wait a minute: isn’t this percloud you’re talking about just another Linux distribution?
  • Source: Ray MacLean on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/raymaclean/3548172441/ UPDATE 2013/09/17: THIS PROJECT NOW HAS A HOME AT per-cloud.com I have been using my own email service and self-hosted blogs since 2006⁄2007. I started explaining why everybody should do the same three years ago, when I proposed Virtual Personal Email Servers to overcome the big limits of today’s email. In 2011 I repeated why it is important to find alternatives to Gmail.
  • Last month there was a discussion on Slashdot about do-it-yourself Gmail alternatives. Email is an essential Internet service. Therefore, I think that the object of that discussion is extremely important, and that it is a pity that almost nobody realizes the implications of the current email infrastructure for the masses. The next paragraph is a synthesis of two comments in that discussion (from cshark and toygeek) that explain well what the real problem is.