LibreServer Blog / 2021 in review

Whereas 2020 dragged, 2021 went in a flash. Mainly I have been working on the Epicyon project, with some amount of development on other software including the Bullseye release of LibreServer.

Epicyon is now quite mature. There remains a problem with federating avatar images to Mastodon, but that seems to be related to Content Delivery Networks and so I'm not sure that there's anything that can be done about it.

LibreServer development is quite pedestrian now and with the release this year I have tried to simplify the deployment, rather than trying to support lots of single board computers. My opinion now is that self-hosting has a part in the future of the internet, but that it's not likely to become mainstream in the near future and I assume it will remain a fringe activity.

I've also updated some of the environmental projects - Tempgraph and CCG - to use Python instead of C++. The data formats have been changing, and supporting those changes in C++ was going to be complicated, so rewriting those things in Python will make keeping up with any future similar changes a lot easier. Overall the environmental situation looks bleak, and nothing that has been done so far - the fancy political conferences, and so on - has moved the trends at all.

In terms of ideas about the internet, the rest of the world seems to have caught up with where I was a decade ago. Back then I had the FreedomBox-like opinion that the internet was becoming too centralized and that taking back ownership of your data from disparate silos was a good idea. Back then the concept of running your own email server or web server was considered to be an act of sheer lunacy. "Leave it to Google. They're the experts" was the typical attitude. Today skepticism towards big tech companies is quite normal.

Also this year I was indefinitely suspended from Twitter. The only reason given was "suspicious activity", and at first I thought it had something to do with a browser version upgrade, but after a while it became evident that wasn't the case. I didn't do much on that site other than posting music links, make occasional project announcements and read the news. Also the timing of the suspension coincided with the LibreServer Bullseye release, so make of that what you will.

So now other than very rare checking of Facebook I don't have much involvement with mainstream social media, and primarily exist on "the open web". YouTube is about as close as I get to the BigTech systems. The internet is always changing, and one thing I've noticed recently is a revival of interest in the very old idea of webrings. No Googling involved, just lists of related sites and then manually surf around to see what you can find.

Another internet trend which became obvious this year is the ideological split between those for and against cryptocurrencies and blockchain based systems. I tend to think of cryptocurrency as a failed project, which never succeeded in disintermediating the banking system. If you look at how those technologies are used now it's primarily to benefit bankers and other ultra-rich individuals via currency speculation at exchanges or via NFT scams.

Where things will go in 2022 is anyone's guess. I don't have any dazzling predictions. At least life isn't predictable. The last few years and in fact the last decade has felt like lurching from one gut-wrenching crisis to the next.