There is no technical reason why they could not do it. But there is no incentive for them to do it.
Plenty of reasons. Availability: my home has only one net connection and it’s availability is terrible. Durability: Any data stored in my home has very limited durability. Physical Security: My home’s not the most physically secure place. There are more.
It is possible to get great performance on these properties from a decentralized system, but it’s going to be far from “install gmail on your home machine”.
Gmail is written as a decentralized system. They just own all the machines…
I want to add I agree with you that a 3rd party is useful for certain things.
That article is just plain bad, IMO.
First, a rant about how bad centralized web services are probably should be hosted on wordpress.com.
Second, it assumes everybody agrees centralized services are bad. I don’t agree, and I’m pretty sure most people don’t even care or understand the issue.
In any case, I think the author is incorrectly placing the blame on corporations.
The reality is that companies sell centralized services because that’s what most people want. I’m technically capable of hosting my own git repos, hosting my own blog, setting up my own IRC, and running my own email server, but I don’t enjoy it and don’t want to “waste” my time doing it.
The article also completely ignores the other benefits and network effects of using hosted services. Chat is the best example. I can chat with a dozen people using 1 connection to a central server instead of a dozen connections to each person’s individual server. It also doesn’t require sideband communication to find out everybody' server names to connect to.
And services like GitHub and Flickr save me a ton of time. If I’m trying to use a library, and I’m looking for code that uses it, I can go to GitHub and search. That would be nearly impossible if everybody’s code was spread around in a million places all over the internet.
Not all centralized systems are bad, especially ones related to public communication and publishing, hence wordpress. Just ones that you expect things to be private.
Just as there is a difference between your house and the town square or the mall. Town square is open to everyone, the mall is open if you follow all the rules. Home is closed except to those who you invite.
Most commercial centralized systems are either like the mall (facebook) or your house (gmail).
My argument in the article is that systems that were built to be decentralized have been centralized to people’s detriment. And that they can be as convenient as centralized systems with the right social and capital investments.