The internet sucks, what do we replace it with?
I realize that saying “The Internet sucks” is a controversial, yet oddly correct claim to make.
The internet is revolutionary, it transformed how we communicate and basically how we live. But when the Internet (or “World Wide Web”) was being created in CERN, the intention for it was to be a “Information system”.
Basically, text and pictures, and links to other website. It was for academic and educational use, much like ARPANET. It wasn’t really supposed to have its own culture.
What went wrong?
For the first couple of years, nothing! Unix and BSD were flourishing, and they were developing their own respective cultures. Linux was being developed by Linus Torvalds and GNU needed a free kernel. And the Internet was just another way to communicate besides Email, Usenet and all of the other nerdy ways to talk.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it went all wrong, but the dot com bubble is a huge factor as to why the Internet sucks.
Basically, what had kept the Internet from turning bad was the fact that it was so hard to access, the average Joe does not know how to use Mosaic and so it all started when Netscape released their beloved Netscape Navigator and when Microsoft released Internet Explorer.
And now suddenly, The internet was available to anyone, your average Joe COULD run his own website even! And we saw a huge rise in Internet websites, personal blog and those little sources of Information! At that point, the Internet was a lot like the “Information System” that Tim Berners-Lee envisioned.
The rise of enterprise!
And then suddenly, “Internet companies” came into existence and Investors invested so heavily into these new corporations. Firstly, they started out small. They were just doing business and they weren’t harming anyone.
And after the bubble exploded, it seemed like the Internet was just as it was before, an information system. Except a select few companies (Google, Facebook, Amazon and others) did survive the explosion and became internationally-recognized.
They started introducing invasive and proprietary products/services (Such as Facebook’s social media platform, Amazon’s Web Services and Google’s Analytics tracker) and these slowly started to infect the internet.
But now they were messing with the Fabric of the internet itself, see, in 1994, Tim Berners-Lee founded the W3C, the W3C created HTML and XHTML, and those provided compatible, open, standards for creating websites.
The W3C is powerful, and so were these corporations, and because they were so huge, they got seats in the W3C which allowed them to introduce rules on the actual Internet that websites and browsers had to support.
First it began with Encrypted Media Extensions, a proposal to add Digital Rights Management to the Internet itself, blocking various Privacy-enhancing W3C proposals and intentionally bloating the Internet so an effective monopoly on web browsers was created.
And let’s not forget the worst offender, Advertisements, initially those were used to advertise other personal websites and not products/services, but then Google among other companies realized they can create their own Advertisement systems to make money. These advertisement systems relied on personal information and invasive tracking. The advertisements slowed the Internet, made Big Tech even bigger, spied on people tremendously and were just so annoying.
Those 2 things, along with Microsoft and Apple’s monopoly on OSes meant that for now, corporations ruled the Internet.
What do we do then?
Firstly let’s be clear, the fabric of the internet itself is okay, it’s not that bad. But it sucks so badly because the fabric itself is being abused to squeeze money as much as possible out of users and inconveniencing them wherever they go.
If people just used HTML and CSS, everything would be fine, we would have a decent Internet with little to no bloat. But we can’t convince the entire Internet to switch away, that’s a ridiculous idea.
“What about alternative platforms? Gemini? Gopher?” Those are fine but they’re not well-known, they are too technical for most people and if you put the average Joe in front of a Gopher website (or even a Gemini one) they’ll be very confused because it’s not easy to navigate and it doesn’t look good.
As for oklomsy.com and my personal homepage, I will make sure to keep it free of bloat, free of invasive scripts and free of ads. I will keep it open to anyone, I will not block Tor users “just because they could be malicious” I am not worried about that.
Right now, the best thing to do would be to educate people about this issue and help them host their own websites, and we could also promote decentralization and the fediverse as those are easily-achieveable and quite relevant to most people
Let’s make the Internet less shit.