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Decentralization and Socialism

N.B.: This is an unfinished article written in July 2009.

One of the most revolutionary and evolutionary changes that information technology has brought about is the decentralization of networked resources. I am writing this post with a keyboard connected to my local PC which is connected to the Internet where there is a server with my website running the word processing software. I don’t know (or care) where on Earth the physical server is or if the processed file will be kept there or somewhere else. This document will be instantly visible across the globe for anyone to see and to comment on using a similar process. In the early days of the Internet, you had to log in to a remote computer to get the data from there. Now, the various elements on this page might be served from a dozen different systems anywhere in the world. Ads may come from a Google server in California, graphics from a Flickr archive, calendar information from Facebook, etc. All seamlessly delivered in an integrated page.

Modular computing has been around for a long time, but it has mostly been confined to large esoteric corporate processes. Theoretically, each sentence in this article could come from a different source and the reader would have no way of knowing that.

What makes modularity possible is the energy behind those who see its potential. The tech pioneers saw the power of pulling in the computing power and software resources of another machine to add to their own projects achat de viagra en ligne. They realized early on that in a high speed networked world, there was no particular need to have applications living on every local machine.When friends talked, they realized they had useful modules to share, and thus was born the idea of Open Source. The furthering of the technology became such a powerful motivator that it even overcame the motive for profit and ownership. As the technologies developed and stabilized, the profit motive re-emerged. Now that decentralized computing is becoming commonplace, even Microsoft is finally moving towards hosting their Office applications online. No need for you to install Word and Excel on your computer, taking up disk space and making you jump through hoops trying to decide what features you might need as you install it. Just open it online and let them maintain it. (This also guarantees the company’s control of its products and licensing.)

The advent of virtual worlds and social networking is breaking down traditional models of ownership and individuality. In a virtual world, it’s fairly easy to imitate a product. If I see an automobile in Second Life, I probably have most of the skills to build a copy of it using the tools that are readily at hand. In fact, the way I learn to do But if I do, can I then sell it at a lower cost? If anyone can make an automobile, clothing, or a house, how can a maker of these things make a living? What can I add to this object that is unique and that only I can provide?

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