Hi dear #fediverse today I’d love to know if there’s has been research relative to internet decentralization & ecology. The internet’s carbon footprint is already estimated to 10% of global emission. Will decentralization help reduce that or is it paving the way to a worst scenario? Cc @aral @dada @switchingsocial @eliotberriot
No but seriously, it's hard to believe decentralization is more ecological than centralization. There are some choices as society we should make. Personally I believe decentralization is worth it, even if it was less efficient re resources.
Let's concentrate on the *real* big problems instead, oh like:
@jaywink @imacrea @dada @switchingsocial @eliotberriot A peer topology for digital/networked technology (I am not going to use the d-word as the blockchain folks have entirely warped its meaning with their libertarian penis-torches) is a prerequisite for personhood in the digital age. Whether or not we have it will determine whether we are people or property. So I’d say it’s quite fundamental for the future of our species.
Also, centralized services (let's say Gmail) are more critical because they host more content and are basically Single Points Of Failure.
So they end up spending lots of resources on High Availability, Blue/Green deployments, replication, etc. and so on, because every second of downtime is critical.
On the other hand, it's not a big deal if your small Mastodon instance is down for an hour or two.
@imacrea @aral @jaywink @dada @switchingsocial what we call centralized services are actually quite distributed under the hood: data is replicated in multiple datacenters, accross the globe, you have CDNs for delivering content, multiple servers working in parallel to answer your search query, cache systems, etc.
All of this has an ecological cost.
@jaywink I agree on focusing on these giant companies but if they work so well don’t you think it’s also because we’re in such need of energy? If there was pressure on them to, let’s say, produce less then we could expect some stuff to be shutdown on our side. The internet is already estimated to 10% of global emission.
@jaywink hmm I don’t know, for sure its usage is far from being massive at the moment. Thanks for your this interesting conversation Jason :)
The main problem is hardware actually. If you read https://www.greenit.fr/ you'll see that AFAICR 10y of electric consumption of the device is roughly equivalent to the production/recycling of the hardware. (And this I think is just about energy, without thinking about resources https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLRUcdMbZ_M&list=PLhgpBc0hGjSu6Rtm2_686Sz0qCSX3s3yR&index=3 )
So, if you use a second hand device at home or in a datacenter, you are already a lot better off.
Then, I'd join @aral to say that the centralization of power is unbearable.
So then we have to avoid big centralization like google or facebook.
Hosting at home is not yet practical for everybody from a technical standpoint and the cpu of your machine will likely be a flat <1%.
In our opinion in #chatons and https://libreho.st the sweet spot is federation ;)
You have best of both worlds, it is decentralized, in term of energy, the cpu usage is higher. And you can get a beer with your hoster to make sure it is a person that share your values.
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