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Everybody's a server

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I am not going to try and predict what it will be like in the ’10s and I am not going to try and make guesses, since I am notorious for being wrong (yes, I am one of those people who thought that Java would be “it”...).

However, there is a shift that has indeed already happened, and hasn’t been highlighted as much by the media. This shift helps free software, and at the same time is helped by free software.
Let me take a step back. At the beginning of this decade, the internet become the most important feature in any personal computer. There was a very strong distinction between PCs (which acted as “clients”) and servers (which often didn’t have a monitor and were stacked in a server rack in a data centre). The PCs served would request a page; servers would display pages; PCs would render them. Blogging systems and photo albums often worked with the same concepts: the PCs were often used as a means to transfer the data onto the servers, using a web interface or an unfortunate proprietary client.

While I shouldn’t use the past tense just yet, something today has changed: people are using GNU/Linux and Mac OS, and therefore have fully featured servers hidden behind all the pretty icons they are used to. Windows users try to catch up, but they do seem to struggle in terms of available software or—more importantly—security; however yes, even Microsoft users can act as servers.

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