... probably for the same reason that people in decades prior stopped taking buses and streetcars and instead drove cars." - Paul Ford
Now we are going back to sharing machines that we are told exist in "the cloud". Could a return to mass transit be the future of transport?

@strypey for the analogy to hold, all mass transit systems worldwide should be privatised first

@antanicus privatization of public transport infrastructure has been underway for decades in this country, leading to
http://qttr.at/20c2
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@strypey and that's precisely why I used the word "worldwide". Let me explain: cloud computing has been pushed on us because it is profitable at a global scale (you can pay Amazon for an AWS instance regardless of your location); to achieve the same level of global profitability, mass transit systems should be privatised worldwide, by a small group of companies, given the hyper local nature of mass transit.

@antanicus the point of the analogy is the shift from PC back to shared computing might actually be good, only the private ownership is bad
@antanicus if we replaced #Google and #FarceBook with entities run like #Wikipedia and #Archive.org would the 'centralization' be a problem?

@strypey centralized institutions will always suffer from "single failure point" problems, not to mention politics. I'd much prefer a decentralised replacement for both

@antanicus but isn't this also an argument against mass transit and for personal vehicles?
@antanicus taken to an extreme it even becomes an argument against public roads (private roading ownership being more 'decentalized') ...
@antanicus ... or even an argument against roads as a single point of failure; and for flying cars (ie private jets) as more 'decentralized'

@strypey my bad, I should have expressed myself better. To me "decentralised" means every single community gets to both control and enjoy the local implementation of a given system, regardless of how other communities organise themselves. Private cars are not decentralised in this sense, as private ownership prevents the community at large from benefitting from them. Mass transit, on the contrary, grants access to all

@antanicus this is a fair definition of 'decentralized', but I can't see how the rest of your argument logically follows from it.
@antanicus communities don't get to control the local implementation of mass transit, it's determined by centralised transit authorities ...
@antanicus each household's private vehicles implement the RDT (Road Transport Protocol) independent of other how others households do it...
@antanicus ... so it neatly fits your definition of 'decentralised', no?

@strypey hey :)
> so it neatly fits your definition of 'decentralised', no?
- not really, as private ownership is not benefiting the community as a whole, but only those who actually own the cars (though car polling and car sharing schemes sometimes alleviate this problem)

@strypey so we have two parallel situations:
- private cars are decentralized but do not benefit the community
- public transport is centralized but benefits the community

An ideal scenario would be a decentralized transportation method that benefits the community, something we could achieve through cooperative ownership.

@antanicus or maybe we could just accept the self-evident fact that centralized can sometimes be better than decentralized?
@antanicus after all centralization vs. decentralization is only one criteria. There's also public vs. private, democratic vs. elite etc
@antanicus coming back to the distribution of computing, which is where we started this discussion ...
@antanicus what we're looking at is the distribution of two different things; processing and responsibility. The "cloud" centralizes both
@antanicus "self-hosting" using leased access to datacentres decentralizes sysadmin responsibility while still centralizing processing
@antanicus self-hosting using one's own hardware decentralizes both processing and sysadmin responsibilities, but with a loss of resilience
@antanicus if your hardware fails (or your sysadmin skills) your services go down and/or data is lost. Datacentres provide many redundancies
@antanicus so a publicly-owned, democratically-run datacentre might be a better model than full decentralization (self-hosting at home)
@antanicus there's nothing in your definition of 'decentralized' about "benefiting the community". That's a totally separate issue

@strypey I get it, and I agree with you. I just wanted to point out that global private ownership is a key difference between cloud infrastructures and mass transit ones. besides this, I am all for mass transit

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