Tagward cunningham

Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet

Harlan Wood

My article for Wired on the Indie Web movement and the IndieWebCamp event:

One guy is wearing his Google Glass. Another showed up in an HTML5 t-shirt. And then there’s the dude who looks like the Mad Hatter, decked out in a top hat with an enormous white flower tucked into the brim.

At first, they look like any other gaggle of tech geeks. But then you notice that one of them is Ward Cunningham, the man who invented the wiki, the tech that underpins Wikipedia. And there’s Kevin Marks, the former vice president of web services at British Telecom. Oh, and don’t miss Brad Fitzpatrick, creator of the seminal blogging site LiveJournal and, more recently, a coder who works in the engine room of Google’s online empire.

Packed into a small conference room, this rag-tag band of software developers has an outsized digital pedigree, and they have a mission to match. They hope to jailbreak the internet.

They call it the Indie Web movement, an effort to create a web that’s not so dependent on tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and, yes, Google — a web that belongs not to one individual or one company, but to everyone. “I don’t trust myself,” says Fitzpatrick. “And I don’t trust companies.” The movement grew out of an egalitarian online project launched by Fitzpatrick, before he made the move to Google. And over the past few years, it has roped in about 100 other coders from around the world.

On any given day, you’ll find about 30 or 40 of them on an IRC chat channel, and each summer, they come together in the flesh for this two-day mini-conference, known as IndieWebCamp. They hack. They demonstrate. They discuss. They strive to create a new set of tools that can give you greater control over the stuff you post to the net — the photos, the status updates, the blog posts, the comments. “The Indie Web is a community of folks interested in owning their own content — and identity — online,” says Tantek Celik, another developer at the heart of the movement.

Full Story: Wired: Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet

See also:

List of Indie Web projects

Wiki Inventor’s Latest Creation Decentralizes the Web

Open Source Project Mimics Yahoo Pipes on Your Own Machine

Wiki Inventor’s Latest Creation Decentralizes the Web

New from me at Wired:

Ward Cunningham, the creator of the wiki, is proud of his invention. “We changed the world together,” he says of those who contributed to his software development site C2, which spawned the online collaboration software that underpins Wikipedia and countless other services across the net.

But there is one thing about the wiki that he regrets. “I always felt bad that I owned all those pages,” he says. The central idea of a wiki — whether it’s driving Wikipedia or C2 — is that anyone can add or edit a page, but those pages all live on servers that someone else owns and controls. Cunningham now believes that no one should have that sort of central control, so he has built something called the federated wiki.

This new creation taps into the communal ethos fostered by GitHub, a place where software developers can not only collaborate on software projects but also instantly “fork” these projects, spawning entirely new collaborations.

Wired Enterprise: Wiki Inventor Sticks a Fork in His Baby

I’m thinking about getting this up and running and moving the dossiers to it.

See also:

Smallest Federated Wiki on Github (requires either Ruby and Sinatra or Node.js and Express)

One-click installer for Amazon Web Services (there are also instructions for getting it up and running quickly on Heroku)

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