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Federated, decentralised communication on the internet (was: domain names, was: hostname)

David Wright <deblis@lionunicorn.co.uk> writes:

> I don't understand why a home user would not be using a smarthost.
> Perhaps we're talking about a different group of people. Why would a
> home user want to relay mail rather than submit it to a smarthost?

First, note that even if you don't know the reason why someone would
want to run their own mail server on their own connection, that is no
argument to arbitrarily deny them the ability to do it.

So, while you're well within your rights to be curious about why, the
question doesn't demand an answer. Whoever wants to run a mail server on
their home connection should by default have the right to do so, for any
reason or no reason, and doesn't need to explain why to anyone.

As it happens, there are excellent reasons to want to do this. They are
no less strong now than when doing this was much more common in the
1990s and earlier: in order to retain decentralised control, distributed
throughout the community, of a decentralised and federated communication

The news for the past decade (and more) has given frequent reminder of
why it's important to wrest control of our communications out of the
hugh, centralised choke-points that currently reign. That by itself is
reason enough to support and encourage more people running mail servers
independent of those entities.

The person in question may have additioonal reasons, or separate
reasons. The point is that email is *designed* and *works best* as a
decentralised, federated system. We should be asking not “why would
anyone do this?”, but rather “why have we gone so far in relinquishing
the ability to do this?”.

And then take active steps to move more toward federated, decentralised
communication again.

 \        “With Lisp or Forth, a master programmer has unlimited power |
  `\     and expressiveness. With Python, even a regular guy can reach |
_o__)                               for the stars.” —Raymond Hettinger |
Ben Finney

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