Contact me on Tilde.Chat to exchange banners!
SSB Log Entry 79
Part II: Things Got Worse
Despite low bandwidth, low CPU speeds and expensive storage costs, the CD-ROM era of the 90's and early 2000's offered many advantages not seen in modern software.
Some readers might say that I'm just being a grumpy old web browser from an era long past. Some might say that things have changed and that local data storage is no longer feasible. The reality is that data storage is now cheaper than it has ever been and even the largest datasets can be easily backed up on local media (which by the way, is cheap as hell, go on Amazon and look for yourself).
As an example, I keep a local backup copy of Wikipedia on my hardrive for offline use via Kiwix. As ridiculous as that might seem, the entire Wikipedia database backup (*.zim) weighs in at a pretty reasonable 34 Gigabytes. That's definitely not a small file, but it's not an unreasonable size considering that it's a backup of every article on Wikipedia. The entire Open Street Map dataset for North America is much smaller than that. I imagine many of the other services that I use which do not offer offline caching are miniscule compared to these two data sets.
Obviously, offline data such as the CD-ROMs of yore offered us something we no longer have. These days, we are stuck with recurring subscription models, data sets that are kept under the custody of a server that we must be connected to at all times, and shady "freemium" business models that violate our privacy.
Hyper-connected "always on" software not only takes away things that help us, it adds problems never seen previously:
Is it Really That Bad?
What's The Solution?
Software consumers trust publishers with their money. Publishers of the decade have consistently refused to reciprocate that trust by providing ownership.
To regain ownership of software, we must demand software that meets our needs. For commercial products, we must speak with our wallets. For free products, we must be willing to walk away from the services that use personal data as a payment method. We must also be willing to provide financial support to free projects that respect our privacy and freedom.
When a commercial software publisher offers a product that embraces ownership, reward them with your business. If the software is provided free of charge, show your support by sending them a financial donation.