Rambling: Why most 'alternative web' projects miss the point

2021-01-13


I assume most people here are aware of projects aiming to compete with "the web" in one way or another, right? I mean, you are reading this text through one of them.


But no, I am not talking about Gemini. Instead, I'm talking about various other "alternative web" projects. Take for example: Beaker Browser


Beaker Browser

It is certainly not unique in both attempting to replace the web, and in HOW it's trying to do so. There are various other things like Beaker but through different protocols. And some that even involve blockchains (uuuuuuugggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)


I am not here to talk about Beaker's specifics, I only shoved it here because it's the one I've seen most recently and was the "trigger" for this ramble.


Instead, I want to talk about HOW it's trying to replace the web.


See, Beaker and many others like it attempt to replace the protocol under the pages served. Not the pages themselves.


Why is this missing the point? Because the complex part ISN'T HTTP. It's the pages served through HTTP: It's the combo of HTML/CSS/JS.


The majority of the web's problems are caused by the HTML/CSS/JS. NOT by HTTP. You could've easily switched HTTP with something else (even Gemini!), and STILL have basically all the same problems if you don't switch to something simpler than HTML/CSS/JS.


Yes, you might have solved one specific problem about the distribution of pages, but the rest of the problems of how to interpret those pages remain. Of course, you are either not aware, or don't care enough, because you seem to be just using Electron and calling it a day.


You are still chained to the decisions of Google and to a lesser degree Apple and Mozilla. If they say you will have this feature, you must have that feature. You cannot contest with them. You think you're in control of your ecosystem, whereas it's only an illusion, and the parts you have control over don't really matter in the broad state of things.



. . .



Gemini gets this right by not just having Gemini, but also having Gemtext. A standard content type developed in tandem with the protocol itself, just like how HTTP has HTML.


The Gemini community is in full control over what happens in Gemini. We don't have megacorporations working against our interests even inside our sandbox. We can do what we want.


Our browsers do not have the bloat and security holes whatever new "standard" Google haphazardly threw out, intended for a completely different ecosystem, might cause. We do not have to pick up their trash after them.


Also, we have browsers with vastly different features intended for vastly different scenarios. How many Chromium clones do you have?


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