I’ve started to self-host most of my services 6 years ago when I was still an international student, starting with Jabber, as I was bored of MSN and wanted to learn new cool stuff during my free time.
At that time, it was purely to learn and have full control of what I wanted to do/have. Actually I was using Gentoo distribution on my dualcore T5500 laptop, so, no need to mention how ready I was to get my hands dirty 🙂
And I was thinking having a XMPP server on my laptop that was off most of the time was not a problem. And indeed, it wasn’t! As I was using only my laptop as IM client to discuss with my friends, the server needed to be ON only when the client were ON too.
But things changed as the more I was learning and hosting many services, the more disconnected I started to be from all the progress done in targeted advertisement, SPAM received, intrusion in my personal life, etc….
It’s only after moving back to my own country and turning off all the services I was using that I started to be concerned by my privacy, respect of my personal life and most of all the “peace of mind” of using GNU/Linux and my own services on my own server.
I’m talking about very simple things like installing a software on Windows….better to go to the official website to get the latest version and virus free…. then download it….double click…..next…next….yes….next…..no I don’t want the whatever bar……no I don’t accept my information to be used by the company….next….DONE. Neither the update….to check by yourself if no automatic checking…and to reinstall, etc…
Or I’m talking about the Google Mail account with localized advertisement based on the content of the email received….or suggested videos on Youtube based of what you watched previously…(Oh and no need to remind me I was looking for a porn movie on the platform…) or the habit to click too fast on the popup message that appear before to really read it and to find you have accepted to join Google+ or letting a lot of your print on the web and have tracked advertisement from the previous website you have visited displayed to the new one.Or having to check your SPAM box as frequent as your regular inbox to double check if any genuine mail was there…since it seems to be more like a black box…Or registering there and there and started to receive unsolicited request etc….
I’m sure we have all faced one of these annoying unpleasantness.
The truth is Internet is a very transparent and free place and this is a good thing ! A lot of big companies are making good business there with “free” services (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, etc…) and why not? Nothing bad about making money if it is legal and moral.
But you have to be able to control what you want to share and what you don’t want. And here is the difference between self hosting yourself or using 3rd party services and same goes with Free Software (Free as free speech, not free beer) and Proprietary Software. If you are not able to see the source code or use the software freely, what guarantee do you have of the treatment of your personal data?
For all these reasons (Full control of what I want to do and how I want, respect of my personal life, etc…), I decided few years back to self host as many services as possible. And there is reason for me to change that.
But don’t misunderstand me, this website will neither be about criticizing Proprietary Software (How evil are they?!) nor to initiate a crusade for Free Software. (Free is only what matter?!)
It will bring alternatives to popular services with news and (hopefully) clear tutorial to help you easily install them, because you will see, it’s not so difficult, if you are helped.