Masters and Slaves, Lords and Serfs

Currently read Data and Goliath and am transfixed about this.

Our relationship with many of the Internet companies we rely on is not a traditional company–customer relationship. That’s primarily because we’re not customers. We’re products those companies sell to their real customers. The relationship is more feudal than commercial. The companies are analogous to feudal lords, and we are their vassals, peasants, and—on a bad day—serfs. We are tenant farmers for these companies, working on their land by producing data that they in turn sell for profit.


Upon reading that, I remember something. That passage couldn't resonate more with what the Start9 self-hosted movement:

This comes right down to the basic architecture of the internet itself.

The client/server model that we have all grown used to is better understood as the slave/master model. When you use someone else's server, they are your master.

When you depend on a server that you run, you still have a master - but that master is you.