"self hosting" and such 

4 or 5 years ago, i was doing contract stuff and scavenging around for some extra work, and somebody in an open-source centric community i'm in said hey, i need a website and a forum and a mailing list and such for a project. sure thing, i said, i can just spin you up a little digitalocean box with a static site on it, install discourse, so on and so forth. we'll use mostly open source stuff, keep it simple.

"self hosting" and such 

fast forward a bit and i've realized that i'm going to stay in a pit of escalating debt for the rest of my life if i don't just find a salary-and-benefits kind of job, so i nominally hand off this project to someone else who's been working on it.

of no course no aspect of the handoff really works. jekyll is a disaster to tell anybody how to use. discourse is a giant blob of god knows what running in containers on a VM that no one knows how to upgrade. so on and so forth.

"self hosting" and such 

in every particular apart from my reluctance to use all the crap that's eaten the way i used to know how to make it the web, it would have been easier and better to tell these folks to use... well, tbh, i don't even know what, but probably wix.com or squarespace or some shit and some gmail accounts.

i don't really know if there's a moral to this story, but there's probably a lesson in it that generalizes.

"self hosting" and such 

anyhow, this typo-riddled rambling brought to you by the "this is why everything sucks"-themed thoughts i'm having as i remember that, oh yeah, i'm still paying for those mail accounts, and nobody else knows how to upgrade the forum, and etc.

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"self hosting" and such 

lots of thoughtful responses to this one.

on reflection, i don't think it's any one problem, but the eternal struggle of maintenance, poorly-exercised upgrade paths, considerably increased complexity, and missing shared / co-op infra are all part of it.

in a bigger way, and i'm not quite sure where this thought is going, but maybe what proprietary aspiring-monopolist platforms have learned and we haven't is just how much software _is_ a service.

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"self hosting" and such 

@brennen I have soft (or sore?) spot about doing upgrade testing, having written a tool to do that for Debian packages and finding, um, *several* bugs.

It's certainly something that a more hardcore system developer or system administrator should do.

"self hosting" and such 

@brennen I was about 11yo when I first started playing around with software, and now it's been more than 15years. A lot changed extremely quickly in that time period.

A shit ton of new languages popped up and each have at least a package manager and a build tool integrated in it, that can't work with some form of remote. An average web app that one might want to deploy involves at least 4 package managers and 4 build tools, and then you need minifiers, linters,
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"self hosting" and such 

@brennen "transpilers" (which are totally not compilers!), second hand type checkers, etc., and then a container thing to wrap it all which comes with its added 5th package manager and build tool, and _then_ you have to factor in the deployment target, which these days tend to have it's command line app and API and whatnot.

Back when I started, the story was completely totally different.
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"self hosting" and such 

@brennen Most of web was in PHP. You had one deployment target: PHP. You had one package manager: unzip. One tool to deploy everywhere: some FTP client. Serving happened over (Fast)CGI. You didn't need to have a load balancer talk to nginx talk to gunicorn talk to WSGI talk to Django talk to eventually your views.

The result of that situation was that if you were minimally computer savvy, it wasn't terribly hard to get set up with a WordPress instance. Yes,
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"self hosting" and such 

@brennen connecting it or phpBB to MySQL server of the hosting platform was not the simplest thing, but it was just that: you had to figure which password to put where, and done.

So people did it. I had a friend who, with zero programming knowledge, or sysadmin knowledge, and with some help from me, set up a successful repair business using WordPress, back when we were high schoolers.

Currently we're suffocating under the weight of cool tools we've built
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"self hosting" and such 

@brennen that are of course not useless, but have terrible ROI and huge technical debt, esp for non fortune-500 businesses and organisations, let alone individuals. We've kinda gone from using tweezers to handle power stations to using steelcutters for personal grooming.

It looks like there's a diverse set of tools out there but personally what I see is a pure crowd of stuff that's same in different ways. That way we've also built a huge barrier to entry esp to the web
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"self hosting" and such 

@brennen such that it's harder to get into web dev than it is to make computerised mechanisms with an Arduino.

The problem with the web was to facilitate the chore: security, sessions, CSRF, XSS, i18n, a11y, &c. We should've developed a solution for that that could be language agnostic and that required little setup or boilerplate.

Instead we treated all the symptoms with so many ad hoc solutions that the actual problem got buried and the illness became untractable.
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"self hosting" and such 

@brennen So instead of a solution we ended up with a big mess with a learning curve even worse than vi's in the famous comic.

(Sorry for the long ranty reply.)

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"self hosting" and such 

@brennen I don't even think it's necessarily about software _being_ a service - but rather failing to understand that a large majority of people *wants* a service (which just happens to be partially implemented in software) rather than being forced to build it for themselves. So suggesting to get a particular piece of software and "run your own instance" isn't just not helpful but entirely misses the point of what people were expecting or looking for.

"self hosting" and such 

@brennen I have never been a "technologist". I've been a person who knows how to use technology to accomplish things and had some amount of satisfaction in being able to maintain things myself. But increasingly I just plain don't want to; it's not fun for me to spend full days (or, more likely, an hour or so at a time in trickles) figuring out why my shit doesn't work just so I can restore a thing no one ever looks at because it isn't integrated with Facebook or Google.

"self hosting" and such 

@brennen but I also don't want to use the monoculture things that are ruining everything else, so mostly I just let things rot into oblivion, and I don't think that is the right solution either.

"self hosting" and such 

@mindspillage yeah, i hear you. there's a certain amount of stuff i maintain out of sheer stubbornness, in the full knowledge that no one human will notice by the time i finally give up or croak.

i used to think of it as some necessary form of resistance. these days it feels more like i'm doing it as some sort of weird personal ritual.

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