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free software - Bits of Freedom: Is this the end of decentralisation (Revisited)?

In May last year, I wrote an article in which I argued for the need for interoperability trumping the need for centralisation over time. The background to the article was Signal, a secure messaging app built on a centralised platform, and the critique which it had to endure for its decision to stay centralised.

My bet, one year ago, was that by this time, the world would have moved a little bit more towards a federated structure. Are we any closer to it? I would be hesitant to say so. The messaging protocols in use continue to be dominated by WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook and Signal, neither of which is showing signs of moving towards a federated structure yet.

What might be some indication of convergence is that WhatsApp, Facebook as well as Google Allo, are using the Signal Protocol, even if non-federated using their own servers. So out of the four most commonly used messaging platforms, three are using the same protocol with only Telegram being the outlier.

That doesn't mean federation, but I'll give myself a yellow light for my prediction a year ago. We haven't moved as far as I would have hoped towards federation, but there's been some convergence in the market which may give some indication for what is to come.

Let's set a new reminder for June 2018!

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