Using Solid POD Servers involves serving up the content of POD’s so that the content of those PODs is available on the World Wide Web.
Solid POD Servers are similar to the web-servers that serve up websites, but there are some crucial and important differences. These differences are perhaps best illustrated in contrast to the Facebook website.
When you link to your friends on Facebook, you are all linking to one another via one single website, the Facebook website. All your information is on the web-servers of that single commercial company.
When you link to your friends on Solid, each of your friends may be using different Solid POD servers. All your information is not on a single server. Your information can be on different servers, each person using a different server, with each server being anywhere in the world.
If you want to link to your friends using Facebook, you have no choice but to access your friends via the Facebook web-server. Everything in one place.
When you link to your friends on Solid, you may link to different friends using different Solid POD servers. For example, you may use a commercial Solid Pod server for linking to business friends, and your own home Solid POD server for linking to family friends, and a different Solid POD server for friends who are not connected with your business or your family. Things can be in many different places.
If you are connecting via Facebook all the information is held in a single server, or a series of networked servers. The amount of information necessitates a large web-server, so any breach of security endangers a large amount of information.
If you are connecting via a Solid POD server the information is held in numerous servers. The information held on each server is much smaller. There is no necessity for large Solid POD servers to be the same size as Facebook’s web-servers, and a security breach of one Solid POD server only endangers the information on that server, not on any other Solid POD server.
The advantage of using Solid POD servers can best be seen in relation to home servers. If you have your own Solid POD server at home this adds to the multiplicity of servers and provides you with additional choice.
How to create a Solid POD server at home has already been described, but how realistic is it to have your own home server?
Actually, it is very realistic, although if you do an internet search for home servers you may be forgiven in thinking that it is not feasible, Most website articles point out the difficulties, the cost of electricity, the noise, the heat, the bandwidth, the speed. These are all difficulties faced by commercial companies hosting websites, but they hardly apply to a home server.
Commercial servers (think Facebook server) get hot because most commercial servers are coping with thousands, or millions, of site visitors at a time. They use a lot of electricity, generate a lot of heat, cooling them down with fans generates a lot of noise, and their thousands of visitors use a lot of bandwidth.
Your home Solid POD server is very unlikely to get more than a few visitors at a time, would probably use less electricity than your fridge (which is left on all the time) and probably generate less heat and less noise than your fridge. Bandwidth and internet speed of broadband are improving all the time.
Graphic User Interface
Those are some of the advantages of using Solid POD servers, but there is a final engredient if Solid POD servers are really going to become essential items within modern homes. That ingredient is a graphical user interface (GUI).
The current description of how to create a Solid POD server is a description of how to create a server using a non-graphical user interface. That is, the instructions require you to type textual commands into a command line.
Not everyone is happy using a command line, and probably ninety-nine percent of computer users have never used one. Most people use graphical interfaces. You click on the word ‘Shut down‘ and your computer automatically runs the code that shuts your computer down. You click on the button containing the word ‘send‘ and your computer runs the code that sends your email to its intended recipient. For most people, a graphical user interface is much better. They only need to know how to press a button. They don’t know, and don’t need to know, what code is running in the background.
This is what is required for Solid POD servers to be used by the masses in their own homes. The code is already known. One day soon, you should be able to install a Solid POD server using a graphical user interface. This would involve downloading a file in a similar way in which you currently download software, to click on it to open it, to be asked a series of onscreen questions that you need to answer, after which you click on an ‘install’ button to complete the installation.
Once there is a GUI for their installation, we should see lots more people creating and using Solid Pod Servers within their own home.