Automattic, the open source force behind WordPress, WooCommerce, Longreads, Simplenote and Tumblr, has made a $4.6M strategic investment into New Vector — the creators of an open, decentralized communications standard called Matrix. New Vector also developed a Slack rival (Riot) which runs on Matrix. Matrix is an open source project that publishes the Matrix open standard for secure, decentralised, real-time communication, and its Apache licensed reference implementations.
New Vector’s decentralized tech powers instant messaging for a number of government users, including France — which forked Riot to launch a messaging app last year (Tchap) — and Germany, which just announced its armed forces will be adopting Matrix as the backbone for all internal comms; as well as for KDE, Mozilla, RedHat and Wikimedia, and others.
https://vector.im, https://matrix.org, h/t: Techcrunch
Why decentralization matters
Chris Dixon has a really useful post explaining the intense interest in decentralized cryptonetworks and why he thinks they will drive a return to a more open internet less dominated by the major platforms. His post is short, clear, accessible, and a great starting point for strategic discussions.
The 140+ comments are useful as well but keep in mind there is a natural tension between centralized and decentralized networks in the same way there is between all proprietary and open architectures — there is a role for each and a tendency for one or the other to dominate at different points in time and usefulness. There are also different types of decentralization which can too easily be conflated. Read More
The meaning of open
Google’s Alex Komoroske digs into the tension and interplay between open and closed systems in a thoughtful piece that is a good companion read (not a response) to Dixon’s piece on decentralization. In the context of what it means to be open in general, you’ll get some insight into Google’s thinking about the balance between their own platform components and being part of the open web. Read More
The next platform for media and makers
Jarrod Dicker, who you may know from the Washington Post, Time, Huffington, and The RebelMouse content management system, believes it’s time for a blockchain-based platform for content creators and publishers. Dicker just left the Post to be CEO of Blockchain startup Po.et. This will be interesting to watch. Read More
10 breakthrough technologies 2018
MIT Technology Review’s annual list is always worth reading. It comes as close to a carefully curated and neutral list as you’ll find. And while their broad coverage means not all the technologies will have a near term impact on your business decisions, they are likely to be “technologies that will have a profound effect on our lives.” Read More
The Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. We focus on strategic technologies. We publish more or less twice a month except for August and December. See all issues