Yes, servers can be end-user

These days there’s an unfortunate assumption that servers have to be for programmers only. They do not.

On the Mac in the 1990s, we had HTTP, FTP, email servers that were totally end-user. Launch the app, fill in a few blanks in a dialog, or just accept the defaults, and you’ve got a server.

What happened was tragic. On his return, Steve Jobs wiped the whole market out with one move, by bundling Unix servers with the OS. The message was clear. Servers are not for users.

In their defense, they might not have even known there was an ecosystem. Those were days of wiping the slate clean. Apple never really noticed the developers they had attracted. We left, shaking our heads about what could have been.

Well the art isn’t lost. We still know how to do it.


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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