posted on Mon, May 02 '22 under tags: freedom, society

Do you want to fight a losing battle against capitalism and concentration of power? Prav Project might be for you.

“Prav is a social project to get a lot of people to invest small amounts to run an interoperable messaging service that will respect users’ freedom and privacy.” ~ Prav Website

Prav is three battles in one.

An organization that’s based on cooperation rather than control.

Of course, India now has a ministry for cooperative movements. And India has a long history of cooperatives like Amul, Nandini, Milma, Indian Coffee House, etc.

Also Prav team has some very active free software contributors in it. Free software is itself based in sharing and cooperation.

But on the flip side, building software has some unique challenges that make it difficult to distribute power. For example, how do features get prioritized? What gets built and what gets backlogged? There’s an inherent risk of “developers” gaining too much control.

A decentralized chat app that’s also useful for its users.

It is an open challenge in the instant messaging ecosystem to build something that’s decentralized and yet is able to keep up with the needs of users.

There are people who consider XMPP dead. And there are people who have gone back to XMPP. There are people who want to stick to IRC. There are proliferating standards. Google has been trying for 16 years to succeed in messaging, yet they haven’t figured it out.

One way to look at it would be that these problems are being addressed by Prav project “…not because they are easy, but because they are hard…”.

Convincing human beings that this is all worth it

This is arguably the hardest of the challenges.

Is Prav for technologists who have been working on related projects for years? Or is it for the everyday user like my grandmother?

How much should the average user be knowledgable about how privacy is an “important right” and how that right is “taken away” by present day messaging apps? What should an average user care about in decentralization?

Ultimately this is the crux of the issue. The world has people of all kinds. If you stick to ideology, the people who agree with you decrease in number. The more niche and strict your ideology is, the lesser and lesser are the number of people who are with you.

On the other hand, if you decide to embrace pragmatism, you compromise on your values and build cognitive dissonance in your brain.

With all of that, convincing human beings that all of this is worth it will ultimately make you ask yourself the same question - “Is all of this worth it?”

Conclusion

Prav, for me, is a symbol of hope and resistance. It is a battle that has been fought and lost by many. But like Sunil Ilayidom says, there are some fights that we have to keep fighting whether or not we succeed, just because we are human beings and by consequence ethical beings.

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