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Sovereign computing for a free future

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The Problem is Trust

Whoever controls your data, controls you. App companies can see your pictures, read your documents, listen to your conversations, track your location, sell your private information, permanently delete your data, or cut you off at any time. Even if the companies behind these apps are not malicious, they are prime targets for hackers and are vulnerable to political winds.

Take Back Control

Cut out the middle men and take control of your data by running a personal server. In the past, running a server was only possible for highly technical people or those who could afford to hire them; namely software developers, corporations, wealthy individuals, and politicians. Start9 levels the playing field by making it possible for the rest of us.

Become Unstoppable

  • Become Bitcoin: Don't trust, verify. Run a full Bitcoin node to verify transactions and enforce the consensus rules you choose.
  • Become Lightning: Not your keys, not your coins. Run a Lightning node to take full control and custody over your Bitcoin on the rapidly-expanding Lightning Network.
  • Be Your Own Everything: Anything you can do in the permissioned, subscription-based, privacy-invading, insecure model of cloud computing, you can also do in the open, free, private, secure model of sovereign computing

Powered By EmbassyOS (EOS)

In the past, running a server was only possible for highly technical people or those who could afford to hire them; namely software developers, corporations, wealthy individuals, and politicians. Start9 levels the playing field by making it possible for the rest of us.

EmbassyOS (EOS) is a browser-based, graphical operating system for a personal server, designed to turn anyone into a system’s administrator capable of managing their own server.

Get Help

Even though we've made it easy, running a personal server can still be intimidating or confusing at times. At Start9, we pride ourselves on providing the best customer support in the world. We offer a comprehensive and detailed user manual, an extensive FAQ, written and video tutorials, and direct access to our wonderful community and team of technical experts.

The Origin of “Start9” (the name)

Expand For Details

Order From Chaos

Pokemon is a game for Gameboy. Twitch is a live video streaming app. “Twitch Plays Pokemon” was a popular phenomenon where Twitch users would collaborate to play a SHARED game of Pokemon on Gameboy. Here’s how it worked:

Participants would use the Twitch message board to enter commands that then got executed in the gameplay. For example, if someone entered the command "right”, that would cause the player to move 1 space to the right. Commands would execute immediately after they were received, and anyone could enter a valid command at any time. You can think of Twitch Plays Pokemon as the more practical equivalent of placing a Gameboy in the middle of a crowded room and telling everyone to push buttons at the same time. As you might expect, the gameplay of Twitch Plays Pokemon was quite “twitchy”, but in a very "infinite monkey theory" way, progress could eventually be made.

In an effort to streamline play, a new game mode was devised in which players would “vote” for the next command and, every 4 seconds, whatever command received the most votes over the previous 4 seconds would execute in the game. Also introduced in this mode was the ability to attach multipliers to a command, such that the command would execute that number of times. For example, “right2” would cause the player to move 2 spaces to the right. “right3” would cause the player to move 3 spaces to the right, and so on. The highest number any participant could place after a command was 9, meaning whatever command they entered would execute 9 times. As you might expect, gameplay in this mode was less chaotic, more efficient, but it also meant each participant had less direct and immediate influence over the game. If a group of even 5-10 got together and colluded on their votes, they could practically take over the game and make contrarian ideas irrelevant. The new game mode was called “Democracy”, and the original game mode became known as “Anarchy”. Which game mode was engaged was itself governed by a democratic process: if more participants wanted to play in Democracy mode, then Democracy mode engaged; if more wanted to play in Anarchy mode, then Anarchy mode engaged.

To summarize: in Anarchy mode, everyone had equal influence over the game, but progress was slow and clunky. In Democracy mode, progress was fast and efficient, but colluding groups could marginalize individual participants and ruin the game for them.

So…individual participants discovered a means of effective protest whenever Democracy mode became suffocating, but they could not garner enough votes to switch back to Anarchy mode. Someone would type the command “start9” into the comments. This command meant “open the start menu 9 times in a row”, which, as you might imagine, would be enormously disruptive if executed. The entire screen would be blocked by the start menu, over and over. Typing “start9” was a participant’s way of signaling to other participants that they felt marginalized by Democracy mode, and they were ready to fight back. If others felt the same, they could also begin typing “start9” - then, sure enough, “start9” would finally receive more votes than the colluding group’s command, and the menu opening would begin. Every 4 seconds, the menu would open 9 times…again, and again, and again…until finally, the colluding group would be forced to either cooperate in reverting the game mode back to Anarchy mode or quit altogether.

Playing in Anarchy mode was impractical, but neither did people want to play a game where they had no voice, where a group of insiders had taken total control. And so “start9” became the battle cry of the individual, the out-group, a means of signaling to other individuals that it was time to fight back against the usurpers - to use their own rules against them, until there was no alternative but to return control to the individual participants.


  1. embassy-os Public

    Browser-based, graphical operating system for a personal server.

    Rust 204 36

  2. User manual, Developer Documentation, and Support for the Start9 Labs

    Python 16 11


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