What is a Raspberry Pi?
"The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer."
I got my first one as a christmas gift in 2013. Often I want to have things without knowing what it exactly is or what to do with it. My Pi was buried more than one year somewhere in my drawer until I finally did something useful with it.
Now I have my own little datacenter:
I've running a Raspberry Pi Version B as my Email server, a Raspberry Pi 2 B together with two hard drives in RAID I with Seafile as my own Dropbox and a Protonet Maya with Soul OS as my project's server (which basically combines slack, basecamp and dropbox).
But now you might ask: why?
There is Gmail, in my opinion it's one of the best Email services of them all. 15 freaking gigabyte and a lot of features and tools, all for free.
There is Dropbox, 2 gigabyte of space and it's really easy to get more gigabyte. And also everything for free.
So why do you use Raspberry Pi's for it?
My first answer is: because I can. Every day I search for new things to learn or to dive into. And playing around with a Raspberry Pi is boosting my Linux and server administration skills. Since I'm a frontend web developer it's good to know about the stuff behind a website.
But the more important reason for me is is: to be independent.
It's no secret. If a service like Gmail is for free, you are not the customer, you are kind of the product. And that means you don't have any real rights or any power over your tools or the service you're using.
So if Google would decide that your account should be cancelled, well,... I guess you would have a really bad day. Or if someone would get access to your account and would change your password. It's not that easy to recover your account. I'm not even sure if this is even possible, and I really don't want to be in this situation, ever.
(Don't get me wrong, I love Google products and I'm also still using Gmail).
If you're using your own mailserver, you have 100% control about what happens there and you are 100% responsible for what happens.
I'm using my mailserver for login data only. You have several hundreds of websites and services where your email address is also your username. Here I wanted to be more independent. And it's a really cool feeling that you have your own tiny server in your living room.
Same thing goes for Dropbox. Of course I could write stuff about privacy and NSA and bla bla bla. If someone wants my data, they will get them. Steal my local server, hack my accounts, even open my letters or just ask people who know me a little. That's not the point why I'm doing this. At the end, I'm just proud to be a bit more independent.
And it's also great to see that it works. I'm using my mailserver for more than two months now and it just works.