Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Software The Internet

Stallman Says Cloud Computing Is a Trap 621

Posted by kdawson
from the head-out-of-the-clouds dept.
stevedcc writes in to tell us about an interview with RMS in The Guardian, in which he gives his views on cloud computing, with a particular focus on user access to data and the sacrifices made for convenience. "'It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign,' he told The Guardian. 'Somebody is saying this is inevitable — and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it's very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true.'" Computerworld has a summary of some of the blogosphere's reaction to RMS's position.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Stallman Says Cloud Computing Is a Trap

Comments Filter:
  • Dear RMS (Score:3, Funny)

    by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:00PM (#25211323) Journal

    We love you, we really do. But your delusional and increasingly demented ravings give all supporters of free software a bad name.

    And if you're going to represent the opinions of a large group of users like you do, would it kill you to buy a nice shirt and a razor?

    Yours

    The free software community.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget a shower!

    • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Toonol (1057698) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:42PM (#25211819)
      You probably should have saved your pity for an occasion when RMS wasn't right on the ball. He'll give you opportunities, trust me.

      But cloud computing is a buzzword for a marketing campaign. It's the newest renaming of renting software as services.
      • Re:Dear RMS (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:56PM (#25212007) Journal

        Right now all the "cloud computing" I do is free: I use windows Live services, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Notebook. Having these things online and accessible from anywhere is a great convenience and I'm almost always connected to the net anyway so it makes sense for me to use them.

        BUT, If they ever think they are going to get a dime from me for these things they are wrong. Offline and free alternatives still exist and will exist forever, I don't need to use these "cloud computing" services. I only use them now because they are free. I even remove the ads on Live and Gmail so they really are making ZERO revenue from me beyond the value of the data they can mine--and they can go right ahead since the whole point of that is to show me targeted ads which, imagine that, I'm never going to see.

        • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Amouth (879122) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:00PM (#25212049)

          the only issue with your argument is that the standalone is always going to be there.

          say in 15 years they have come so far with web apps and always connected that most people decied to use it isntead of the standalone.. the standalone is going to lose development.. or be poorly developed.. and therefor will not be there when they decied to start charging

          • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:12PM (#25212153) Journal
            I would be willing to stake my Slashdot karma on the prediction that OpenOffice or a reasonable facsimile will always exist as a product I can download and run on my own hardware. E-mail, well I could always use my ISP for my e-mail or even running my own mail server isn't out of the question but the nature of e-mail is that it has to exist somewhere and for most people it's not practical to run their own mail server. And as long as I can still buy HDDs I'll never be reliant on Google or MS to access my photos, music, movies, or documents. Even if Windows eventually becomes nothing more than a thin client connecting to the MS mothership I'm sure I'll still be able to grab a Linux ISO and continue using a real operating system on my own hardware.
            • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

              by just_another_sean (919159) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @09:23PM (#25212773) Homepage Journal

              I would be willing to stake my Slashdot karma on the prediction that OpenOffice or a reasonable facsimile will always exist as a product I can download and run on my own hardware. E-mail, well I could always use my ISP for my e-mail or even running my own mail server isn't out of the question but the nature of e-mail is that it has to exist somewhere and for most people it's not practical to run their own mail server. And as long as I can still buy HDDs I'll never be reliant on Google or MS to access my photos, music, movies, or documents. Even if Windows eventually becomes nothing more than a thin client connecting to the MS mothership I'm sure I'll still be able to grab a Linux ISO and continue using a real operating system on my own hardware.

              And that we can thank our Dear RMS for.

              Thanks papa bear.

              Sean

              and of course thousands of others, but we're talking about rms right now

              • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

                by BrokenHalo (565198) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @11:04PM (#25213725)
                And that we can thank our Dear RMS for.

                Thanks papa bear.


                Indeed. I get very tired of all the denizens of the peanut gallery who start frothing at the mouth whenever RMS' name is even mentioned, as if he was some personal enemy to be abhorred and shunned.

                In common with the probable majority of these people, I have never actually met the man, but I am capable of recognising that he has contributed more to Free and Open Source software than most us ever will.

                It might be worth remembering that the next time Google decides it was only joking the last time they revoked an opressive and obnoxious license agreement. If your data is important to you, simple common-sense should indicate that putting it in someone else's hands is sheer folly. RMS is 100% on the money.
                • Re:Dear RMS (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by syousef (465911) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:11AM (#25215091) Journal

                  Indeed. I get very tired of all the denizens of the peanut gallery who start frothing at the mouth whenever RMS' name is even mentioned, as if he was some personal enemy to be abhorred and shunned.

                  In common with the probable majority of these people, I have never actually met the man, but I am capable of recognising that he has contributed more to Free and Open Source software than most us ever will.

                  I have met him. Just the once at a programmer's society meeting where he was a guest speaker about 5 or 6 years ago. He brings the criticism on himself. No one really cares that he's eccentric and his hygiene isn't the best. They're just easy targets.

                  I asked him at the public q&a (after he'd done his Saint IGNUcius routine, complete with robe and halo): How do you counter claims that free software is more difficult to use than proprietary paid for software. He looked me up and down and said "Who says its hard to use" and turned away. It didn't help that I'd just come from work and was therefore the only person in the room wearing a suite. If I didn't know that he'd worked on Emacs and gdb, I'd have simply written him off as a flamboyant nut job.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by BrokenHalo (565198)
                    He looked me up and down and said "Who says its hard to use" and turned away.

                    Interesting. I wouldn't want to attempt to excuse his boorish behaviour, but the attitude sounds characteristic of someone who spends a disproportionate amount of time interacting with machines rather than people. This might also account for a certain tendency for correspondents on this forum to go up in flames and hurl abuse without provocation.
                  • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by stjobe (78285) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @04:18AM (#25215407) Homepage

                    I too have met him, in a somewhat similiar setting as yours, and sure he's a bit weird and sure he looks like a hippie, but dangnabbit there is something absolutely impressive about a man who's taken a good long look at his beliefs, drawn them out to their logical conclusions and then acted from those conclusions.

                    I admire that, and while you and I and many others may think he acts weird and says strange stuff from time to time, if you look a bit deeper you'll see that he's almost inevitably consistent in his beliefs.

                    You can say what you will about the man, but I do sorrily miss that more people don't do what he has done: Analyze your beliefs and act accordingly.

                    As for your q&a experience: How many times do you reckon he's got that question? Since he uses free software exclusively, it might not even be a meaningful question for him.

                    Oh, and reducing his contribution to "worked on Emacs and gdb" is really disingenious. He's done far, far more than that for the community. Look it up.

                • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by DrgnDancer (137700) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:24AM (#25219329) Homepage

                  I do thank RMS for the many contributions he's made to the free software movement. It is probably true that if it hadn't been him, it would have been someone, but the fact is that he's done a lot. It's also true that he is a zealot who does as much to hurt his cause as he does to help it. He seems determined to piss off the creator of one of his license's most successful products, He publishes screeds against anyone who disagrees with him, he refuses to compromise in any way, and he talks down to the people he is trying to convince. Surely he must realize that cordial public relations with your allies is a good thing? That sometimes compromise and "baby steps" toward a goal are more valuable than no progress at all?

                  RMS is attempting to solve a problem which has technical, philosophical, and social components. Having a superior technical and philosophical argument are only half the battle. The rest involves convincing people, a lot of people, many of whom have minimal understanding of either the technical or philosophical underpinnings of the situation, that he is right. He has proven to be consistently bad at this. At best you can say that he has won over a percentage (though not all, or even most) of those most able to fully appreciate all facets of his argument. He's made no inroads at all with people who aren't "geeks" and frequently annoys or seems to work against even those who support his ideals.

                  The man has his good points. He's done some really good things. He's also one of his own worst enemies. It never killed anyone to be nice and it certainly never hurt someone who claims to be working for social change to, you know, be social. If he is really incapable of being polite and politic, if he is really unable to bring himself to cut his hair, trim his beard, and wear some nice, well pressed clothes, than surely he can find a person in the FSF to be his voice and his face so he can sit in his dark little room writing code and manifestos?

            • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

              by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @09:58PM (#25213115) Homepage

              Actually I am not willing to bet anything on cloud computing. It is a marketing illusion, consumer electronic device with foss software will rule the day in terms of applications. Why the hell would anybody bother with those privacy invasive add spweing services, when they can simply plug in and run the own easy to configure consumer grade appliance server, running their own mail, web, media and file servers.

              It really seems like idiot corporations go blind with greed, the delusion of being able to rent peoples data back to them, it all just totally ignores the reality and how server services have become more accessible and cheaper every year and, will continue to do so. It really is nothing more than hype, today's low cost technology attempting to solve yesterdays high cost server problems and for some inane reason they belief those low cost solution are only available to corporations to be rented to consumers with unlimited profit margins and will not become directly available to consumers at very low prices.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by AKAImBatman (238306) *

                Why the hell would anybody bother with those privacy invasive add spweing services, when they can simply plug in and run the own easy to configure consumer grade appliance server, running their own mail, web, media and file servers.

                Because right now their videos don't stream very well on a home broadband line, their mail is full of spam, their website is a PITA to manage, they don't know how to setup DynDNS or even remember the wacko addresses it spits out, and their home systems have more security holes th

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by rtb61 (674572)

                  All your talking about is how it comes configured out of the box and how it is updated. As it is now, a lot of mid size ISPs already supply preconfigured net hardware and it would be a very small step for them to supply preconfigured server appliances which they could upgrade and manage on line.

                  The google image of cloud computing is really just crippled cloud computing, all hamstrung by pointing to one location, true cloud computing is truly distributed broadly across the whole internet and not locked to

        • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

          by HTH NE1 (675604) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:24PM (#25212255)

          Consider what's happening when DRM services for entertainment media are going away. Now consider what happens if a cloud service with your only copy of your critical data goes away.

        • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Godji (957148) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:37PM (#25212353) Homepage
          Who says you have to pay with money? You're paying with data about you. Google must know a lot about you by now.
        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @10:27PM (#25213351)

          Right now all the "cloud computing" I do is free: I use windows Live services, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Notebook.

          Absolutely none of that is Free.

          You have the source for nothing. If they go away, you cannot continue to use them on your own server. If they lack a feature you would like you cannot improve on them.

          "Cloud Computing" is simply commercial software delivered on-demand, with the same benefits and drawbacks.

          In fact you're a little worse off because you can't even disassemble the server source to see how it works (possibly offset by the benefit of being able to more easily examine some of the UI code in browser based systems).

          RMS is right about what happens if no-one truly owns software they use... I don't know that he's right about cloud computing in general because you can run your own truly Free software in the cloud... but software as services, he is right to issue warnings.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CodeBuster (516420)
          You could still potentially be hit with the inconvenience of being forced to switch back to locally run services (and getting your data back out of the cloud and onto your machine) at an inopportune moment like around a big project deadline or the week before exams at school (either that or be forced to pay for a few periods, until a more convenient time to move yourself off comes around). Then of course there is the privacy issue (although it could be argued that email is already not very private without a
        • Re:Dear RMS (Score:4, Interesting)

          by inKubus (199753) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @11:44PM (#25213975) Homepage Journal

          From what I've seen, the only people using Google are kids who don't know that it is not the email service but rather they, the email user, that is the product. A product Google sells to advertisters, marketers, etc.

          Hey, it's fine for your personal email, and they have an $$ Enterprise edition that just barely doesn't suck compared to their competitors, and they are fighting the good fight against wireless so maybe thank god we can get stuff the Japanese and Europeans have had for years.

          RMS is right, with the cloud it's just like any other hosted service. You are at the mercy of the provider. Personally, I like having my server with me and decide what it can or can't do. I can decide how vigorously I want to enforce the SLA, I can decide what type of processor, cooling, hard drive, etc. for my purposes. With the cloud, you are dependent on unreliable hardware that's supposedly magically made reliable because of redundancy. But guess what, if I drop a connection I drop a connection, regardless of how many servers I have waiting for me to reconnect to.

          It's not paranoia driving this. RMS was around in the mainframe days when all computers were, you guessed it, a service. It sucked. IBM and Ma Bell ruled the world, and the only time you could play with a computer was at a university, and only for few minutes. Nowadays we depend on computers a lot more for our daily lives, banking, shopping, communications, etc. And to make the single point of failure AGAIN back to the network, which is and always will be the weakest link, is a bad idea. Better to write better standalone software that can tap in and extend itself. Why does everyone want everything controlled for them anyway? Isn't there any DIY spirit anymore? Beyond that it doesn't make sense to ride everything on your network connection, the one thing you will never have any control over.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        Just as actualization is saving my company lots of money today, I'm sure in the future cloud computing will do the same. To an extent, cloud computing for the big business is a natural extension of actualization. For the consumer, getting rid of their OS and depending fully on the web is likely a pipe dream.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LurkerXXX (667952)

      Look, I disagree with that smelly old hippy on a LOT of stuff. Most in fact. But on this he's actually right.

      • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EveLibertine (847955) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:22PM (#25212235)
        He's right that there are problems. His solution is what makes him sound like an irrational lunatic. Boycott all services that don't follow the FLOSS regime's decree! Idiocy. How about instead, we work with service providers like a semi-rational person would to get them to come in line with users privacy concerns. It's actually not that hard to come up with a solution that works for everybody once you kick all the raving nutters out of the room.
        • Re:Dear RMS (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Godji (957148) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:44PM (#25212409) Homepage
          It is pretty hard actually. Their financial models depend on vendor lock-in, lack of privacy (from them), precise control of their software (ads, "premium" features, etc.), or all of the above.

          Free software could allow you to encrypt your data automatically from the service provider, to migrate yourself and your data to a compatible competitor, or to implement "premium" features yourself. But what's in it for the service provider?
      • Sure it is not the right solution for everyone, but many businesses, particularly smaller businesses, can benefit a lot from the cloud.

        If you have not got the in-house skills or time to run your own IT department, then storing all your data in a clod can make a lot of sense.

        CloudBiz does all your back ups, web hosting, ...

        You, and your associates/sales reps/... can access your data on the road with no need to set up your own VPN servers etc.

        Small business people want to focus on their businesses, not on set

        • by Obfuscant (592200) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @09:07PM (#25212647)
          Small business people want to focus on their businesses, not on setting up and maintaining IT. They don't service their own cars & delivery vans, so why should they run their own inhouse IT?

          Because if their auto mechanic goes bankrupt/closes they can always find another one to take their cars to. If their IT service goes bankrupt/closes, you can find another provider, but the data you had is gone.

          It is in only the rare case that your car is in the shop when the mechanic goes bankrupt that you have any chance of losing your car; your data is always in the IT shop.

          Also, there is little of proprietary interest in your automobile. "Oh, look, they drove 3000 miles since the last oil change." Doesn't mean much. There is a LOT of proprietary interest in your customer data, and stealing it would be trivial. You wouldn't even know it was gone, because technically it wouldn't be. It would just be that your competitor has a copy of all your data, too.

        • by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @09:42PM (#25212965) Journal

          storing all your data in a clod

          Is it an insensitive clod?

    • by snikulin (889460) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:01PM (#25212061)
      How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of RMS after all he has been through.!
      • Oops! (Score:5, Funny)

        by snikulin (889460) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:16PM (#25212181)
        Too short!

        Here's mine complete cry:

        How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of RMS after all he has been through.! He lost his aunt, he went through a divorce. He had two fuckin kids. His husband turned out to be a user, a cheater, and now he's going through a custody battle. All you people care about is... readers and making money off of him. HE'S A HUMAN! (ah! ooh!) What you don't realize is that RMS is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap about him. He hasn't performed on stage in years. His song is called "give me more" for a reason because all you people want is MORE! MORE-MORE, MORE: MORE!. LEAVE HIM ALONE! You are lucky he even performed for you BASTARDS! LEAVE RMS ALONE!...Please. ESR talked about professionalism and said if RMS was a professional he would've pulled it off no matter what. Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publicly bash someone who is going through a hard time. Leave RMS Alone Please... ! Leave RMS Spears alone!...right now!...I mean it.! Anyone that has a problem with him you deal with me, because he is not well right now. LEAVE HIM ALONE!

  • Totally agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GlobalColding (1239712) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:00PM (#25211327) Journal
    I am in disbelief over anyones the acceptance of the idea. Relinquishing control over your data to an outside source seems unfathomably retarded, no matter what kind of spin is put on it.
    • Re:Totally agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:08PM (#25211411) Journal

      People DO give out far too much data online these days, that much is certain. However, to dismiss using the likes of Gmail entirely is retarded. It's all very well RMS saying we should not use Gmail etc... I use Gmail for all online stuff. (I have a private email address for actual private communication.) Serial numbers for games etc... I'd have been SCREWED if I followed RMS's advice and just kept stuff locally. Oh yes, it's a fine idea in theory, but in Gmail, if I need to find serial numbes (something I've need to do several times in the last year) I can just search for the game name voila! There's my serial number.

      To replicate that functionality I would have to backup my entire email pretty much every time I got any, which is completely impractical. Not to mention tedious. Yeah, shell scripts and all that crap, but why bother when Gmail does it all for me, and really, all they're going to learn is I'm signed up on several very dull mailing lists, have bought several games, get spammed by Apple on a regular basis, and apparently am going to be given a load of money by various Nigerian princes, priests, nuns etc...

      Yes, people give up too much privacy online these days, but there is a happy medium between that and locking ourselves into a life of self sufficient tedium.

      • Re:Totally agree (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:12PM (#25211465)
        Talking about your example directly. That's why I keep all of my serial numbers in a text file. It's quick, easy and simple to backup.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Daemonax (1204296)
          And in Stallman's opinion your reason for using gmail so that you can easily retrieve serial numbers for games is no good reason at all, as you should be playing only Free software games which don't require serial numbers. What you could do is set up a mail server on your own machine with something like roundcube on it. There are some disadvantages to it though, but if you value real privacy it'd probably be worth it.
      • Re:Totally agree (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Todd Knarr (15451) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:19PM (#25211541) Homepage

        True. But riddle me this: when you get up tomorrow and go to sign in to GMail and all you get is a single page saying "Due to financial constraints and an inability to derive revenue from GMail to pay our bills, we have regretfully been forced to terminate the service.", where are your game serial numbers now and how do you plan on getting at them? I know it seems unlikely Google would just drop a service like that. Except that, well, they already have [blogspot.com].

        • Re:Totally agree (Score:5, Informative)

          by RedWizzard (192002) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:26PM (#25211619)

          True. But riddle me this: when you get up tomorrow and go to sign in to GMail and all you get is a single page saying "Due to financial constraints and an inability to derive revenue from GMail to pay our bills, we have regretfully been forced to terminate the service.", where are your game serial numbers now and how do you plan on getting at them? I know it seems unlikely Google would just drop a service like that. Except that, well, they already have [blogspot.com].

          Gmail allows you to download your email via pop3 and imap. You can also set it to automatically all email to another account. There is no excuse not to have a backup of all your Gmail mail. This "it might suddenly vanish" argument is a strawman.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Mike Buddha (10734)

            Gmail allows you to download your email via pop3 and imap. You can also set it to automatically all email to another account. There is no excuse not to have a backup of all your Gmail mail. This "it might suddenly vanish" argument is a strawman.

            Yeah, but what if a meteor hits your other account's server farm at the same time? Will you still be whistling Dixie then? I think not. Cloudbusters FTW.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by BlackSabbath (118110)

            And in fact this is the best way to use GMail. Consider the local IMAP copy and the remote GMail copy of your mail as geographically distant backups of each other. You have the convenience of remote access (GMail) as well as remote backup if your disk ever borks, your PC gets stolen, or your house burns down, and of course if GMail goes under you still have the local copy. And anybody that still gets all the Google ads just isn't trying very hard at all.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Cochonou (576531)
              Unfortunately, I find the whole tag vs folder confusion a real pain when you are using GMail through IMAP (along with its partial implementation of the standard). This makes IMAP a nice backup solution when you are using GMail, but not a convenient solution for managing your mailbox - at least in my opinion.
        • Re:Totally agree (Score:4, Informative)

          by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:27PM (#25211637)

          You can backup your mail from GMail using IMAP (or POP3 earlier).

          I do this about once a year and store backups on archive-quality DVDs in my nearby bank :)

        • Re:Totally agree (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:28PM (#25211643)

          where are your game serial numbers now

          Bingo. The OP did exactly what RMS is warning against - he confused convenience for freedom.

          Whoever controls your data is the only one who can take responsibility for it. Who is likely to use that responsibility in your best interests - you or a company beholden to shareholders?

        • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:36PM (#25211753)

          I know it seems unlikely Google would just drop a service like that. Except that, well, they already have [blogspot.com].

          Yeah. All those services that Google already has dropped are exactly like GMail. I remember the outcry when all those people lost all that data when Google Keyboard Shortcuts was taken off line. And who can forget the data armageddon that was the ending of Google Slideshow? It was like Y2K II. Yeah, Google shuts down services and leaves all your data high and dry all the time. Very insightful.

        • Re:Totally agree (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @09:26PM (#25212805)

          (Let's assume for a moment that Gmail didn't let you download your entire email at any time.)

          Ok; so Google fails at providing that service. Where's the open source version with all the features and convenience of Gmail without the reliance on some corporation?

          I mean, it's great when open source gurus come out and say "here's a problem," but what I don't get is why the open source community doesn't come back with, "and here's how we solved it!"

          I mean, at some point you have to prove that your way is actually *better* than the commercial software way, and frankly that just ain't happening at the moment.

          So riddle-me-this: I'm a loyal open source user, what do I use that offers the same featureset as Gmail (or any other "cloud" application) without sacrificing any of my open source beliefs?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ceoyoyo (59147)

            Well, if you've got a server to run it on, there are quite a few AJAX webmail apps. If you don't have a server to run it on, there are quite a few companies who will offer you an IMAP account with webmail access.

            GMail isn't anything revolutionary. The choice really is whether you want to pay money for the service or whether you want to pay with access to your data.

    • Re:Totally agree (Score:4, Interesting)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:13PM (#25211481) Journal

      I am in disbelief over anyones the acceptance of the idea. Relinquishing control over your data to an outside source seems unfathomably retarded, no matter what kind of spin is put on it.

      I am thinking that your problem is both immaturity and the assumption that cloud computing is supposed to replace everything. Well, it's not. No, it's not supposed to replace those applications where you put in your credit card info or social security number (whatever the hell that is). It might claim that it can but why would you do that?

      Brace yourself but there are in fact applications for things like ec2 [amazon.com] from Amazon. What if I wanted to design an informative website that might provide details and directions to a brick & mortar store while at the same time store comments from users?

      I'm not putting any spin on this, I'm just pointing out that Cloud Computing has a place. It might be smaller than what the companies tell us, it might be larger than what we think. But to outright rule out a potentially cheap, distributed, robust service like this as a developer is really really closed minded. I'm personally willing to give it a chance as I build on open source frameworks and have a lot of applications I would like to toy with that don't deal in sensitive data. And I don't have a whole lot of change laying around to do it!

      • Re:Totally agree (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BPPG (1181851) <bppg1986@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:22PM (#25211581)

        Well, it's not. No, it's not supposed to replace those applications where you put in your credit card info or social security number (whatever the hell that is). It might claim that it can but why would you do that?

        Lots of sensible people would heartily agree. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who are not sensible as well. Of course, using it as a mirror for your open source development or other collaborations is great. But it could very easily turn into another www.facebook.com, where users don't realize how much personal or sensitive info they're putting out until after they get burned by it.

        I do hope Cloud Computing does take off to some degree, but only as long as users will educate themselves about what it is and what it's used for first. And also as long as nobody comes to depend on it too much.

        • Re:Totally agree (Score:5, Insightful)

          by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:34PM (#25211729) Journal

          But it could very easily turn into another www.facebook.com, where users don't realize how much personal or sensitive info they're putting out until after they get burned by it.

          This is quite amusing to me. "Don't realize how much personal or sensitive info they're putting out?!" Uh, at what point does your brain fail to see problems with giving Facebook your credit card number for a gift to your friend? Goddamn klaxons go off with red spots exploding in my vision for me. Here's a picture of me free basing a controlled substance, what a great idea to put out online for all to see/have! Again, the old noggin' kicks in with "Danger! Danger Will Robinson!"

          People are responsible for their actions. Stupidity doesn't exactly count as a valid defense. Otherwise there would be some pretty hilarious court cases.

          It's your responsibility as a developer or company to make sure that your users data is safe. If you fail in this responsibility, you face the courts.

          It's your responsibility as a user not to put sensitive information online! If you fail in this responsibility, you face consequences--employers and significant others are fully capable of operating browsers!

          The responsibilities are clear to me--am I the only person that understands we are held to some amount of responsibility in using the web?! If you are a parent, please talk to your children about this! It's just like walking up to a stranger and telling them everything about you when you put that crap out in a public profile online. You shouldn't need to act as guardian of the whole internet. Inform people and show them how to protect themselves.

          • Re:Totally agree (Score:4, Insightful)

            by multisync (218450) * on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:56PM (#25211991) Journal

            People are responsible for their actions. Stupidity doesn't exactly count as a valid defense.

            I don't disagree with anything you've said, but on the point of the "facebook generation" putting potentially career-preempting photos and information about themselves online, I don't think it's stupidity. They just haven't been raised to expect or feel the need for privacy.

            And I know I'm making a big generalization here, but it's like if you convince a generation that it's necessary to give up certain liberties in the name of national security, the next generation won't have any expectation of those liberties. Kids entering the workforce now have been photographed and videotaped at every moment of their lives, and their younger siblings have cameras in their cel phones. They've never suffered any negative consequences so it doesn't occur to them that they should be cautious about what they put online. Plus, they don't have to, cause all of their friends have cameras on thier cel phones, so one of them will post it on facebook and tag the photo with their name.

            I really think we will quickly get to the point where it will be too much effort for employers to find someone who doesn't have something embarrassing or worse come up on the first page of a Google search.

          • Re:Totally agree (Score:4, Insightful)

            by thegrassyknowl (762218) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:12PM (#25212149)

            This is quite amusing to me. "Don't realize how much personal or sensitive info they're putting out?!" Uh, at what point does your brain fail to see problems with giving Facebook your credit card number for a gift to your friend? Goddamn klaxons go off with red spots exploding in my vision for me. Here's a picture of me free basing a controlled substance, what a great idea to put out online for all to see/have! Again, the old noggin' kicks in with "Danger! Danger Will Robinson!"

            And still Facebook continues to offer that as a service because enough idiots actually do put their CC details into it to but a gift for their friend. There are enough idiots who do put pictures on there of dubious legality, pictures of their friends (even if said friends don't want to be online). I know I am on there in pictures, and tagged by name even though I don't want to be. It's all very scary.

            There are a lot of idiots out there. There are a lot of companies out there who seek to know everything there is to know about you for a number of reasons, not limited to selling advertising and profiling you to determine if you're a criminal. These are the very same people pushing the 'cloud' idea.

            1. Make cloud
            2. Make it uber convenient so everyone starts using it
            3. Make it so you can't communicate outside the cloud so everyone has to get all their idiot friends to join
            4. ?
            5. Profit

            Sure, there were a few more steps than normal in there, but at the end of the day it's all about getting everyone on there for profit!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jorrit (19549)

      I'm a happy gmail user and will be forever (until they shut down the service). I use too many computers to have local mail and I don't have a good ISP that I can use to host a mail server so for me gmail is the best option. I can view my mail anywhere that I have internet. Even on my PDA.

      As to privcay? Yes, google has all my mails. But honestly I don't care. Things that are too private to put on google's server are too private to put on mail in general IMHO. Stuff that is really private I don't do over emai

  • by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:00PM (#25211331) Journal
    Latency can be a problem. Speed of light and all that.

    You also lose control and confidentiality.
  • Shades of Gray (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:04PM (#25211369) Journal

    It's stupidity.

    I'm not a big fan of black and white formats.

    Nor am I a big fan of people who paint reality to be only black or white.

    There are shades of gray.

    For anyone to stand up and pronounce this as either 100% good or 100% bad is laughable. I'm certain Google & Amazon will/have found a completely viable and useful application for cloud computing--I mean unless I'm mistaken I think it's already working with Open Social. I'm sure it will have at the very least a niche application in computing. It might be very small, it might be very big. But to call it complete stupidity is quite ignorant.

    'Somebody is saying this is inevitable -- and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it's very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true.'

    Uh oh, look at this [mamchenkov.net]! Oh no! Stupid stupid stupid! Just because businesses and proponents want it, doesn't necessarily make it evil or stupid. That's being shoved down my throat and self fulfilled prophecy and ... bad stuff ...

    Furthermore, if the source code is GPL and the application is public and the data is not sensitive ... we may have a candidate for cloud computing! Why not let some other company/people provide the cycles? Surely one could dream up some application even if it is merely a trivial/novel concept.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kesuki (321456)

      cloud computing in nothing more than managed colocation services. or sophisticated hosting services..

      coming up with another name for it, is silly, it is marketing, yeah they're using the hosting to allow some people to put their own data up on the internet, but most of the 'cloud' computing services are just managed colo services, with an interface to manage your servers and database etc.

      i mean, there is nothing wrong with say using colocation services to let people put up their own content, but giving it

  • by jipn4 (1367823) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:09PM (#25211423)

    He is right that cloud computing is a potential threat to the progress we have made on free software, open standards, etc. However, he's wrong that it's marketing hype. Being able to move noisy, power-hungry hardware somewhere else and have other people deal with repairing and replacing it is a big win.

    Fortunately, since a lot of cloud computing uses virtual machines, you do get full control and it ends up being not so much of a threat to free software. If anything, FOSS is a natural match to virtual machines, in the cloud or elsewhere.

  • yeah he's right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal@nospAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:14PM (#25211493) Homepage Journal

    Businesses want to make money. The trend is business thinking is "why sell them something when we can rent it to them and keep charging them indefinitely."

    RMS hits it right on when he says web-based applications are really an effort to change the market so that every computing function is on a pay per use or subscription basis. Look at itunes DRM if you want to see the future of "cloud computing"

    It's all marketing.

    As an aside, from TFA:

    has become a core part of the rise of Web 2.0 applications

    I was amused that the writer of an article about how "cloud computing" is hype used another one of those hype buzzwords that have no concrete meaning whatsoever..."web 2.0"...

  • by jabberw0k (62554) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:15PM (#25211515) Homepage Journal

    The vast majority of computer users are not system administrators. For them, having someone -- whether it's the company administrator down the hall, or Google somewhere out there -- shepherd their data is a great reassurance.

    99% of people don't host their own websites, so they depend on someone else to do it. Would Stallman say it's bad for those people to give that person or hosting company control over their data?

    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:07PM (#25212111)

      There's a big difference between having someone else host your website, and having someone else host your word processor.

      For a website, the whole idea is that you want to share your data with the world. If someone at your web provider looks at your web site source code, what secrets are they going to learn? None. If they try to hold your data hostage, hopefully you've kept a copy locally (what idiot wouldn't?), so you can just move your hosting somewhere else. What's more, there's no performance problems since everyone is using the web to access your web page anyway.

      Having someone host your word processor (or worse, your tax preparation or accounting software), OTOH, is sheer idiocy. First, the performance is going to suck if it's running on a remote machine rather than your own. (And if it's architected to mostly run locally and save data remotely, then why bother with remote hosting?) Second, your private data is being stored someplace where you have little control over it. Why would you want that? I don't know about you, but I do keep private and confidential data on my computer which I'd rather not have publicly accessible. Plus, if there's only one copy of that data, and you don't have it, it would be easy for the hosting company to hold your data hostage.

      When Stallman blasted "cloud computing", I'm fairly certain he wasn't referring to website hosting.

      As for Gmail and other web-based email services, that's a bit of a compromise. Many people like or need to be able to access their email from different locations and computers (at home, at work, on their iphone, etc.). Web-based email makes that pretty easy. There's definitely a performance hit (but maybe not compared to Outlook...), and there's a disadvantage in having your data not stored on your own computer, but the remote-access aspect for many people more than makes up for that. Unfortunately, for most people, there's no easy way to remotely access their home machines and run their email clients there, so we use webmail. (Even if you're a Linux user like me, it may not be possible to access your home computer; for instance, my workplace won't allow me to do remote SSH connections outside the corporate intranet, so even though I use Linux both at home and at work, I can't access my home computer from work to remotely run applications using SSH forwarding.)

      • When Stallman blasted "cloud computing", I'm fairly certain he wasn't referring to website hosting.

        As for Gmail and other web-based email services, that's a bit of a compromise. Many people like or need to be able to access their email from different locations and computers (at home, at work, on their iphone, etc.). Web-based email makes that pretty easy. There's definitely a performance hit (but maybe not compared to Outlook...), and there's a disadvantage in having your data not stored on your own computer, but the remote-access aspect for many people more than makes up for that. Unfortunately, for most people, there's no easy way to remotely access their home machines and run their email clients there, so we use webmail. (Even if you're a Linux user like me, it may not be possible to access your home computer; for instance, my workplace won't allow me to do remote SSH connections outside the corporate intranet, so even though I use Linux both at home and at work, I can't access my home computer from work to remotely run applications using SSH forwarding.)

        Sorry but which email account can you NOT access from anywhere? I mean whether it's your ISP or your employer or your privately paid hosting, any half-decent email account provides IMAP over SSL so you can access it from anywhere. Most also have a web interface if you're at an internet cafe which doesn't provide any email client for you, and you're not tech savvy enough to get around restrictions and run your own client without admin rights.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:20PM (#25211549)

    I'm actually giving a presentation on this in a couple weeks at an academic conference on innovation. "Cloud Computing" had another name in the 1970's, Time Share. Ask folks how well that worked back in the day. Two years ago I did a consulting gig at a Medical Supply company that was still running their inventory and billing off a 486 with DOS, I kid you not. Fortunately their software vender was still around and did offer an upgrade route, but they were pushing to use their new online based system. We shopped around at a few other medical software companies who were pushing the same thing.

    The owners of the business were in their 50's and 60's. They were savvy enough with the computers, but everything kept coming back to what would happen to their data. End of the day, they would not trust their business data to an outside vender, period. And for good reason dealing with HIPPA and other privacy considerations. The only way out for the data is a modem that is used to connect to the state's electronic billing system for public aid & medicare and that's it. Not internet connection to the server or the workstations that connect to it.

    I work around a college town with several folks who are on the cutting edge. I just built online ordering system for another company that is hosted off a dedicated server. Every day the interns came in, the first thing out of their mouths were, "Why don't you just use Amazon?"

    My short answer was, "I know how this will scale. If it gets hammered, add more servers, load balance it out, and cluster the database when it comes time. I've done it before and it will work. And until something better comes along and is proven, stick with what you know."

    Most smaller businesses I chat with are not comfortable with the idea of other people hosting their critical data. Basically my conference topic is that we'll see something close to the Adobe Air model where applications can run either online or from the web in some type of VM and enable users to still save their work locally. Whether that be a hard drive or USB thumb drive. No matter how cool a web app is, if I can't run it while I'm not connected and can't save data to my local machine, it is not going to replace traditional desktop apps anytime soon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      My short answer was, "I know how this will scale. If it gets hammered, add more servers, load balance it out, and cluster the database when it comes time. I've done it before and it will work. And until something better comes along and is proven, stick with what you know."

      Yeah, that's great -- until you leave the company, and leave the owners holding the bag. The bag, in this case, being a system that nobody knows how to maintain. This model works for a larger company, where you have a staff of sufficient

  • by merc (115854) <slashdot@upt.org> on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:22PM (#25211567) Homepage

    If there's one person in this industry who has been consistent over the years it's Richard Stallman. You may not agree with his views: that personal freedoms are more important than technical merit or convenience but you have to admit that he has never drifted from his what he believes in. He's also proven that he is willing to use real hard work (e.g., in the form of code) to promote the principles of his beliefs.

    I think few people would realize how much different the computing world would be without the positive influence he's had on our industry.

    Also, the record for many of his writings are pretty right on track. Just as an example: A decade ago the idea that you might need special "rights" in order to read a book might have been perceived as .. oh, what are the words people are using now? "raving" or "lunacy". Yet today Digital Restrictions Management embedded in eBooks, games and multi-media are a real thing -- and a real threat to personal freedoms.

    Now, I'm just speaking for myself, but when RMS speaks, I will stop and read -- or listen (and be grateful I still have the freedoms to chose to do so) :-)

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:22PM (#25211579) Homepage Journal
    ... whoever the fuck he is.

    He says "Oracle's Ellison is selling cloud computing products and poking fun at his own marketing. Stallman is opposed to the cloud because he thinks it locks users into proprietary, non-open source software. Guess which one is a billionaire?"

    Regardless of the merits of Stallman's views, that's just a fucking stupid statement. Like someone defending Rush Limbaugh's factual accuracy by pointing to his ratings.

    Like someone rebutting concerns over monopolies by pointing out the existence of robber-barons.

  • by vadeskoc (1374195) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @07:30PM (#25211661)
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:23PM (#25212251)

    Of complaining about cloud computing by saying this:

    'It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign

    By saying this:

    Computerworld has a summary of some of the blogosphere's reaction to RMS's position.

    Emphasis mine.

    Using one media driven piece of hype to denigrate another media driven piece of hype seems...well, silly to me.

  • by Yakasha (42321) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:41PM (#25212377) Homepage

    "Upload all files to google apps."

    "May the force be with us."

    "We have to be able to get some kind of access to our files up or down."

    "Well how could they slip that in the EULA if they're required to ... to notify us of changes? Break off the upload! The EULA still gives them full access!"

    "I don't see that in the EULA, are you sure?"

    "CANCEL UPLOAD! ALL USERS CANCEL UPLOAD!"

    "Take evasive action. Green group, stay close and re-check section 57."

    "Admiral, we have additional insane EULA requirements in section 47."

    "IT'S A TRAP!"

  • Maybe so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by seriv (698799) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @08:42PM (#25212391)
    But I would have just a bit of an easier time hearing what Stallman has to say about anything related to the internet if he actually used the internet, as in with a browser.

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. -- Cartoon caption

Working...