Cloud computing and its discontents.

Well, perhaps not all of us. Free software developer and evangelist Richard Stallman thinks its dangerous. In a September 2008 interview in the Guardian, Stallman states his perhaps somewhat paranoid case:

But Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the computer operating system GNU, said that cloud computing was simply a trap aimed at forcing more people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that would cost them more and more over time.

"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."
Jason Scott, a lesser-known, but certainly not less colorful star of hacker culture, chimes in a bit later than Stallman, but no less clearly. In the middle of this month he posted an anti-cloud manifesto in which he writes:
FUCK THE CLOUD.

By the cloud, of course, I mean this idea that you have a local machine, a box running some OS, and a vital, distinct part of what you do and what you're about or what you consider important to you is on other machines that you don't run, don't control, don't buy, don't administrate, and don't really understand. These machines are connected via the internet, and if you have a company then these other machines are not machines run by your company, and if you're a person they are giving it to you without you signing anything accompanied by cash or payment that says "and I mean it".

Can I be clearer than that? It's a sucker's game. It's a game suckers play. If you are playing it, you are a sucker.
Undoubtedly cloud-based services are out to make a buck - even when they're "free". But the vast majority of us don't administrate, and yes, don't really understand, the computers we use. Frankly, if these services actually work, and if they don't have to constantly be attended to, it's quite logical that companies, and even individuals, are going to be willing to pay money to get them. And especially if they make peoples' computer-connected jobs more practicable in an online environment. Stallman and Scott see using these services as a loss of control, but that's actually a large part of the whole point - companies are willing to relinquish a certain degree of control if by doing so they can achieve greater functionality.



Go to: Every cloud must have it's golden backing.