All good points, Andrew.
However, one thing you didn't touch on was the fact that the use of
these cloud computing apps may fundamentally undermine the driving
principles behind the open source community, since by using
server-based apps, we have no way of accessing (or modifying,
redistributing, etc.) the source code behind any of them. This
ultimately renders our software closed-source.
The obvious response to be made here is that many web-hosted
services like SVN, IRC, etc. make open source development and
distributed community collaboration possible over the internet.
However, while this is certainly so, these particular apps are open
source, and their servers (and source code) can be downloaded
freely, run, modified, and redistributed by any of us.
The world under cloud computing, as it is being described by much of
the blogosphere and the media these days, focuses more and more on
centralized control of these servers, and there are no legal tools
in place to prevent these services from all being developed and
deployed under proprietary licenses (as I mentioned above).
So although I can be glad that at least Google releases much of its
code in the open source arena, I doubt we can expect that from many
of the other usual players in the software dev game.
Just my 2 cents.
Keep on hackin' in the Free world,
Andrew Guertin writes:
> Quoting Gary Johnson <[log in to unmask]>:
> > Yep,
> > The big-bearded, no-holds-barred GNU man says cloud computing is
> > "worse than stupidity." Check it.
> > http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/sep/29/cloud.computing.richard.stallman
> > ~Gary
> He's right on one point but wrong on the conclusion.
> "The 55-year-old New Yorker said that computer users should be keen to
> keep their information in their own hands, rather than hand it over to
> a third party." This is true, and is why I host my own website and
> email (actually, have a legal contract specifying the relevant
> important things) and don't use services like facebook.
> But there's nothing about cloud computing that fundamentally requires
> you to give someone else control over the main copy of your data. It's
> perfectly possible to, e.g., host your own photographs but let flickr
> display them, and make sure you back up people's comments on them.
> It's possible to use google apps for word processing, but make sure
> you retain a copy of the document at all times, not relying on google
> for hosting.
> Unfortunately the software is not available to make this *easy*, but
> it's not fundamentally against cloud computing.