Friday, October 3, 2008

Richard Stallman against Cloud Computing?

Among the recent discussions on the cloud-computing group @ GoogleGroups, the most interesting thread by far seems to be the impact Richard Stallman is causing to the latest buzz in IT Services and Computing. According to the summary of Stallman's interview with the Guardian(UK) as found in here, and in the original version in here, he described Cloud Computing as "It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign".

Adding to this, he did not forget to further elaborate on the aspect of programs available over the web as, "One reason you should not use web applications to do your computing is that you lose control. It's just as bad as using a proprietary program. Do your own computing on your own computer with your copy of a freedom-respecting program. If you use a proprietary program or somebody else's web server, you're defenseless. You're putty in the hands of whoever developed that software".

My personal belief is that what Stallman points out is in fact true in a way, to a great extent, that investment to Cloud Computing made in billions would not be justifiable if not for its gains in trillions, leaving use of software applications still a luxury and now without the possibility even to be duplicated as free software.

As Stallman describes the notion of web-enabled software, services, cloud computing etc. are all based around a concept that you pay for services obtained and not necessarily for the tools you obtain to get serviced. But, this still doesn't give you the freedom to use the tool (the software) violating one of the primary interests pointed out by the FSF.

As of now, no solid implementations of large-scale cloud based service infrastructures are available to justify the actual fact, but it is clearly evident that what Stallman believes is going to happen some day and the freedom envisaged (at least partially) in modern day software is no longer going to be a reality in the future, unless someone is really donating infrastructure in addition to time.


Amanda said...

I absolutely agree with Richard and I am glad that someone like him is getting his voice heard. We need to keep our programs on our computers and prevent these big guys from controling everything. Can you image the amount of power you will give someone like Microsoft if they were to host your applications for you.

Jill said...

The fact that it takes the control out of our hands we have to realize that cloud computing is a breeding grounds for monopolies like Microsoft to flourish even further. There is a big difference between buying a piece of software and buying a service - which is what the whole cloud debate is really about. - Jill Copper

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