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Richard Stallman vs Cloud Computing  (View post)

Roy [PersonRank 0]

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
9 years ago4,157 views

I don't get it.

As long as, for example, you can move your data from Gmail to another program when you want, I don't see the problem. What's wrong with being hooked on good features, as long as you can change when you want? It's good to be hooked on good features! What am I missing??

I'm more than happy to change to a free email program that is as good as Gmail. But until one exists, wouldn't it be stupid not to use what best suits my needs? (again, as long as I can move my data with me, which I can)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Roy, just to clarify, I didn't intend to suggest that being hooked on good features is necessarily bad/ a form of lock in, that's why I said "for better or worse"...

Nick [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

On a related note...
<sarcasm>Don't trust that wall outlet to provide electricity. Always generate your own ... and drill your own well for water ... and grow a garden to eat ... etc. etc.</sarcasm>

Having a backup plan is always prudent, but the cloud is offering fantastic services at a fraction of the cost.

appelflap [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

Well, he has a point of course. It's very cheap to run your own software, the software itself can be free even. So why depend on software running on someone else's pc, software that you can't update or improve if you need that? And why trust your data to a company that might leak it (accidentally or by law), if you can buy your own hard drive for $ 50?

The problem, which I could understand the FSF and GNU might be scared of, is that web applications are much easier to use. Most people don't care about software and privacy issues until they actually experience problems, and most software users don't do that.

I think the GNU project should look at how they can use the web to create a better user experience that can beat non-free (web) applications.

By the way, some other 'important' free software advocates seem very happy with cloud computing, as it makes the operating system less relevant so that users can more easily switch from non-free systems to GNU/Linux. Free software can actually make the web experience better (see Firefox). So for free software to succeed, they really need to embrace and extend the web.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

I mean, isn't the biggest issue with it that the software isn't free? Isn't there a license specifically for web applications that he said people should use?

macbeach [PersonRank 6]

9 years ago #

Stallman (and myself of course) are totally in control of everything on our home computers because we wrote the entire operating system ourselves.

But how many other people can say that?

At some point it's a matter of who you trust.

I trust Linux more than Apple, Apple more than Microsoft.

Come to think of it I trust everyone more than Microsoft.

Google, and other online providers have a lot to lose by mishandling your data. They can lose it rather quickly too.

I think of my online data as being the "primary" copy and the data on my local machines as being the "backup".

If most of what you are doing involves e-mail, blogging, web browsing and viewing/listening to various media it's hardly a great leap to keep Word/Excel and photo files online too.

If you are working on some super secret patentable idea, then you probably should not upload it.

The irony is that the Open Source code that Stallman refers to would be impossible without sharing that has come about via the Internet. Almost none of these products are primarily stored or developed on people's local machines.

Robert Francis [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

Richard is a bit up the wall here, objecting to cloud computing, for the reasons given. I would have thought that he knows that all providers have to keep records of transactions, for a set number of years, under the various terrorist acts. All that Google have done is comply, but make the same records available to the clients using the service. All the internet providers should see the good sense of that, including those running GNU/Linux, like Richard. It is bit cuckoo to think that not knowing what Big Brother knows, is in some way an advantage.
Take advantage of all he services that Google offer, and find out what you may know. You may then find out what governments are able to find out about you. Go further: Insist on all service providers doing the same.

Chris [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

*cough* zealot *cough*

appelflap [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

DPic, they probably can't solve the problems described even with GNU's Affero General Public License. Even if a web service provider tells you it's running the code they show you, they might have made modifications that you're not aware of. And still they have your data, and could do all kinds of evil things with it.

krist0ph3r [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

i hope no one's misquoting stallman. things like this start chipping away at the respect i have for the fellow.

Adam [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

krist0ph3r, don't let RMS's bristly inflexibility and tight-jawed paranoia reduce the respect that you have for him. Without those qualities, he probably would have bailed out of software engineering years ago and become a lawyer.

mrbene [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Quick read of the Guardian article, the last Stallman quote seems to get the idea best:

"One reason you should not use web applications to do your computing is that you lose control," he said. "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 defenceless. You're putty in the hands of whoever developed that software."

IE, using a cloud service is *like* using proprietary software on your own PC, in that you have no control over whether the information you save there is shared with others.

The reference to "cloud computing forcing people to buy into locked, proprietary systems" is a paraphrase by The Guardian. It may be backed up by a direct quote, or may be a mis-interpretation of the included quote.

Mikey [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

Ah the joy of being simplistic and right no matter what. If we took this silly argument to the end, we couldn't use the internet because there is some evil company out there using proprietary software to send us our email and route us to the websites we want to view.

Rise up. Let us all build our own internets, communicate only with those we wish and move back to the Stone Age.

One more thing. Don't forget to grow an ugly beard.

Andy Wong [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Mr Stallman did not give specific reasons why not. A bold statement without context and use cases.

Some groups of people should never trust cloud computing – spies, terrorists etc.

appelflap [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

Well, he opposes proprietary software because it is not free:
gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.htm ...
Most web applications are proprietary, so he opposes them too. It is very logical reasoning.

lorimer [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

I prefer using 'piracy' programs better than 'free open source' ones because is ILEGAL, and i like it like that. It's like stealing in a shop, I like doing that too and I like the feeling and the buzz it gives me

Anonymous [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

"piracy" is not like stealing in a shop. it's more like going into a shop and using a hi-tech machine to make copies of what's in there.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

<<"piracy" is not like stealing in a shop. it's more like going into a shop and using a hi-tech machine to make copies of what's in there.>>

Agreed. Theft removes the original-- piracy makes a copy.

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