Sun-lackey and Free Software Advocate Richard Stallman on 'cloud computing' :
I think he's actually right about the marketing hype - there's way too much of it. But he's wrong in claiming there's something fundamentally bad about cloud computing. According to the article :
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, but it's a general statement about any computing system or technology. I think that notions of privacy and user control aren't intrinsically at odds with the big spectrum of technologies that are called 'cloud computing'. Rather, like any other computing technology used by humans, there are options, and we can choose to use and create tech that is secure and open, both in the implementation (as in open source), but maybe more importantly in terms of portability and data freedom, being able to move one's data to where one chooses.
I use a hosted IMAP provider for email - that's a kind of cloud computing. I have the freedom to move my data - my mail - to another service provider or simply run an IMAP server myself and host it myself. I have this freedom because IMAP is an open standard, one that anyone can implement. I'm no more interested in hosting it myself than I am in making my own butter. I'm pretty sure I can do it, but why bother when cheaper and more convenient alternatives are there for me?
We'll see the same with other cloud technology. At 10gen, where I work, we've open-sourced (is that a verb?) our platform. No lock in. Nada. Not so stupid.