Linked by David Adams on Tue 30th Sep 2008 02:26 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y A very interesting "Blogwatch" posting at Computerworld links out to an interview with Richard Stallman wherein he posits that Cloud Computing is a trap to entice users to give up control and privacy and become subject to closed, proprietary platforms. Since RMS is a professional provocateur, I wouldn't consider all of his pronouncements newsworthy. But the thoughtful responses linked in this blog roundup were interesting, and I believe the issue of convenience vs control vis a vis Cloud Computing is a very timely and important debate to be having at this point in IT history.
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RE: Have to disagree
by kadymae on Wed 1st Oct 2008 16:20 UTC in reply to "Have to disagree"
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I disagree with at least the idea that *all* cloud computing is bad. Generally, the data coming from the servers are in an open format. Further, all the data you yourself created are available from these services. Want to the see emails in gmail that you sent before? No problem. They're available. Facebook lets me access all my photo, status, blog postings, in JPG and (formatted) text formats. And so forth with any "cloud" computing service I can think of. All my data are copyable directly from the browser. There's no lock in. Saying so simply confuses the issue.

Yes. This. Thank you.

I'm the EIC for an online webzine, and IRL I work at an academic library. Google Docs & Spreadsheet, for example, have enabled me to collaborate with multiple people using a variety of OSes and programs without a single compatablity issue. Whereas before I had to worry about making sure everybody had the right version of the doc, or wonky formatting that did things like turn " in to ? and ' into superscript 1. (Yes, I know about global find and replace, but not having to do that at all is even better.)

Google's servers are robust and reliable. Unless it's a supermegamajor catastrophe, I don't have to worry about a power outage (happened to my campus about a month ago and lasted several hours) crippling me and my partners' ability to work. (Nothing like coming to work and discovering that you can't access a key document because that particular server isn't "mission critical" and gets no power from the backup generator.)

Neither do I want to set up a server at my house and deal with securing it. (I do have personal, sensitive documents on my home computers and don't want to take *any* risks with that data.) Plus, why keep a computer running 24/7, using electricity if I'm only going to need it about 3-4 times a week -- that's a waste of money and an inefficient use of resources.

However, I don't use Google Docs or Spreadsheet for anything that's sensitive or not intended (ultimately) for public consumption. Yes, I'll be annoyed if there is a security breech that allows anybody to come waltzing into my Google Docs account (because it means that somebody else was asleep at the switch), but there's no harm done if people get the draft versions of my thoughts on yaoi, a film review, or the caveats involved with doing reference via SMS.

Cloud computing is the wave of the future. When used appropriately with an eye to its shortcomings, it's convenient, cross platform, and makes efficent use of resources.

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