Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 27th Mar 2006 19:30 UTC
Google Phil Sim, a professional with technology editor journalist background, has written three interesting blog posts recently, discussing the much-rumored Google OS (1, 2, 3). He speculates that all user's data will be stored online on Google's servers and so one's desktop and files can be retrieved exactly as left by any other PC station, anywhere in the world, by simply using his Gmail credentials. It's like having your OS on a usb key with you at all times, only, without the usb key...
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No Centralization
by alucinor on Tue 28th Mar 2006 17:56 UTC
alucinor
Member since:
2006-01-06

It seems all these new web services coming from Microsoft, Google, and the web 2.0 companies require centralization of users’ data. This goes against one of the most basic tenets of web architecture is decentralization. What we really need is to move forward, not backward, and give users’ more control and ownership of their data. This means universal formats becoming standard, such as RDF, so that if I want to store pictures on Flickr, I can easily port them over to some other system without having to re-upload and type in all my metadata again.

Better than a network OS would be to equip client operating systems with software agents that could act as your personal system admin. If you want access to your data from anywhere, you access it from your server, not some central Google or Microsoft server. We need to enable Joe Sixpack to be his own admin with little effort.

Centralization always creates fragility on the Web.

Reply Score: 1

RE: No Centralization
by afilloon on Tue 28th Mar 2006 18:28 in reply to "No Centralization"
afilloon Member since:
2006-03-28

"This goes against one of the most basic tenets of web architecture is decentralization."

The internet is based on decentralization of routing and infrastructure, not data.

"Better than a network OS would be to equip client operating systems with software agents that could act as your personal system admin. If you want access to your data from anywhere, you access it from your server, not some central Google or Microsoft server..."

Huh? This is still located on a centralized server. Are you advocating everyone own their own server and manage their own data? Just how would that work?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: No Centralization
by alucinor on Tue 28th Mar 2006 19:08 in reply to "RE: No Centralization"
alucinor Member since:
2006-01-06

I was talking about the Web, not the Internet. And one of the architectural principles is in fact decentralization of data. Perhaps this idea wasn't emphasized in the WWW as we know it today, but it's central to the Semantic Web, as it is core to RDF that anyone can say anything about anything, meaning that Semantic Web agents have to know how to deal with potentially contradictory information.

I think in the future, personal data should be kept decentralized, and the only centralization should be something similar to DNS, so that if anyone needs to access my information that I choose (or my government forces me to) publish, then they can do it at Person://us.washington.seattle.smith.john or something similar, and get it in a vendor-agnostic format. This way, it takes advantage of the centralization afforded by DNS, but the actual location of the data could be on any server, including my own personal one, or just some space I'm renting from my ISP, whatever. I just don't want to see my data, which I rightfully own, under the ownership of an external entity.

To see how centralization is fragile, just research the attempts by the British NHS to centralize hospital data into the national Spine! Centralization is a weakness to the Web.

Hopefully a company or just a group of smart engineers will come along who will do for the server side and ownership of data what the PC movement did for the client side and ownership of programs (and I'm talking about the "golden age" of the PC movement, not the DRM crap being discussed today). As our culture becomes more wired, our data is going to become more valuable to us, and consumers will buy a software product that empowers them to easily store and manage their own information. I can't give you details on how such an automated administrator would work; it would probably be some kind of expert-rules-based system. But the potential for it is there. The pedulum of the software business is swinging back towards the network with SOA, but that doesn't mean we couldn't see swing back the other direction again with shrink-wrapped products one day.

Edited 2006-03-28 19:24

Reply Parent Score: 1