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Lost In the Cloud 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the stormy-weather dept.
Colonel Korn writes "Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain suggests in an Op-Ed piece that the seemingly inevitable move toward the often locked-down cloud is stifling innovation and threatening our privacy: '... many software developers who once would have been writing whatever they wanted for PCs are simply developing less adventurous, less subversive, less game-changing code under the watchful eyes of Facebook and Apple. If the market settles into a handful of gated cloud communities whose proprietors control the availability of new code, the time may come to ensure that their platforms do not discriminate. Such a demand could take many forms, from an outright regulatory requirement to a more subtle set of incentives — tax breaks or liability relief — that nudge companies to maintain the kind of openness that earlier allowed them a level playing field on which they could lure users from competing, mighty incumbents. We've only just begun to measure this problem, even as we fly directly into the cloud. That's not a reason to turn around. But we must make sure the cloud does not hinder the creation of revolutionary software that, like the Web itself, can seem esoteric at first but utterly necessary later.'"
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Lost In the Cloud

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:44PM (#28772325)

    Or, you know, developers could still write code that runs on one computer and do whatever they feel like doing.

    Somehow, I don't think that Facebook is going to be the technology that drives computing forard...

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:44PM (#28772327)

    Such a demand could take many forms, from an outright regulatory requirement to a more subtle set of incentives -- tax breaks or liability relief -- that nudge companies to maintain the kind of openness that earlier allowed them a level playing field on which they could lure users from competing, mighty incumbents

    That is in a word, stupid. The thing about online services is, there is little requirements to entry and they are easy to change from one service to another. Its trivial for me to switch from Facebook to any number of different social networks. Same with search engines, etc. All it takes is simply replacing the URL. Regulation will only stifle innovation.

    • by jambarama (784670) <jambarama@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:03PM (#28772561) Homepage Journal

      Its trivial for me to switch from Facebook to any number of different social networks.

      Really? Is it trivial to transfer all your uploaded pictures/videos, friend list, and history to your new social network provider? Now is it trivial for you, as a tech enthusiast, or trivial for a normal facebook user? Or did you mean that it is trivial to log into some social networking site other than facebook? Unless your data can follow you, or you're willing to recreate/lose that data, you're locked in.

      Services not always easy to switch away from. Switching search engines is one thing, changing your email provider is entirely another. Encouraging data portability and compatibility is not a bad thing, especially when the encouragement is relief for liability incurred by making that data portable.

      • by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:11PM (#28772671) Journal

        Yes, it is that trivial.

        Most have a search feature to find people by email/account/etc. Also if you have your albums hosted somewhere sites like picasa [google.com] can upload them directly to whatever [facebook.com]account [scrapur.com] you have.

        • by wjousts (1529427) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:43PM (#28773049)
          I think you just proved jambarama's point (especially for the "normal" facebook user) by giving three different links to a mess of different services in a vain attempt to show how "trivial" it is. Well done defeating your own point, it saves everybody else the time.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by poetmatt (793785)

            Uh?

            Most of these addons take a total of 3 clicks, you pick your album, you press upload, and you pick the pictures for the online album for the site of your choice.

            That's considered a mess/difficult?

            I do get that not all users are the typical slashdot fare but I would hardly consider that in the realm of something to turn away most users.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by wjousts (1529427)

              First you have to realize that you have a need, then you have to identify these services that will fill this need, then you need to figure out how to sign up for them, then you need to figure out how to use them and how to get them to work together....

              Yes, that is more than enough to turn away most users on the internets.

              • by poetmatt (793785)

                LMGTFY [lmgtfy.com]. Speaks for itself. When you don't have to be a genius and just do a google search to find the answer, it's not in the "difficult decisions" category.

                Your whole thing there, doesn't involve physical effort or stress. Thus, it will not turn people on or off from any activity. It doesn't even have to do with people making the decision to do an activity, as above.

                • by wjousts (1529427)

                  Notice again that you've ignored the most important, and for most users most difficult, part. FINDING THESE SERVICES IN THE FIRST PLACE. Once you know about Picasa and you know it's even possible to connect it with Facebook, then search on Google is easy. But most people haven't heard of Picasa. And those that have, it wouldn't even occur to them that they could use it with Facebook.

                  You keep talking about how easy the technical part of the very last step is without realizing that most users aren't only stuc

      • Trivial for him, and probably trivial for him to write an ad-based program that will do that for the idiots and make him a few thousand bucks when several million people use his app to migrate from one social network to any number of others.
    • by Fnkmaster (89084) * on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:04PM (#28772593)

      Well that's misleading. In general, the switching costs for online services are relatively low, but a social networking site has higher switching costs than many due to the network effects (the more users on the site, the more useful/valuable the site is).

      Of course, that switching cost isn't as high as the venture capitalists may believe, as we saw with Friendster, then MySpace - as soon as the "cool" factor disappears, migration can happen en masse. The key is that many individuals must essentially cooperate to move to another social networking site. Or some subset of "leaders" have to migrate, creating the sense that the new social networking site is the cool, "in" place to be now and the old site was yesterday's thing.

      Now that people see their parents and even grandparents logging into Facebook, I wonder if it will eventually change the perception of Facebook and lead to its eventual replacement.

      Also, people seem to be more likely to "add" than to switch outright, at least at first, and then simply abandon the old site when they perceive that their friends have abandoned it too.

    • Search engines, I'll grant, are quite easy to switch between, unless you've gone really deep into using their APIs and whatnot(and even then, the separation should be pretty clean, though it'll involve work). Same with things like EC2. The environment is largely portable, with just a touch of more or less abstractable special sauce.

      Social networks, rather less so. Shockingly, networks are subject to network effects. I can create a new account anywhere, anytime; but unless I can convince people to switch
      • Social networks, rather less so. Shockingly, networks are subject to network effects. I can create a new account anywhere, anytime; but unless I can convince people to switch with me in decent numbers, I might as well not bother.

        Yes, and thats one of the reasons why social networks have spread in popularity. However, Friendster was started in 2002, yet I don't know anyone who still goes on Friendster in the USA. Same with Myspace, Facebook has pretty much devoured all of Myspace's marketshare and most of those still on Myspace have a Facebook account.

    • by mcgrew (92797) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:23PM (#28772819) Homepage Journal

      I'm not one of the "all regulation is bad" camp; bad regulation is bad and good regulation is good. But in this case I agree with you - regulation is only called for AFTER a problem arises, unless one has balls of crystal. I tend to agree that in this case, regulation would stifle innovation.

    • Is it really easy to switch? In my mind, switching completely involves:
      1. Take everything from site A and create on site B
      2. Remove everything from site A completely

      To my knowledge, step 2 is impossible on most sites.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Garrett Fox (970174)
      "This new technology of the Internet is promising, but we're worried that some aspects of it are going to cause problems. Let's get Congress to impose taxes and regulations to bludgeon the new industry into the shape we think it should take, then let lobbyists and the English majors in Congress be the ones to decide what direction the technology takes."
  • repeat after me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:45PM (#28772341)
    the cloud is not taking over everything, not everyone is going to give up their computers for a network appliance that depends on the cloud to do anything and everything, the cloud will at best become useful for a few people but not everyone
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Em Emalb (452530)

      the cloud is not taking over everything, not everyone is going to give up their computers for a network appliance that depends on the cloud to do anything and everything, the cloud will at best become useful for a few people but not everyone

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      the cloud is not taking over everything, not everyone is going to give up their computers for a network appliance that depends on the cloud to do anything and everything, the cloud will at best become useful for a few people but not everyone

      the cloud is not taking over everything, not everyone is going to give up their computers for a network appliance that depends on the cloud to do anything and everything, the cloud will at best become useful for a few people but not everyone

    • TFA sounds like an excuse by said developers for their lack of creativity. The rest of us are doing just fine.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bertoelcon (1557907)
      They said the same thing about the internet, with people giving up books and traditional media.

      They were right.

      • Re:repeat after me (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Hijacked Public (999535) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:38PM (#28772997)

        How were they right?

        The book industry is still pretty big and it seems to be growing [liswire.com]. Electronic books are maybe 10% of sales last I read. The primary business of one of the internet's biggest retailers is paper books.

        And I'm not sure what you mean by 'traditional media' but television and the rest of Hollywood continue to do well. Some things have changed, for sure, but most of the business is still in the hands of the people it was in before in internet.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:46PM (#28772355)
    I'm actually surprised at how quickly some of these platforms like the iPhone have developed completely closed programming environments with barely a peep of protest from the normally pretty libertarian tech crowd. Even on /., there doesn't seem to be much of a stir about it. Every now and then someone complains, or advocates jailbreaking, but I hear more howling when MS proposes to make IE a default browser than when Apple completely locks down an entire product line to outside developers.
    • by FudRucker (866063)
      bleh! the iphone looks cool and does some snazzy things but it is not for everyone, i can buy any cell/smart[phone] i want but guess what i have? i have a cheap throw away tracfone because a little gadget like a mobile phone is not worth investing that much money in = too easily broken, lost or stolen, the same with laptops, i dont but high dollar laptops for the same reason, i buy used laptops off of craigslist for a 100 or 200 USD and keep any vital info on a usb thumbdrive and in my pocket when not in us
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:54PM (#28772459) Homepage Journal

      I'm actually surprised at how quickly some of these platforms like the iPhone have developed completely closed programming environments with barely a peep of protest from the normally pretty libertarian tech crowd.

      You must be...actually, some of us have been protesting, but our voices keep getting drowned out by some people black turtlenecks and artsy looking glasses. I think they may be a cult.

    • by Bluesman (104513) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:05PM (#28772605) Homepage

      Don't be surprised; the reason you don't hear it is because that line of argument against Windows is silly and illogical.

      The IBM-compatible PC is about as open as you get. If you don't want to use Windows, nothing is stopping you from writing your own OS (Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, QNX, Mac OS X, etc.) It's not prohibitively expensive, requires no government sponsorship, and it's not even that difficult. All the documentation you'd ever need is free from Intel's web site, or you can order a hard copy from them.

      What Microsoft does with Windows is largely irrelevant. It's annoying when you have to use it at work or school, but irrelevant to your freedom as a citizen and your freedom to do what you please with the hardware you bought.

      Same thing with the iPhone. I can buy a different phone and write software for it to my heart's content. What Apple does with their hardware and phone is irrelevant because I'm not forced to pay for it.

      Problems only start when organizations attempt to coerce me by force to pay for something that I otherwise wouldn't have. The whole MS DRM/Palladium debacle was a concern because it had the potential to close off an entire network funded by taxpayer dollars with the expectation that it would be an open system.

      Apple and others can do whatever they want with the infrastructure they've paid for. It's only when they try to do something to the infrastructure I paid for that I have a problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by recoiledsnake (879048)
        You're missing something crucial in the difference between a IBM/PC and iPhone. The question of developer freedom. The developers are free to develop and distribute WHATEVER they want in the IBM/PC world on Windows/Linux/Whatever. Whereas on the iPhone, it's illegal to develop even a browser and anything you develop will have a 30% Apple tax slapped on it and there's no alternate means of *widespread* distribution. Probably MS's revenue would eclipse the US's GDP if MS charged 30% of every Photoshop, Autoca
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Whereas on the iPhone, it's illegal to develop even a browser and anything you develop will have a 30% Apple tax slapped on it and there's no alternate means of *widespread* distribution.

          Really? It's illegal>/i> to develop a browser for the iPhone? Can you point me to the state or federal statute that criminalized creating an iPhone browser?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by lennier (44736)

            "Really? It's illegal>/i> to develop a browser for the iPhone? Can you point me to the state or federal statute that criminalized creating an iPhone browser?"

            Hmm. Is it illegal to break a signed contract?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          *You're* "missing something crucial" in the GP's comment: it doesn't matter that Apple places so many rules and restrictions on those who want to play on the device and in the App Store. It doesn't matter because Apple can't force you to do any of this. You're free at any time to walk away and develop for a more open platform (like Windows Mobile, which is kind of hard to believe).

          The iPhone is Apple's sandbox. They don't have to share it with us. They also tend to make decisions to protect us from ourselve

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by recoiledsnake (879048)

            Apple's take is nothing. If you think a 70% take for the creator is unfair, then you've never tried to sell anything on a scale greater than a flea market or garage sale. Apple is handling distribution, payment processing, some marketing, paying the bandwidth bill, all while making your app available to anyone with an iPhone. That's anything but unfair. If you think you can get a better overall package elsewhere, then you can always try the jailbreak market, but that, despite all the "freedom", hasn't exactly taken off. Why I would pay $5 for an app I could get for $1 (or less) in the App Store is a mystery. I'm sure that'll change as more commercial offerings for jailbroken phones appear, but right now it's not so hot.

            Why not simply make it installable from a website(for eg. the developers) like, you know, the rest of the smartphones and computers and netbooks? That is the difference. There is no choice. If there is a choice and what you say about the App store being a great deal is true, developers will flock to Apple's offerings anyway. But looks like Apple just wants to take the 30% cut and be in control of the platform and is jumping through hoops and making developers jump through more just for the sake of it. The

            • Why not simply make it installable from a website(for eg. the developers) like, you know, the rest of the smartphones and computers and netbooks? That is the difference. There is no choice. If there is a choice and what you say about the App store being a great deal is true, developers will flock to Apple's offerings anyway.

              Why would you want to have to run your own website and manage all the bandwidth bills and marketing when you can pay a pittance for Apple to do all that for you? Secondly, developers are flocking to the app store en masse. The 50,000+ apps on the store aren't coming out of someone's rectum so they clearly most have some sort of developer following.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by recoiledsnake (879048)

                Why not simply make it installable from a website(for eg. the developers) like, you know, the rest of the smartphones and computers and netbooks? That is the difference. There is no choice. If there is a choice and what you say about the App store being a great deal is true, developers will flock to Apple's offerings anyway.

                Why would you want to have to run your own website and manage all the bandwidth bills and marketing when you can pay a pittance for Apple to do all that for you? Secondly, developers are flocking to the app store en masse. The 50,000+ apps on the store aren't coming out of someone's rectum so they clearly most have some sort of developer following.

                I don't understand this reasoning at all. The developers can run their own website if they are so inclined or already have one. If not they use the App store to host. Forcing the developers to the App Store is one way to protect the 30% cut and prevent competition. How can you claim that the 50k+ applications show the strength of App store when there's no credible alternative at present? Cydia is not, because there are very few jailbroken iPhones.

                • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

                  How can you claim that the 50k+ applications show the strength of App store when there's no credible alternative at present?

                  Yeah totally. Having 65,000+ apps written for your mobile platform (having just looked at some more recent numbers) and having had over 1.5 billion downloads from your store is clearly the sign of being an abject failure. Apple should just discontinue the whole iPhone line considering such abysmal numbers. If these numbers don't show any sort of strength of their store, please enlighten me to an app store for any other mobile platform that can boast such numbers. The Android Market has only about 3,000 a

            • Some more points I wanted to add, the alternative App store sucks right now because there's barely any market for it because jailbroken iPhones are very few. Once the iPhone opens up, there will be lot better alternatives and applications and app stores charging the devs less than 30%, which is exactly what Apple doesn't want, that's why the lockdown.

              f any old person could come along and write another browser, you'd wind up with all sorts of problems (I develop iPhone apps for a living - there ARE reason

            • Then just imagine how it would be if developer freedom was respected. How many more innovative programs could be developed?

              Yep, like the thousands of incredible apps for the Blackberry. More like the thousand of disconnected, difficult to find, questionably marketed apps for Windows Mobile / Palm / Symbian / Nokia, etc.

              Most of the apps in the App store are garbage. Some of them are pretty cool - I never once saw a protractor app for my Blackberry and I use that one on a daily basis. I never once even

          • I'm certainly not an expert on the subject, as you appear to be... however... You very much appear to be on the inside looking out. Most of your argument hinges on users being complete morons. Which is more than a little bit common among developers and IT staff. The reality is more complicated though, and you clearly drank the kool-aid.

            The reality is that Palm did the exact opposite of what apple has done, and the platform isn't a "mess". If you install a new browser and it doesn't work you uninstall i
          • by mpfife (655916)

            *You're* "missing something crucial" in the GP's comment: it doesn't matter that Apple places so many rules and restrictions on those who want to play on the device and in the App Store. It doesn't matter because Apple can't force you to do any of this. You're free at any time to walk away and develop for a more open platform (like Windows Mobile, which is kind of hard to believe). The iPhone is Apple's sandbox. They don't have to share it with us. They also tend to make decisions to protect us from oursel

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'm actually surprised at how quickly some of these platforms like the iPhone have developed completely closed programming environments with barely a peep of protest from the normally pretty libertarian tech crowd.

      I'm not. The iPhone was not designed for wizards. It was designed for muggles. The tech community gave up on the slathering flesh-beasts that beat upon the keyboards of the world long ago...

    • I don't complain because I use a Palm Centro .. which has no such regulations. I can write my own program if I want, load it on my web server, and offer it up. And there are several Palm shareware sites that can be used.

      It's called 'choice'. If someone wants the latest overpriced cool gadget, go buy an iPhone and get locked into the iTunes store and only what they will sell.

      Or .. spend $50 for a refurbished phone and get freedom. Technology catches up every couple of years anyway, so the cool stuff i
    • I think there are two main things at work in a case like that:

      The one is that, for all our protests about principles, (most) people are strongly motivated by comfort and convenience. The USSR didn't fall because the gulags were full, it fell because the supermarkets were empty. Here at home, gas prices likely ranked above torture and surveillance when it came to deciding the last election. People cut Apple's cryptographically walled garden a lot of slack because, thus far, they've done a better job than t
      • by MarkvW (1037596)

        Argh . . . The USSR fell more because of divergent nationalist impulses than because it didn't provide enough consumer goods.

        • by iamacat (583406)

          As someone who was there at the time, I can confirm that USSR fell because of glasnost. Once people learned that so much that they were told about the rest of the world, and especially US, was deception, government lost ability to motivate the masses. As I understand, with Putin/Medvedyev since are coming back to good old days, patriotism and all.

    • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:19PM (#28772759)

      Seriously. The people who say that it's Apple's property or that consoles are similarly locked down are missing the point. Consoles etc. were never projected to be a computing platform. We already have people hailing the iPhone as the mobile computing platform and the iTouch as Apple's version of the netbook. It is just Apple trying to get greedy by triple dipping into the jar by charging first for the phone, then taking a nice chunk of the users' monthly phone/data plan fee through AT&T, and then skimming 30% off the cost of a application in the App Store from the user/developer.

      And applications cannot use 'undocumented APIs'(determined inconsistently by arbitrary lackeys), contain political undertones, or any hint of non PG 13 content or compete in anyway with Apple's builtin programs. http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2008/09/04/apple-rejecting-applications-based-on-limited-utility/ [macrumors.com] This would be okay if there was alternate means to get applications, but the only way to get widespread distribution is through the App Store. http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/21/122225 [slashdot.org] MS bundled a browser with it's OS, but Apple gets away with banning any browser from being developed at all, not allowing any VM(like Java) and gets a free pass because it's not a monopoly(yet)?

      For example, there was a app for a countdown clock for second term of Bush in Nov 2008. When it was rejected, the author emailed Apple, and Jobs himself replied: http://www.juggleware.com/blog/2008/09/steve-jobs-writes-back/ [juggleware.com]

      Mr. Jobs replied : Even though my personal political leanings are democratic, I think this app will be offensive to roughly half our customers. Whatâ(TM)s the point? Steve

      So, before you develop the application, you might want to brush up on what Jobs MIGHT think about any political overtones in your application. There are no clear guidelines or rules. Some Apps are allowed, and other Apps with similar type of content or using similar development tools rejected.

      There's another case of Apple rejecting an application for duplicate functionality and then filing a patent for a similar app. Details are here http://www.ikaraokeapp.com/node/18 [ikaraokeapp.com] and here http://www.tuaw.com/2009/07/02/app-store-rejections-apple-rejects-ikaraoke-app-then-files-a-p/ [tuaw.com]

      They say that when restrictions come, they come wrapped in a sweet looking package. That may well be the iPhone to condition people to the world of restrictive applications on machines billed as general computing devices.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FudRucker (866063)
        dont let it scare you, vote with your wallet and just dont buy Apple's shiney expensive crap, i dont own anything made by Apple
    • The iPhone is a neat doodad, and does some things I like, much like my Nintendo DS. I don't think of either as a general-purpose computer. Heck, together they're cheaper than the computers in my car, and I don't care all that much about doing my own programming there. Moreover, they're not entrenched monopolies, and there's not a whole lot of network effect for them (more for the DS). If I want to program on a version of MacOSX, I've got a low-end Mac on my desk, and I can program what I like for that.

    • Now that you bring up the smart phone perspective, let me just say that's different than cloud services. The reason is that, comparing, say, a Facebook app with an iPhone app, while the environment is pretty fixed in both cases, in the latter case you have the additional element of needing to have hardware in the hands of the users.

      The OpenMoko project is trying to address that, but its struggles show the great difference between open source software and ditto hardware. Software is just so much easier to mu

    • What I find interesting is how many smart phone reviews dismiss the G1 (and Android) because there is only a single available phone from a single carrier providing service. But in the same breath hold the iPhone as a perfectly reasonable device. I like my G1 a lot, given I'd like a little slimmer device, but I happen to prefer the slide-out keypad to an on-screen keyboard(which android itself supports). I also like that rooting/jailbreaking is easy, with no efforts to stop it... although the only real re

    • by westlake (615356)
      I'm actually surprised at how quickly some of these platforms like the iPhone have developed completely closed programming environments with barely a peep of protest from the normally pretty libertarian tech crowd.

      It's a successful platform. The barriers to entry are low. It pays the rent. Next question, please.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster (516420)

      iPhone have developed completely closed programming environments with barely a peep of protest from the normally pretty libertarian tech crowd.

      Maybe because a substantial group of us don't really give a flying fuck about the iPhone (ooohhh shiny). Steve jobs can keep his overpriced iCandy, I don't need it. That being said it is Steve's platform and like so much else from the Cult of Mac; Steve gets the final say and doesn't have to explain himself to anyone. If you don't like that then don't write software for the iPhone or at least don't complain when Steve bricks your jailbroken phone or breaks your hacked apps. If you want an open source softwa

  • by greatica (1586137) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:50PM (#28772407)

    Let em' stifle all they want. Somebody else will make another cloud that doesn't stifle...or just build their own platform.

    • by jambarama (784670)
      What about a cloud which becomes stifling only after your data is loaded/generated within it? What legal actions could you take if they use a standard "we-guarantee-nothing" EULA?

      Requiring users to keep local copies of what they put in the cloud, so that they can switch to a another service later, is tantamount to telling them not to use "the cloud."
    • Good that someone didn't lock down the internet with similar reasoning to yours. "Let them build their own free internet if they want to compete". See how absurd that sounds?
      • by et764 (837202)

        It's not really that absurd. It sounds a lot like how the world was around the time I first got online. Back then, everyone had Compuserve, AOL, Prodigy, or any other online services that were around. I don't remember there being any interoperability at the time, so in effect they said "Let them build their own free internet if they want to complete." That's exactly what they did, and now these companies are all either out of business or they have morphed into just another ISP.

        True, the Internet was develop

  • Twitch! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:50PM (#28772409)

    any software developers who once would have been writing whatever they wanted for PCs are simply developing less adventurous, less subversive, less game-changing code under the watchful eyes of Facebook and Apple.

    You're suggesting Facebook and Apple actually care about your privacy? Are you from the past?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851)
      Nothing suggests a desire for privacy quite like posting your personals all over the net.
  • Government (Score:5, Funny)

    by endianx (1006895) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:52PM (#28772433)
    Nothing says innovation like government regulation!
    • by tthomas48 (180798)

      That meme is so played out. Let it rest, before any remaining scraps of truth it contains are leached out.

    • Re:Government (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Angst Badger (8636) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:48PM (#28773117)

      Right, because anarchy has proven to work so terribly well already.

      If doing something harmful is profitable, it will be done to the fullest possible extent without (and sometimes even) outright breaking the law. That includes trying to generate profit by making the market less free, hence monopolies and cartels. While it's fashionable in some circles to argue that the market is a panacea for all conceivable problems, that argument is so absurd on its face that it wouldn't be worth refuting if there weren't so many laissez-faire bobbleheads nodding gleefully every time some business model comes along touting anti-competitive practices dressed up as "innovation". Touting Facebook and iPhone apps as innovative -- seriously, Facebook apps? -- crosses the line from absurdity into actual comedy.

      All regulation isn't bad. Remember that the next time you spout off some reactionary wisecrack and the regulations against assault and battery keep me from bashing you over the head with a sack full of iPhones.

      • by endianx (1006895)

        All regulation isn't bad.

        I agree. Government should prevent force from being used, for example, to stop you from bashing me over the head with a sack full of iPhones.

        However, nobody has a right to tell Apple that they have to open their platform to more apps. Regardless of whether or not that would produce innovation, your desires do not override others freedom. You don't get to tell people what to do just because you don't like how they operate. In an anarchy, might makes "right", but in a civilization, that should not be th

    • by msormune (808119)
      Well, thanks to government regulation European nations got unified GSM cell phone systems where you were NOT locked into a specific provider but could actually use your phone anywhere on the continent and get your call through.
      • by endianx (1006895)
        Freedom is of far higher value to me than unified GSM cell phone systems. That you would sacrifice yours in the name of consumerism is sad. However, that you would sacrifice mine for the same reason is deplorable.
        • by msormune (808119)

          That's a matter of perspective. You sacrificed a lot of your freedom of communication for companies that wanted to lock in their customers. Our government actually protected that freedom here.

          As an another example, would you also like to give big companies rights to patent your human genes? For freedom of what? For the freedom you have to pay more money for drugs in the future? Or would you like that information to stay free and your government to back that up? Did you know you paid for most of that genome

  • Needless Concern (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:54PM (#28772453)
    There will always be people, like me, that will not want to use cloud computing. I don't think we are surrendering our rights to the big corporations. This is needless worry and concern. You don't have to use Google Docs or Microsoft Office (when it goes cloud.) You can still choose to use Open Office or KOffice. If you care about privacy, you will avoid the cloud as much as possible. There will always be traditional developers writing software for the hard core users. Who knows, developers might create a cloud version of Open Office that you can deploy yourself.
    • by jambarama (784670)
      That is true, but what is the problem with trying to make "the cloud" more functional (secure, private, portable, whatever) for those who *do* elect to use it? The privacy concerns seem to me to be driven by poor government law/policy (e.g. the "third party exception" to ECPA & the other toothless laws), why shouldn't we try to fix those concerns?
    • perfectly.
      I agree with pretty well everything you said.

      Remember how Microsoft setup 'Plays for Sure' and then when it failed, shut it down meaning that people who had bought stuff were no longer able to play it or made them incompatible with their new toy, the Zune.
      Any Service that stores your data on their servers is open to misuse. They have something you want so what is to stop them from holding you to ransom and charging you an arm and a leg to get it back.
      This is almost as good a business model as drug

    • by cellurl (906920) *
      Until wireless is more-open, cloud computing will not reign.
      Everytime the wireless breaks, people will want a ground-based-app.
      Cloud computing will have to come after routers that are more sophistocated.
      Eg a router like dd-wrt [dd-wrt.com] where mere mortals don't instantly turn on WPA locks.
      Lets have some factory open unrestricted bandwidth, or idle-open-bandwidth and help seed the cloud.



      Add a speedlimit here, its a cloud.
      http://www.wikispeedia.org/ [wikispeedia.org]
    • by KlaymenDK (713149)

      See, the thing is, 'we' don't care if 'you' don't want to use the cloud. No matter how much you try to protect it, your privacy will be eroded for you.

      I'm not on Facebook, and I wasn't on GMail for the longest time. But do you really think they don't have my data anyway, from all my friends who think differently ("if at all")?

      Privacy is dead, killed by your friends who sold it for nothing to the big corporations. (Whoa, that sounded way more dramatic than I intended.) If you want privacy, you'll need person

  • First of all, clouds aren't a good foundation to build stone walls on (;-))

    Secondly, and more seriously, a smart user will buy a service that gives them a virtual machine or a JVM to run an application on, and control the app and it's storage themselves.

    At the expense of sounding grumpy, a lot of the cloud stuff reminds of software written for script kiddies

    --dave

    • by jambarama (784670)

      Secondly, and more seriously, a smart user will buy a service that gives them a virtual machine or a JVM to run an application on, and control the app and it's storage themselves.

      Right, because all "smart" users have the capability to do that. This is mostly consumer stuff, large firms do exactly what you suggest. Most consumers simply don't have the ability to match what the enterprises are doing.

      Just because this is within your area of expertise doesn't mean it is within everyone else's expertise

      • by davecb (6526) *

        I entirely agree: what's being offered seems aimed at the level of someone who isn't even a consumer, more of a learned-by-rote kind of user. That's survivable by consumers, although it may be frustrating.

        That's less than useful to a company that wants to use the cloud for something profitable: they're limited to a very restricted set of things they can do. I've worked with one of the big packaged-services providers, and the service they offer limited, hard to adapt to your business and breaks in mysteri

  • Having our collective heads in the cloud, as it were, will run into a much more pragmatic barrier pretty fast, probably faster than privacy issues that are certain to also rise. When ALL of our software becomes streamed through data cable, how much of a DSL or cable bill are we going to receive monthly from providers who will have long since rescinded and phased out unlimited bandwidth contracts in favor of nickel-and-diming their consumers into oblivion?
  • If through the clouds
    You want to fly
    Wait for radar
    Or likely die

    Burma Shave
  • FYI (Score:3, Informative)

    by Petey_Alchemist (711672) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:15PM (#28772703) Homepage
    If this is your first exposure to Zittrain's central idea, you should check out his book: http://futureoftheinternet.org/static/ZittrainTheFutureoftheInternet.pdf [futureoftheinternet.org]

    Or, if you don't like reading, you can watch his thoroughly engaging book talk here: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/interactive/events/2008/04/zittrain [harvard.edu]

    Zittrain knows his stuff. He was friends with Postel. He's got an AI background from Yale in addition to his Harvard Law degree.

    • And I would point out that if you RTFA Zittrain is actually mostly disinterested in government regulation, but rather in community-based solutions to some of these problems, which is why he founded Herdict and is involved in that side of things.
    • Thanks for the information. Honestly, I would never have guessed Zittrain had any decent computer knowledge considering the confusion he demonstrated throughout his article.

      >Zittrain knows his stuff. He was friends with Postel

      Oh. Of course. He must be a very good computer scientist, then. :-)

      Seriously though, is the term "the cloud" a substitute for "the Internet", now? Enough with this please.

  • why we had to innovate past the grid computing...its paradigm of short-sighted operational mindsets was impacting our productivity!!! and challenge owners couldnt fully own our new vision without an expanded cloud worldview of the datagrams which had for so long embodied our vision of a face-forward actionable adoption processes at this juncture?

    its time to sharpen our pencils and be above-board about this situation..

    seeing these impacts to our mission goals in the new cloud is a new challenge requiring
  • Just when I thought I'd heard the worst usages of 'cloud', someone upped the ante!

    Now sites with a lot of users are considered the cloud? Is WoW the cloud? MySpace is "the" cloud?

    Requiring applications meet certain criteria for your site is now somehow part of "the Oppressive cloud"?

    Seriously, go die. Thx.

    • Exactly. I'm really tired of this overloading of what the new buzzwords mean. Same story with component-oriented development in 1999/2000, same story with Web services (there were companies - e.g. Salesforce I think - who were doing text scraping of Web pages and they claimed that was "Web Services". I am not kidding), and same story now with cloud computing.

      But it is very sad though when the ante is upped not by another set of marketing people for commercial interests, but by a disinterested party who is

  • Hey! You can fly endlessly in my cloud!
  • Will occur the year after the year of the Linux desktop.
  • One could argue that move from time-sharing systems to PCs stifled innovation by constraining developers to 64-640k of memory and single-threaded applications running one at a time. Yet, lots of progress in using computers was made this way. Now we see a resurgence of modern time-sharing systems. While their administrators may impose restrictions, they enable many new options at the same time. For example, hosted apps make it easier for individual users to adopt Linux, since they are no longer tied to Windo

    • by Dutchmang (74300)

      Deja vu..... You'll recall that the Web was gonna kill the desktop, and client/server, but look around. Sure you'll see a TREND toward more Web/cloud stuff, but the use cases for the old stuff don't go away. Everyone's a top-down, absolutist on these things. If you think bottoms-up, based on customer use cases, you'll have mainframes, terminals, PCs, and client/server -- for good or for bad -- around forever.

      That and ego/politics; few Type A managers are gonna give their sensitive data over to someone th

  • No, I did not RTFA... but about Cloud Computing and all the conserns that come with it:

    First, let's define the Cloud. If you have your backups "In the Cloud", my understanding is that you have your data hosted by somebody other than you. You reach them over the internet. You're using the internet to access the services. Because you're receiving this service from an outside network, you're getting it from the "Cloud".

    Traditionally, you would be doing this yourself, within your own network. This is defiantly

    • Last I checked, Google Docs cannot be encrypted.

      Of course, I very well might be wrong.
      • by Pathway (2111)

        Less important: It appears that Google Docs does support SSL. See the Following: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=100181 [google.com]

        More important. If Google sold an appliance, much like the Google Search Appliance, that allowed you to run Google Docs from your own network... or anywhere on the internet, that's bringing the cloud to your business. I see things going that way.

        Google already does something like this with Google gears, but I haven't tried it yet.

        --Pathway

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