This may come shocking to you, but, yes, I indeed agree with Richard M. “FSF” Stallman. While I respect him quite a lot, similar to Bill Gates, I usually do not. But this time, there’s something which makes me, wholeheartedly:
At Chaostreff on Tuesday I learned that RMS protests against cloud computing (via OSnews). I actually had to learn this new term first, but after I did, I can only join the fun, despite so many voices against it. It’s really bad having few people control a lot of users, and everybody using it without a second thought¹². The Terms of Service³ on these “Web 2.0” thingies, as I called them for myself until now, are usually quite problematic as well. You should not trust everybody, even without being paranoid.
① Yeah, I know I’m still using Google’s search engine and Maps service. But that’s a voluntary choice, plus there is no (usable) alternative, so I’ve got no way around it due to my requirements. However, I do not have a Google account.
② Interestingly enough, Benny said on the phone that he agrees with me on this one, despite using a GMail account. Pardon, for my German readers (this wlog entry was drafted in Switzerland), that’s Google Mail, just to make this clear.
③ Ever tried to take back information, cancel an account, get rid of their spam, read through the EULA, get someone to change things which suck, get some knowledgeable support person, etc.?
Of course, RMS’ arguments are also all valid. While I do not like the “sort of communistic” licencing approach of the FSF, and how they use the GNU FDL to restrict people while claiming that really all information should be free (I wouldn’t want that either, but that’s mostly for personal reasons or privacy), I’m positive that we should think twice about the code we use and the data we give.
I still am amazed at why people use so many kludgy web browser applications in favour of local applications. We should probably improve the situation regarding local backups… BoxBackup has an interesting approach, encrypting them. And, gosh, someone wrote a cloud shell… using $favourite_name (SOAP, XML, XMLRPC, AJAX, insert whatever disgusting technology is used at the moment) instead of Unix IPC via Pipes to connect “applications”. Gah! *shudder*