At this point, I couldn’t run my business without Gmail. Its increased my productivity tremendously….
Stallman was quoted as saying:
"The classic example of cloud computing might be Gmail, offered by Google."
Stallman says cloud computing forces people to hand over control of their information to a third party. His objections echo his longstanding belief in non-proprietary software. "One reason you should not use Web applications to do your computing is that you lose control," he said. "It’s just as bad as using a proprietary program.
Stallman dismisses cloud computing as industry bluster. "It’s stupidity. It’s worse than stupidity: it’s a marketing hype campaign," he said. "Somebody is saying this is inevitable–and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it’s very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true."
Now, we all know that Stallman is a great advocate of the GPL. I might suggest his views are…. towards one end of the spectrum, and he represents one camp of thought. Linus Torvalds for example argues a different viewpoint with respect to the GPL.
I don’t want to discuss the GPL here, but do we really think that software-as-service type applications are inherently bad?
- Google docs?
- Google checkout?
These applications are tremendously useful and bring technology to small businesses and individuals who would otherwise not have access to them. They could not afford the dollar and technological investment of using open source software to implement similar services.
I’d argue high quality remote web applications increase freedom by increasing access to those applications.
Was he making a subtle point that I missed, or is Stallman out of touch with todays web? What do you think?