Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder
October 7th, 2008 by ravi

Via the Guardian, Richard Stallman’s take on Cloud Computing:

Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder |

“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. Do your own computing on your own computer with your copy of a freedom-respecting program. If you use a proprietary program or somebody else’s web server, you’re defenceless. You’re putty in the hands of whoever developed that software.”

[ Link ]

3 Responses  
  • Tom Reingold writes:

    His argument, as he makes it, applies to commercial software equally. So write your own word processor, your own spreadsheet, your own disk drive device driver, your own communications stack. If you don’t, you’re out of control. And if you can’t write these, don’t use a computer.

    I guess I shouldn’t drive, because I can’t build a car with my own hands. I certainly can’t mine the ore by myself.

  • ravi writes:

    Tom, I think RMS would agree that the criticism of cloud computing is similar to his criticism of commercial software (hence his earlier criticism of it). But I do think cloud computing takes it one level farther… commercial software keeps your data on your disk in a somewhat unreadable format. Cloud apps hold your data on their servers.

    RMS would respond to your critique (“build yor car”) thus (I think): I do not suggest that you have to be able to do it by yourself. Rather, you should be able to have access to your data. For example, if I save a novel as a file on my hard disk, using a word processor, that word processor should not hold my novel hostage. This is less likely with Free Software since it is available to all to use and modify.

    RMS offers different and additional arguments regarding why software should be free etc, but I think that’s not that relevant to this thread.

    Thanks for the comment, Tom!

  • Simon writes:

    Is he aware that the Windows Vista agreement states that they can obliviate your rights for using the OS at any given moment? How is that “a freedom-respecting program”?

    Instead of sending an e-mail: Welcome to MakeUseOf, Ravi ^^

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