Each time I see the FSFE picture, just like on Daniel’s last post to planet.d.o, where it says:
“There is NO CLOUD, just other people’s computers”
it makes me so frustrated. There’s such a thing as private cloud, setup on your own set of servers. I’ve been working on delivering OpenStack to Debian for the last 6 years and a half, motivated exactly to fix this issue: I refuse that the only cloud people could use would be a closed source solution like GCE, AWS or Azure. The FSFE (and the FSF) completely dismissing this work is more than annoying: it is counter productive. Not only the FSFE shouldn’t pull anyone away from the cloud, but it should push for the public to choose cloud providers using free software like OpenStack.
The openstack.org market place lists 23 public cloud providers using OpenStack, so there is now no excuse to use any other type of cloud: for sure, there’s one where you need it. If you use a free software solution like OpenStack, then the question if you’re running on your own hardware, on some rented hardware (on which you deployed OpenStack yourself), or on someone else’s OpenStack deployment is just a practical one, on which you can always back-up quickly. That’s one of the very reason why one should deploy on the cloud: so that it’s possible to redeploy quickly on another cloud provider, or even on your own private cloud. This gives you more freedom than you ever had, because it makes you not dependent anymore on the hosting company you’ve selected: switching provider is just the mater of launching a script. The reality is that neither the FSFE or RMS understand all of this. Please don’t dive into the FSFE very wrong message.
When people talk about "the cloud" with respect to computers, they're talking about machines you don't own, that are not at your home or business premises, that you don't physically control. Those are, indeed, other people's computers. If other people have physical access to the machines that hold your stuff, you're less secure as a result. I agree with RMS on this.
I do see the point, but "There is NO CLOUD, just other people’s computers" might be the only message that makes (non-tech) people think about what they're doing while using proprietary services like google drive, dropbox, mega, etc. There are open source private cloud solutions also available e.g. with nextcloud, owncloud, seafile, etc.
@Tomy Tani While both owncloud and nextcloud have the word "cloud" in their name, I don't think they have anything to do with cloud computing, a "shared pools of configurable system resources", as Wikipedia puts it.
@Tomy Tani While both owncloud and nextcloud have the word “cloud” in their name, I don’t think they have anything to do with cloud computing, “shared pools of configurable system resources”, as Wikipedia puts it.
@Thomas Fellinger But aren't cloud computing and federation two completely different things? A "cloud" is (for me and Wikipedia) a kind of hardware abstraction. Like a VM, but more flexible, because system resources are not bound to specific machines. Nextcloud and owncloud OTOH are file storage and sharing applications. Would a federated version be able to work like a "cloud"?
Indeed, cloud is a marketing term that means different things to different people, and that of course leads to confusing messages.
IMHO the "there is no cloud" campaign is right because it's targeting people for whom "cloud" tends to be in the direction of SaaS and putting yourself at the mercy of a 3rd party. Sadly this includes both non-technical end-users and policy-makers (public and private).
The author of that post is also right, but only if you take cloud to mean something in the direction of IaaS and other contexts where you do keep a significant amount of control (including the ability to easily migrate elsewhere), and I believe that this is a meaning that is mostly used by technical people (for whom the simplification in the FSFE campaign is not needed).