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Author Topic: Overcoming the Cloud’s limits  (Read 6152 times)


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Overcoming the Cloud’s limits
« on: February 17, 2009, 03:04 AM »
Carol has been one of the clearest voices on the limits of cloud computing, so this paper caught my eye. It lays out how cloud computing can win if it overcomes the following ten obstacles (PDF), so say UC Berkeley researchers.
  • 1. Availability of service
  • 2. Data lock-in
  • 3. Data confidentiality and auditability
  • 4. Data transfer bottlenecks
  • 5. Performance unpredictability
  • 6. Scalable storage
  • 7. Bugs in large distributed systems
  • 8. Scaling quickly
  • 9. Reputation fate sharing
  • 10. Software licensing

The biggest obstacle is #2: data lock-in via proprietary formats. That's exactly why the more ODF we see, the more we will be free (to leave). Richard Stallman, warns us of the cloud's dark side: It’s stupidity. It’s worse than stupidity: it’s a marketing hype campaign. 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. (- The Guardian, 29 September 2008)


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Re: Overcoming the Cloud’s limits
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2009, 05:26 AM »
It doesn't matter how much ODF we see, it will not prevent all the data you have in the cloud from disappearing.

It will not prevent censorship, either.

How would ODF have helped those that lost their bookmarks when Magnolia had their disaster?

What about those that had their data deleted by AOL, when they decided to discontinue a ton of different services? Half of their users weren't even properly warned. Some people lost many gigs of photos, baby pictures, wedding pictures, etc,. that were delivered from the photo developers direct to their AOL Pictures account, over the course of almost 10 years. Would ODF have stopped that?

Would ODF prevent sites like facebook from deleting photos of a woman breastfeeding her child? Or Flickr from deleting public domain works, with claims of copyright infringement? Or Blogger deleting music related posts?

No matter how you look at it, placing your data in the cloud puts your data at risk. It's not even a good backup solution.

Zaine, you have repeatedly mentioned ODF as if it is some magical cure all for all the world's needs. It's not and it does not and can not address the most important issues facing people moving to the cloud.

No, I don't embrace Microsoft's latest MS-OOXML crap, but  don't embrace ODF, either.

And even as a document format, ODF still not 100% ideal. Try opening an ODF file in notepad, or your browser (not using some online service), or Wordpad. In terms of compatibility, it still can't beat the classics like plain text, RTF (a standard developed by that "M" company that you hate), and basic HTML.

The truth is that very few people have software on their PC by default, that can handle ODF files, while most OS's come with the capability of displaying the other 3 formats I mentioned, without the need to purchase, download, or install any additional software. (or find software in the cloud to do it)

And of those 3, the one most suited for the cloud, is HTML. If you are going to live in your browser, why not use what was intended for a browser?

After spending the better part of last year on an 11 year old computer, incapable of running a lot of the newer software, I started to gain a greater appreciation of the simple classics like plain text, RTF, and HTML. And based on my experiences, I will never send a document to anyone that isn't in one of those formats, if I have any control over it. (I think you are well aware of the woes I had with software & formats last year, as I did ask for your help locating a cloud based solution to read PDF files, that wouldn't kill my slow, low memory PC)


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Re: Overcoming the Cloud’s limits
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2009, 08:10 AM »
it still can't beat the classics like plain text, RTF (a standard developed by that "M" company that you hate),

"There are no honest sailors aboard this ship."

Microsoft originally developed and promoted Rich Text Format as an alternative to WordPerfect's proprietary format. Back then, Microsoft was arguing for "open" cross-platform file formats as part of a strategy to unseat the nigh ubiquitous WP as reigning king of wordprocessing. Once MS Word attained a dominant position, MS pushed RTF to the background and started promulgating the virtues of the DOC format.

Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. 8)