The Cloud is to the free and open Internet as nuclear weapons are to solar power.

Slightly smaller, much shorter lived, about as powerful during the time it stays in operation, built by a group of military-industrial contractors, with highly secret internals, and used as a strategic weapon between nation-states... with the ability to just flick a switch and make things the American government doesn't like go away.

Although that last capability may have a slight problem of fallout.

@natecull Yea but those are all the consumer perspectives. To smart people, its just an app. Theres personal solutions they could just use email attachments its just an app, that does what you could do yourself like all the other apps. Just a file, pointer and process.

@Rich_Graham A centralised, oligarch-controlled network versus a decentralised, user-controlled network are architectures of infrastructure, not applications of that infrastructure as solutions to small temporary user-facing problems.

People who don't understand the economic and political implications of infrastructure may well think that infrastructure doesn't affect their lives.

But their not understanding how something affects their life doesn't magically make it not affect their lives.

@Rich_Graham What I'm saying is that the Internet is decentralised; the Cloud is extremely centralised.

The Cloud runs on top of the Internet, currently. But only as a matter of temporary convenience. It would prefer that there was no Net, only Cloud.

The motivating philosophy of the Cloud is much closer to that of the telcos and 'information services' of the 1980s than of the 1990s Internet and Web.

Where the Net sought openness and interoperability, the Cloud seeks lockdown and control.

@Rich_Graham Yes, people with access to non-Cloud applications can - currently - bypass the Cloud and use the raw Net and raw local storage and compute.

But those options are rapidly fading away on modern platforms.

Unless we have a big push for openness again, similar to what happened in 1998 (and was a VERY hard fight),... by default everyone's just going to drift back into the 1980s model of centralised corporate control.

@natecull But thats sort of the nature of client side services. And the solution is simply to write one you like. Surely poeople would choose a free solution if their only alternative is a paid one

@Rich_Graham << Surely poeople would choose a free solution if their only alternative is a paid one >>

That's what I thought would happen in 1998, and yet...

21 years later, we've had Open/LibreOffice for a long part of that time, and how many companies still use Microsoft Office instead - draconian subscription licencing now and all - because they just think there's no alternative?

I don't understand it, and yet here we are.

Just the mere existence of free alternatives doesn't seem enough.

@Rich_Graham Basically, I think network effects MASSIVELY override marginal cost/benefit thinking.

Companies are just too scared of using anything other than the 'industry standard', no matter what it costs them.

They're afraid they'll get cut out of the information ecosystem. And that fear is worth a lot of money to them.

@Rich_Graham Though, Adobe in particular are doing a lot of very customer-abusive things right now, including massively raising prices and moving to per-user licencing.

I could see this *maybe* triggering a customer rebellion.

But.... Photoshop has become the new film, really. I don't think anyone who takes pictures with a camera for money feels they have any choice than to use that product no matter how bad it becomes.

@natecull yet ive never tried it. And i dontknow gimp i just learn how every time, so its not that hard

@Rich_Graham I am the same.

And yet.

The mass of graphic design professionals just seem to keep using Photoshop, feeding the beast even as it consumes them.

@Rich_Graham The problem with network effects is that even if an individual wants to make a rational choice that would clearly benefit them.... it may not BE the rational choice to make the rational choice, if enough of the rest of the network keep making the irrational choice.

Networks can get locked into irrational choices for a long time, because if any individual defects from the majority choice (whether rational or irrational) they get punished by loss of access to critical resources.

@natecull well ive lived my whole life with that 'problem' Its the reason i dont pay and others pay. But that means your sort of talking about something above my pay grade. rich people with too much money are trying to arrange it so they either save money or get a better product. And if they pay someone to solve that problem the circle of life will be complete.

@natecull I mean the thingthey supposedly want, interoperabilit that they get from a centralized service is only something very big companies actually need. The rest just need one cloud and one client app. But eventually the problem will be solved with a system simmillar to mastadon thats lets them interact


<< I mean the thingthey supposedly want, interoperabilit that they get from a centralized service is only something very big companies actually need. >>

<< The rest just need one cloud and one client app. >>

Those two things are the same thing though.

One Cloud, One App <-> A Centralized Service That Gives You Interoperability.

Everyone using one app is terrible for the economy and safety. But it means you can at least continue to trade as a business (until Amazon kill you).

@Rich_Graham The existential danger of the Cloud as I see it is that eventually there WILL BE only one app run by one company owned by one trillionaire.

And the rest of the economy not owned by that one company will be a smoking cinder.

Before that point entirely happens there will probably be riots and civic unrest... at which point all that surveillance measures in the few Cloud apps that remain will come into full force.

@natecull But thats sounds like the same problem with everything else. And the desire to write more clients and servers that bypass costs and take money away from that one trilionair, who is provbably google, is what drives the whole software industry

@natecull Are you talking about a federated cloud? Because i believe that shoudl evolve but not until people settle o a protocal.

@Rich_Graham I'm talking about the Cloud as it exists today

which is, essentially, Jeff Bezos' Personal Warehouse Of Computers Wired To The CIA

plus a couple of also-ran would-be competitors (IBM and Microsoft) who don't count and will soon be history.

@Rich_Graham if we're *extremely* lucky, the number of private trillionaires owning all the computing power in the Western world will be *no fewer* than three.

It might not be more than three though.

@natecull The only cloud ive seen is the one google gives me for free. google drive and google photos

@Rich_Graham ...

Oh. You're not aware of Amazon Web Services then?

Doesn't matter. Amazon Web Services is aware of you.

Everything which is not Google and Facebook (or in China), pretty much runs on AWS.

That includes the Top Secret part of the US Government, and has for a few years. Maybe with the exception of the NSA, who I think still have their own cloud.

@natecull while google gives away their services for free, and offers paid upgrades which the casual user never really needs. So as long as there is one big service like amazon there will be opportunities for smaller companies to get the cheaper market. So right now we have two niches, low cost, which google dominates and i guess whatever makes amazon popular

@natecull The only way people are really going to get privacy is is they do it on their own hardware. SOmeday that will become a third niche that people will pay pay for

@Rich_Graham @natecull it’s a fun fantasy but it’s not the direction the world is moving in, and the push to go the opposite way isn’t nearly strong enough

@Rich_Graham @natecull no deal brexit will surely change this, as it will be a stunning demonstration of how much depends on international legal boundaries being open, where venuezela and greece was just a tiny preview

@Rich_Graham @natecull the upshot is that when aws goes down, around 40%-70% of the web and apps stop working

@zensaiyuki @natecull see this sounds like the same situation we faced with irc. Until suddenly there were a million irc servers. This sounds like the way things have always worked.

@Rich_Graham @natecull you’re comparing a bucket to an ocean there. irc is miniscule compared to facebook, even at its peak.

Show more

@Rich_Graham @natecull only if it can compete on usability- which mastodon cannot. not quite yet. as much as people pay lipservice to “freedom of choice”, most people hate it, in the sense that the numbers would tell a cold detached story of people abandoning the sign up process as soon as it asks them to “choose a server”

@Rich_Graham @natecull this is a little bit hard to see from the perspective of even a slightly technical person, but you won’t get the general populace to “choose a server” even if you make choosing a server easy. and maybe that’s actually a good thing for mastodon. just not for getting everyone to abandon the cloud.

Ok so this is a solution for people who pay for software anyway. A solution that people who dont pay for software can do themselves. It still looks to me like a perfect opportunity for ind programers to write it just like they wrote everything else in open source. And companies like iba would rather pay? Id rather spend, so that sort of works out

@natecull @Rich_Graham that’s because businesses don’t like risk, and there’s switch risk, and compatibility risk, and no service/support/warranty contract risk. and risk that it looks like it’s run by flakey hippies who don’t understand the needs of business.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!