Thursday, April 22, 2010

What We Didn't Get: Small Pieces Loosely Joined

Eben Moglen: Freedom In the Cloud: Software Freedom, Privacy, and Security for Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing:

The human race has susceptibility to harm but (Facebook creator) Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record: he has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age.

Because he harnessed Friday night. That is, everybody needs to get laid and he turned it into a structure for degenerating the integrity of human personality and he has to a remarkable extent succeeded with a very poor deal. Namely, “I will give you free web hosting and some PHP doodads and you get spying for free all the time”. And it works.

That’s the sad part, it works.

How could that have happened?

There was no architectural reason, really. There was noarchitectural reason really. Facebook is the Web with “I keep all the logs, how do you feel about that?” It’s a terrarium for what it feels like to live in a panopticon built out of web parts.

And it shouldn’t be allowed. It comes to that. It shouldn’t be allowed. That’s a very poor way to deliver those services. They are grossly overpriced at “spying all the time”. They are not technically innovative. They depend upon an architecture subject to misuse and the business model that supports them is misuse. There isn’t any other business model for them. This is bad.

I’m not suggesting it should be illegal. It should be obsolete. We’re technologists, we should fix it.

I’m glad I’m with you so far. When I come to how we should fix it later I hope you will still be with me because then we could get it done.

A bit over the top, perhaps, but essential reading. Also, Moglen and Downes seem to be on the same page regarding the importance of personal, portable web servers.

1 comment:

tellio said...

I see 'transposing thin client/fat server' as a revolutionary idea and one that might get schools off the dime on social networking. Or maybe not. I have been agitating for better user policies in my postage stamp of Kentucky, but perhaps I should be pushing for fat servers in every school reaching out with its users to the net. Encrypted and protected and kept from the prying evility of the Zuckerbergs of the world.