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Has the WebOS Finally Arrived?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the alien-craft-constructed-entirely-of-buzzwords dept.

The Internet 227

SphereOfInfluence writes "Dion Hinchcliffe over on ZDNet declared in a new post that the Web OS has finally arrived and that businesses and IT departments must adjust to the fact that everything's starting to move to the cloud. He cites John Hagel's so-called big business shifts of the 21st century and claims cloud computing, crowdsourcing, open APIs, Software-as-a-Service are the future of the workplace. He goes on to present a compelling visual model of the Web OS circa 2009 and examples to back up some of the statements."

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227 comments

Wait a minute. (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333315)

Weren't we supposed to be all using thin clients right now in our flying cars, sucking the fat electrons straight from the coax at gigabit speeds by now? Now comes the latest proclaimation: We're going Carebears mode. Everyone into the clouds! Tenderheart's not going to be happy about this. I sense a big carebear stare coming for the Cloud-Mongers.

Re:Wait a minute. (2, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333441)

Completely right, except for the Carebear jokes.
It's just another person predicting a paradigm shift that just won't happen due to inertia and unperceived limitations.

By the way, ewww.... Carebears.... I think I have to go take another shower, and check my glucose levels... ick....

Re:Wait a minute. (4, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333517)

Get Your Neuromancer On!

Maximum dystopian computing panopticon nightmare event horizon now imminent.

Please do nothing. We already know who you are and what you are doing. Should your innocence be established, the department will notify your surviving beneficiaries.

Re:Wait a minute. (1)

Samgilljoy (1147203) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334389)

Maximum dystopian computing panopticon nightmare event horizon now imminent.

nicely articulated

Can you go over to CafePress and turn that into a bumper sticker or a coffee mug or something? I would totally spread the word.

Re:Wait a minute. (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333689)

It's just another person predicting a paradigm shift that just won't happen due to inertia and unperceived limitations.

We just need to use a mashup of service enabled architectures to provide a seamlessly semantic experience.

If that doesn't work, then depolarize the bogotronic flux.

Reverse the Polarity (3, Funny)

furbearntrout (1036146) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333935)

If that doesn't work try running it through the main deflector array.

Re:Reverse the Polarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334317)

And if THAT doesn't work, it's gotta be the bio-neural gel-packs.
Tagline for the show: ST (VOY): It's the gel-packs.

Re:Wait a minute. (4, Funny)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333715)

..and it will all be linux on the desktop and will come with a free copy of Duke Nukem forever.

Re:Wait a minute. (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334403)

....don't forget fusion powered! The energy of the FUTURE! (and always will be)

Re:Wait a minute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333721)

Yes, but in the meantime we can have OS X and the Jesus Phone!

Re:Wait a minute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334231)

You take your OSeX and Iphail. But GTFO my lawn.

Re:Wait a minute. (-1, Troll)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334039)

Why haven't you killed yourself yet?

You make the most vapid, useless, moronic, pandering posts, seriously whore, no one will miss you.

Your vagina, maybe, but the rest of you, no fucking way.

Re:Wait a minute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334249)

"she" is a pre-op tranny. No vagina.

Meanwhile (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333323)

Linux users are still losers.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333629)

Yeah, 99% of all malware simply won't run on Linux. :-)

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334003)

Not just malware, but 99% of all software won't run on Linux. You have a nice selection of text editors though. Kudos.

Re:Meanwhile (2, Funny)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334131)

Hey now, my copy of Unreal Tournament 2k4 runs AWESOME on Ubuntu! If it were not for the fact that Stalker (SOC and CS...but could we hope for a Linux-release of Call of Pripyat?...not likely) won't run on Linux, I would never use a Windows variant again.

-Oz

Jeez (2)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333325)

Some like 80% of posts here are gossipy bullshit nowadays. How am I supposed to get distracted enough so that I can get back to work?

Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (4, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333359)

There is a phrase about IT

"We don't understand the hardware, we don't understand the software... but we can SEE the flashing lights"

This has led to a whole load of crap IT dedicated to neither hard-core hardware or to hard-core software, its the land of the PHB and its the land of the powerpoint. What surprises me about clouds however is that its often the hard-core folks who are scared of the cloud, they bitch about security and latency but really its because they fear it will make them less important.

It doesn't.

What clouds do is hugely commoditise infrastructure and (in the case of SaaS) those massive package implementations that customise to death a package that would have worked much better without all that consultancy "help".

The people who should fear clouds are the ones who lived off customising packages that didn't need it and who revel in a world of powerpoints and meetings because what SaaS and clouds do is shift the buying of crap boring IT into the hands of the business and then leave the business with the real questions of how to deliver the stuff that actually matters... the hard-core software and genuinely high performing infrastructure.

So don't think of clouds and SaaS as a threat... think of them as kicking the PHB and his expensive package customising consultants in the nuts.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333493)

The "people who should fear clouds" are the people whose network connection is not 100% (and I don't mean 99.999999999999%) reliable.

And let's not forget that all your data is now in the hands of somebody else, who is almost certainly subject to the USAPATRIOT Act.

USAPATRIOT Act? Who sez I'm Ameriken? (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333643)

And let's not forget that all your data is now in the hands of somebody else, who is almost certainly subject to laws in their country that give the local government unfettered access to all your company jewels.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:USAPATRIOT Act? Who sez I'm Ameriken? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334265)

Unless you run a Mac. Then Steve Jobs has unfettered access to your family jewels.

Re:USAPATRIOT Act? Who sez I'm Ameriken? (1)

Thad Zurich (1376269) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334279)

Oh it's even better: If any piece of the cloud is in one country, that country will try to apply its laws to the entire cloud. If a piece of the cloud isn't in that country, they'll apply their intelligence agencies instead.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333667)

And also the tiny little fact that we already have fast and responsive user interfaces locally. I say kill this thing with fire.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334355)

Our entire business grinds to a halt if our electricity or internet connection goes down (happens about once per 18 months in the former, and maybe once per year for the latter, usually by about an hour or two). Literally, we go down the pub/play tiddly winks/whatever. About the only thing we can do is take customer calls - not that we can do much for them.

Using remote hardware isn't going to make us *more* than 100% reliant on our Internet connection.

The data issue is the deal-breaker for us, which is a shame, because being able to setup shop in another office in an emergency really easily and not having to fuck about with server hardware maintenance would be a real load off my mind.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334359)

A certain canadian Pharmacy chain has 2 unix servers at each store and a smart router that can automatically switch between Satellite uplink, two DSL modems, and two dialup modems. The reason for this... their POS controller server stops working if it can't reach the DNS server at head office to resolve the till names. I'm not sure how the 4 hour restore contracts on their satellite uplink, DSL, and dialup (all different providers) are cheaper than running tertiary DNS servers on their "ISP" and "POSC" (their names for their servers).

Companies like that should fear the cloud. And other companies should learn from their mistake.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (5, Insightful)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333519)

The people who should fear clouds ...

The people who should fear clouds are the people who want their data in their own hands, and don't trust third parties to handle it for then. It's that easy, and it's what will make SaaS fail.
We write SaaS, and almost all our customers ask us where we store the data, and if it we don't guarantee them it is in the country they are from they back off. And we write software for small firms only. Bigger clients want the software and the data stored in their own datacenter. They will not trust the "cloud" for that (and I wouldn't either). Not in the near future at least.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (5, Insightful)

Youngbull (1569599) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333851)

The people who should fear clouds ...

The people who should fear clouds are the people who want their data in their own hands, and don't trust third parties to handle it for then. It's that easy, and it's what will make SaaS fail. We write SaaS, and almost all our customers ask us where we store the data, and if it we don't guarantee them it is in the country they are from they back off. And we write software for small firms only. Bigger clients want the software and the data stored in their own datacenter. They will not trust the "cloud" for that (and I wouldn't either). Not in the near future at least.

I agree, and to be quite honest I think that cloud computing for private people will make some fiz and then leave quietly, too many people are one of three categories: "dont get it", "don't want it" and "don't care too much to get it".

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (1)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334005)

I am glad to see that not everyone is jumping on this bandwagon. The Cloud represents problems especially where some countries and or companies have strong data protection laws. This is where the big wigs seem to fail with their cloud vision. While the idea is not all bad it is not all good either, to many issues.

What about the ISP's ? They already complain about p2p clogging up networks for e.g, well its going to be a lot of fun when everyone is on the cloud and people are pulling and pushing their BIG files all over the place. What about net throughput , can their networks handle the load if this does get big ? Do they have the network Infrastructure to support it ?

imo I feel this is just another internet marketing fad .com, web2.0, now cloud, it will die down, until something new comes along.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (4, Informative)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334199)

The Cloud represents problems especially where some countries and or companies have strong data protection laws.

It doesn't actually. I can and do get my computation and storage (from Amazon as it happens) located in countries where such laws hold quite easily enough (I pay a small premium - about 10% last time I looked - but I don't mind) and I know that there are other companies that resell this (with the location guarantee) as higher-level services. Now, if your prospective provider won't offer you the same level of service, I suggest you don't use them. Maybe you should also tell them why you're not going to trade with them; it might encourage them to take your concerns seriously if they know why they're not getting your trade.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (1)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334285)

Actually it does , if I sign a contract with a client that certain exchange of data is not allowed to be seen by a third party , or the transfer thereof then it does raise a problem .

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (1)

thaig (415462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334065)

Company IT is often handled by an IT department that tries to offer a "service" to the rest of the company. Some of them are not all that good and a bigger provider could do it better. You can get more availability and storage and much faster searching out of a gmail address than out of a corporate email account.

I think a business could give up on providing email and concentrate on doing other more specific things better. Since it's another department, with consultants and other people in it, I see no huge reason to trust them with my email any more than anyone else - there's nothing stopping them from leaking critical information. Hell, I have known such departments to install trojans by mistake within updates.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333683)

This has led to a whole load of crap IT dedicated to neither hard-core hardware or to hard-core software...

Ah, I'm pretty sure most IT work is a balance of the two. One does not function without the other.

What surprises me about clouds however is that its often the hard-core folks who are scared of the cloud, they bitch about security and latency but really its because they fear it will make them less important.

I think what they really fear is a loss of control. They're turning their business over to the mercy of the cloud provider, and should it go down, the entire business may go with it. Not only that, but cloud computing is still relatively new and immature as a technology. We can't truly understand all the performance and security implications yet, nor make intelligent choices about architecture, because there's not enough experience with it yet to have confidence in it.

What clouds do is hugely commoditise infrastructure and (in the case of SaaS) those massive package implementations that customise to death a package that would have worked much better without all that consultancy "help".

Consultants are another problem entirely. Cloud computing isn't going to solve it. Hell, I'm not even sure nuking from orbit would eliminate it. Consultancy was brought on because managers wanted to save a buck by only having "expertise on demand". Well, they got it. The problem is, by moving these positions from salary to a to-hire proposition, they've created a market dynamic where up-selling is how freelancers survive. Consultants don't give two shits about the "right" solution because the "right" solution is the most expensive one they can get a signature on. The lack of trust in their permanent employees has ironically led to them being bled dry by people who don't give a shit about the company... They're only there to install or maintain a thing now, in and out in a day.

The people who should fear clouds are the ones who lived off customising packages...

Are you kidding? It's a cash cow! Think of all the money to be made in converting everything to be "cloud compatible"! Think of all the different cloud providers and architectures, each with their own requirements -- and as they fail or are absorbed by other providers, things will have to be reworked again. We don't need to wait for advances in hardware or new software to come out now before we charge an arm and a leg for an upgrade -- the market itself will now churn out reasons and the businesses that subscribe to it will all be locked in. They'll have to spend the money! Where's Microsoft? I'm sure right now they're patenting the hell out of this stuff to ensure that for decades to come, new markets filled with monopolization potential will come to fruition. Cloud Computing: Too Big To Fail. And this, this is the really awesome part: Odds are looking good all your customer data, your databases, the digital lifeblood of your business, will be subject to EULAs that say "We can (in our sole discretion) modify this agreement at any time without written notice to you." Oh god, I think I just creamed myself thinking about how much I can get paid now as an indispensible "cloud consultant".

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333863)

They're turning their business over to the mercy of the cloud provider, and should it go down, the entire business may go with it.

Don't forget massive asymmetry problems. At a past job I helped "support" outsourced email for small businesses. Basically, the same thing as gmail but more expensive, yet not expensive enough to drive them away to gmail, in retrospect a fairly pointless line of business.

In one memorable unhappy situation, a customers email access from China, in a very email centric line of business, was worth "thousands of dollars per day of revenue" to them, and it was down, and they were very unhappy. They were worth "approx fifty cents per day of revenue" to us. Guess what happened due to that massive asymmetry? I think they eventually went out of business.

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (4, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334251)

Consultants don't give two shits about the "right" solution because the "right" solution is the most expensive one they can get a signature on. The lack of trust in their permanent employees has ironically led to them being bled dry by people who don't give a shit about the company... They're only there to install or maintain a thing now, in and out in a day.

Personally, I spent years trying to be a consultant who implemented the "right" solutions, all the while telling everyone who would listen that I could do a better job and would be better off making half as much money as a permanent employee with budgetary control. It got me absolutely nowhere.

Businesses don't want the "right" solutions. They don't want more stable and longer-lasting hardware and software if it comes with fewer bells and whistles. They don't want to pay for security. Their accountants won't cede an inch of control over purchasing decisions. And they fall for even the most obvious marketing bullshit. Most businesses will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to automate IT instead of letting IT save them hundreds of thousands of dollars by automating the rest of their business.

I have had people with literally zero IT knowledge tell me that they want to do everything by themselves, and then ask me how to do it. If you were a consultant, what would your response to this be?

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (4, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333691)

In 1953 when IBM introduced the first computer, who made it work? Ah yes a team of programmers who customized...

When UNIX was first introduced who made things work for your business? Customizations...

When...

Want to see the future? Look at IBM... They have been around over a hundred years, while all of the other companies have disappeared. Look at the latest balance sheets of IBM, cash rich cow! IBM is a "serious playa". And what do they make their money off? Services and customization.

My point is that IBM is a company that adapts to the times. They build what the client wants. And the clients wants customizations. Sure IBM is on the cloud computing bandwagon, no reason for them to not be. After all more customization money for them. After all, who would not want a "private cloud", which is sort of contradictory, no?

The real money will be in the ones who know how to customize the cloud... Oh wait IBM, yes?

Re:Flashing lights and the death of crap IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333777)

I look at clouds as another form of job security. Nothing is perfect, and as time goes on, there will be problems cropping up.

Cloud storage and security for instance: The issue of not just encrypting data before it hits the cloud, but having a robust enterprise level key management system to get the encrypted data back in case of a disaster (the hit by a bus scenario for employees comes to mind.) This functionality could be built into an API like RedHat's Deltacloud, or built into applications.

This isn't to say that there are any problems with cloud storage security as of now, but with so many eggs in one basket, cloud storage farms are an attractive target for blackhats. Even if the cloud server is not able to be comrpomised, a disgruntled employee could make off with a company's credentials to access the info stored on a remote server.

Saas = Software as a SUBSCRIPTION (3, Informative)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333999)

Do I need to repeat the rest of the explanation? We've been having this tug-of-war over software subscriptions for almost 15 years now. Call it "the cloud" or any of the other rebranding attempts from the past, but it's all had the same goal: making you pay more for the software you use.

What we should fear is no longer having any control at all over the software we use AND having to pay every month/day/hour/minute for the privilege of being able to use it.

BTW, did anyone who modded parent up happen to notice the URL and content of his shared homepage? He's hardly an impartial observer in this matter: he has a specific vested interest in promoting this "SaaS". SaaS very much a threat... to anyone not producing or selling it. The people promoting it aim to tip the economic balance even farther in their favor. Sure, supposedly we all have that goal in common, but some people are greedier than others. It's large corporations that will benefit from "SaaS", not the little guy.

Re:Saas = Software as a SUBSCRIPTION (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334293)

The thing is, most commercial software already might as well be SaaS, since the minute the vendor stops issuing security updates, you had better disconnect that software from your network or stop using it entirely.

Recognizing this fact and formalizing this arrangement should actually be beneficial for both software developers and users. It's also extremely beneficial for OSS, imho.

slow news day? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333367)

what ever happened to articles about tech that actually existed instead of what might happen in the next 3-4 years?

Re:slow news day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333459)

You mean about cold fusion, fearless mice and glowing pigs? We definitely need more of these!

Re:slow news day? (2, Informative)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333845)

That'd require actual work, and nobody wants that.

Head out. (4, Insightful)

captnbmoore (911895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333369)

Someone needs to get their head out there ass before putting it in the clouds.

Backend mining (5, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333399)

When I read these Cloud Computing articles, I have these thoughts of writing a program that mines the data of all those companies that put their financials and other documents up there. Then use that data for: insider trading, marketing things to them, competitive advantages, and a bunch of thing that can be gained with confidential and insider information.

I think I'm a frustrated crook or security consultant.

Re:Backend mining (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333559)

I think I'm a frustrated crook or security consultant.

No, you're just fat lazy virgin slashdot poster.

Re:Backend mining (4, Funny)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333921)

I think I'm a frustrated crook or security consultant.

No, you're just fat lazy virgin slashdot poster.

No, they've posted before, click their username.

Re:Backend mining (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333737)

I think I'm a frustrated crook or security consultant.

Or a potential new hire at Goldman Sachs.

Re:Backend mining (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333865)

Well, if you're good, you will also get *them* busted for the same insider trading, that you'll make money off. Kinda like a honeypot. ;)

I wouldn't wonder, if there are a plan and at least a big company behind all this "articles" and if the point is to get us used to it. Kinda like people here got used to calling file sharers "pirates" because they bought into the **AA world.

Re:Backend mining (3, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333911)

If you encrypt it, data mining isnt a concern.

Re:Backend mining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334333)

Until we reach 2011, and even the shittiest home PCs will have 256 or more CPU cores, and upwards of 32 GB of RAM.

Of course, most people will still be running Windows, and thus will likely be part of a botnet. Basically a "cloud computing" setup, but controlled by far more nefarious characters than Amazon or Google.

Soon the data you claim is "safely encrypted" will be decrypted and the data mining you speak of will be a frequent occurrence.

Re:Backend mining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333989)

If it is based on financial statements that have been publicly released on websites/EDGAR etc, by definition it is not insider trading. Insider trading is about abusing your access to secret information or draft financial results and using that to trade unfairly against people who don't have that access. If the document is available to everyone and could have been read, it is irrelevant if the people you are trading with are too lazy to do so.

There already are tons of algorithmic trading bots out there doing exactly what you propose, and they have been for years. There are also bots scanning news sites for mentions of companies and trying to understand whether it is a positive/negative story and then assuming that the stock will go up/down etc.

I think you are a frustrated investment bank developer...

Re:Backend mining (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334163)

Then use that data for: insider trading, marketing things to them, competitive advantages, and a bunch of thing that can be gained with confidential and insider information.

Don't forget intentionally uploading fake information, hoping it will be leaked.

Did you know our future acquisition target is going bankrupt and their shares can't be worth $1 each? And our lab tests show our main competitors primary profit generating product causes cancer in cute fuzzy bunnies?

Its entertaining enough between cutthroat "commodity" competitors. Imagine the fun "market leaders" could have at their copycats loss by uploading the "iLoo" plumbing installation diagram.

huh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333419)

somebody has been smoking too much weed.

ZzzS are the slippery slope for webBS adoption (4, Funny)

xigxag (167441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333423)

Assimilating all of that Web 3.0 content led me to strategically develop a fully horizontal organizational orientation. I immediately shifted paradigms and commenced "cloud computing" for about 15 minutes, dynamically visualizing an innovative brave new world.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I feel a rapid fluctuation in my supply chain.

Some issues with "the cloud" (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333449)

Beware the perils of outsourcing.

If you are using a 3rd party to host corporate data, make sure:

* it meets all legal and regulatory requirements you must meet, guarenteed
* it has performance and uptime you need, guaranteed
* it is responsible for break-ins that are beyond your reasonable control, even if they are beyond its reasonable control. If you can't get a guarantee, pick another vendor or buy an insurance policy to cover you from lawsuits if customer data is compromised
* you can keep backup copies of corporate data in a meaningful format, in case the vendor goes belly up. "In a meaningful format" typically means a published format, but it could be a proprietary format which is shared by many vendors. Open format is many times better than proprietary.

Depending on your needs and size, it may literally be cheaper to pay an outside vendor to "clone" their infrastructure at your shop and train your IT dept. how to use it, so you can keep everything under your control. If, for example, regulatory rules prevent you from shipping your data to Google, you could hire them to build a mini Google server farm inside your firewall and have it index your data and offer "yourbrandhere-Google-powered" web-based "office" applications.

Another option is to use in-house or, if you prefer, outsourced virtual servers which you control access to.

Finally, there's the default option of "keep doing it they way you are doing it now." That option should never be off the table until a better option presents itself.

Re:Some issues with "the cloud" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333861)

My concern with any outsourcing is that the company hiring the outsourcers have a contract that protects your data with severe civil liabilities for the outsourcing provider if there is compromise. These can be fines that are agreed on which not just cover the cost of paying for customers ID theft protection, but compensation for sullying of a good name.

Even with the most bulletproof contract, a firm is not safe. If a cloud storage provider gets bought up, or gets liquidated and assets sold off to another firm, that new firm may have the ability to use the stored data in any matter they choose. Someone ahs stored a critical trade secret for refining oil which gets a significant more usable yield? It is shared with the new owner of the defunct cloud provider and not protected by trade secret laws because the client company explicitly chose to store the info with them. Your critical customer lists? Off to be sold to the highest bidder. Customer private E-mail addresses? Some phishing organization in Elbonia wouldn't mind a copy for 50,000. And there is not one single thing the client company could do about it. The data was authorized to be present, so computer "trespass" laws do not apply.

I can see a dedicated niche industry forming that does one thing with cloud based storage -- providing an encryption layer on the application or the API level. This can be something as simple as using one AES key and a simple AES encrypt filter, piping the output to the cloud API. Or it can have multiple hierarchies of keys and certificates to allow recovery in case of disaster or people

Diskless workstations at last? (5, Insightful)

PingXao (153057) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333465)

I have been working for over 20 years with various people who proclaim the dawn of the Era Of The Diskless Workstation is upon us. Cloud computing seems to be another instance of this class. I predict it's going to NOT be the "next big thing". The next big bubble of bullshit is more like it.

diskless != cloud Not quite the same (2, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333563)

"Diskless workstation" typically is either a "lots-o-ram/no disk/bootstraps over LAN" system or a "glass tty" or "smart glass tty" system. The difference being on a smart system significant local computation related to the application at hand occurs beyond just i/o.

The interface to the cloud, the web browser, is a "smart glass tty" system. However, it typically lives side-by-side with other things like local applications, local or at least non-cloud printers and other i/o devices, and other "smart glass ttys" i.e. web browsers and "less smart" ttys such as Windows Remote Terminal Services Client, ssh, telnet, etc.

One reasonable prediction is that businesses will continue to commoditize their employee's workstations, and give them access to resources either on their local LAN or in an external cloud based on their job function. The idea is if their computer hardware or base operating system breaks, you can just drop-replace it with a spare and have them back up and running very quickly. For many companies, this day is already here for most of their employees.

Re:diskless != cloud Not quite the same (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334405)

The problem is, that when an application goes down.. it goes down for all.. In the old scenario, if my machine dies, or an application gets corrupted somehow., my neighbor still is functional.. In the new scenario, if the latest update of the application has some bug that is crashing.. everyone is equally screwed in using it.. It's a choice between fixing individuals problems, or global panic.

Re:Diskless workstations at last? (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333565)

Well, I hardly use the cd-rom drive these days. The flash drive gets used more often, but still, most of the time, its just the hard disk & the net.

Re:Diskless workstations at last? (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333641)

As long as you can build servers for around $300 and colo them very cheaply, there will never be much traction on cloud computing... Also, no level of people talking about "the support costs" is going to change the fact that a good secured OS (Headless Linux boxes especially) require nearly no level of support.

"no level of support" (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333703)

Also, no level of people talking about "the support costs" is going to change the fact that a good secured OS (Headless Linux boxes especially) require nearly no level of support.

This may be true for hardware support, but it ignores the costs of software maintenance. Even good secured OSes need patching. Yes, you can have these on semi-automatic, or if you are daring, automatic, but someone has to be there to pick up the pieces if things go south.

If the guy picking up pieces is on your payroll and on salary, then yes, your company may be able to declare it comes "at no cost" but that's just playing games with numbers. Every hour he's picking up after a problem is one hour he's not doing something else.

Re:Diskless workstations at last? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334097)

The days of sticking a computer on the Net like the old Netware 3.1.1 servers of yore, and just letting it sit there for years on end are long since over. Even with automatic updates, there needs to be a number of things done, admin wise. In a serious production environment, you never just let stuff automatically update and walk away. There is a chance, though small, that a simple update may completely break the machine.

Another reason you don't want to leave the box completely unattended is because you need to have a backup mechanism that can do both incremental backups, as well as have a complete bare metal restore image waiting in case the worst happens. With AIX, you use Sysback. OS XS, you probably can get away with Time Machine Server. Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 have very usable utilities for both making backup images, as well as doing incrementals.

Security is by no means fire and forget either. Colo servers are often not behind a hardware firewall. This means one can't just lock everything down initially, but have to also watch the security lists to see if any relevant packages have been compromised, and what the workaround is until updates appear. User passwords are oftentimes easily guessed or found out, so for a remote server, it would be highly advisible to use some sort of smart card access or a OTP system (S/Key or OPIE on BSDs).

Don't forget physical security. It is still relatively rare, but not unhead of for colo centers to be broken into or held up at gunpoint and thieves yank stuff off ranks. You don't want your secure server's data ending up being sold on the black market. On Windows, you can get hardware with a TPM and BitLocker which transparently protects the system drive [1]. On other operating systems, you can virtualize your core server, and have the hypervisor OS mainly be present so you can remotely log in, mount the encrypted volumes, and then fire up the VMs.

[1]: Make sure to save off the recovery key info to a safe and secure place, so if someone does tamper with the machine, you can still recover the contents.

Re:Diskless workstations at last? (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333753)

I think you've nailed it. I have yet to run into a single person who could answer the question "What is the definition of the cloud?" without me being able to unravel their answer with the phrase "Yes, but we've been doing that since the internet started." It's just a fancy buzzword for people with nothing of substance to say.

Re:Diskless workstations at last? (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334295)

I think you've nailed it. I have yet to run into a single person who could answer the question "What is the definition of the cloud?" without me being able to unravel their answer with the phrase "Yes, but we've been doing that since the internet started." It's just a fancy buzzword for people with nothing of substance to say.

Well, base level clouds are "colo plus virtualization" really. There are higher-level clouds too, where it's not the base system that's being resold, but rather types of application based on top. There's not a huge difference at the technical level from what went before, that's true, but at the level of administration and payment there's lots of differences, and that makes quite a lot of difference in practice. (It's non-linear, just like there's not much difference between the internet and things that were happening before on bulletin boards, except for what happens when you scale things up a lot.)

Clouds have traction because they let companies avoid building their own datacenters (which is otherwise expensive, and doubly so if you don't do the job well). If you don't need at least a rack's worth of computing and storage, you're not part of the core market for a Cloud. And one of the nicest things about them is really that charging is fine-grained; why buy a whole year of colo (or even a whole month) when you only need a few hours?

Re:Diskless workstations at last? (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334369)

I'll tell you exactly what the cloud is. The cloud is a place to put all of your companies most valuable assets, your IP, where none of your employees have direct control over it. It's an anonymous box in an underground bunker somewhere guarded by men with machine guns. The cloud means that when it's time to declare bankruptcy, strap on your golden parachute, fire all of your employees, and sell that IP to the highest bidder, all it takes is a flip of the switch.

From the point of view of the employee, the cloud is a pointless waste of money. But from the point of view of the executives and shareholders, the cloud is immensely valuable.

Re:Diskless workstations at last? (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334269)

Thank you. I remember the era of the diskless workstation. Of course, we called them "dumb terminals" back then. There was a lot to recommend them if you were responsible for managing the system. If you were an end-user, not so much. Naturally, the people who proclaim a renaissance of the old mainframe timesharing system -- under whatever name they're calling it this week -- are people responsible for managing systems. The people selling systems love it too, mainly because it combines the benefits of artificial scarcity and being able to charge users at regular intervals for access alone.

Of course, the reason the personal computer became popular is because centralized control is expensive, unreliable, and inflexible from the user's point of view. Don't expect a whole bunch of users to suddenly flock back to a model that holds no real advantage for them.

That's just the consumer class, though. I see a bright future for cloud computing in the corporate world, where the twin engines of management fads and development fads have a proven track record of turning superficial changes into significant wastes of money.

Re:Diskless workstations at last? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334413)

The problem with diskless workstations is, that nobody ever asks "why". I mean I can only see advantages in having a local disk, and only disadvantages in not having one. But this does not seem to disturb any of those that think they want it. (I wonder if they actually want it, or just bought into some alchemist's reality.)

Cloud ftw (2, Informative)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333471)

Just don't call it a Web OS because it's not an OS, it's just a desktop or window manager. Xenon [kevinghadyani.com] is a fine (in-development) example of this which explains the concepts.

The cloud does not interact with the computer, it needs a layer such as the browser, networking stack, and kernel. So, "web desktop" would seem to be correct.

techno-buzzword salad (4, Informative)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333481)

That article was an example of techno-buzzword mental masturbation.

Re:techno-buzzword salad (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333741)

And it is written by somebody who is really good at this...

http://edgeperspectives.typepad.com/about.html [typepad.com]

This guy "influenced" the author.

Look at his CV. I doubt this man has done anything BUT do some Strategyery (as GWB would say).

Re:techno-buzzword salad (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333759)

"Chief Strategy Officer" - Means he does not actually do anything, but sure does talk allot of crap that he has no clue about or how to implement...

Can you say "idiotsourcing"?? (2, Insightful)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333515)

I am sick and tired of pie in the sky thinkers who think they know more than their actual abilities clearly indicate.

No technology is an "end all be all", and that includes web technologies as well. Each have its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Also, any time I see words like "crowdsourcing", I want to vomit simply because they continue to try to minimize the process of solving ideas and building real products. Personally I think that in the next 50 years, the time right now will be remembered as when business managers were able to walk the earth freely assuming that they know everything. In time, however, their companies failed because they contribute very little to the overall process of creating a business or product. MS learned this very painful lesson first hand with Vista (aka No amount of business marketing/technique solved poor development), and hopefully they have corrected their issues with Windows 7.

In short.... Real people have to build these "Real" technologies, and we understand that each technology is not perfect. Meaning, the "Web OS" will never a reality unless people are willing to compromise on functionality simply because fat clients will almost always trump any web app simply due to sheer amount of resources and options available to it.

Re:Can you say "idiotsourcing"?? (3, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333913)

I think "crowdsourcing" is so popular because we have a business culture that wants stuff NOW without having to think about how to actually get it. In some limited cases (e.g., wikipedia) where there is lots of expertise out there but artificial barriers in place to prevent the spread of that knowledge (e.g., publishers), this model works well because there is a "network effect" with something like Wikipedia. But as you say, it's not a universally-applicable thing, and regardless, someone, somewhere has to do the work.

As far as I can tell, the MBAs are being fed this crap in school. We (as in people I work with, but not me) recently hired (and fired) one of these people, and she literally spoke in pure buzztalk. Attempts to get her to clarify what she meant resulted in more buzzwords and circular logic. She even plagiarized a technical explanation of mine (verbatim) on her blog once, and when we called her out on it (by asking her to clarify what she... er, I said), it was more crap. Good riddance.

The diagram makes me want to hurl. It's like a buzzword flower or something.

I really wish people would stop "Declaring" things (0, Flamebait)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333579)

"Dion Hinchcliffe over on ZDNet declared".

This pisses me off to no end. I suppose it works because saying that you declare something as nebulous as WebOs arriving sounds more important than "My opinion is such that...".

The worst of the worst is Arrington, as well as TechCrunch in general. If I recall correctly, Arrington declared both voicemail and email to be dead, Dead, DEAD!!! Really asshole? I use both every single day in a very efficient manner. In the future please just say "I don't like these things" instead of declaring them to be dead. Maybe I'll go write a blog post with the title "I declare Mike Arrington to be dead".

Just recently TechCrunch did the same for RSS, which is funny because RSS is how I arrived at this article, as well as the one for TechCrunch. I assumed they meant they didn't want me as a subscriber to their RSS feed, so I rectified the situation. Can't believe I ever read that shithole site.

In the future if an article declares something to be so, I'll declare that it is a shitty article.

Re:I really wish people would stop "Declaring" thi (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333635)

Forgot to mention the recent horseshit about Arrington declaring the handshake dead, and that we need a new alternative to prevent the spread of germs.

Re:I really wish people would stop "Declaring" thi (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333787)

Yeah, but he's got a really pretty diagram. The fact that the diagram is largely meaningless is beside the point.

You gotta have a good diagram if you're going to go around proclaiming things.

Re:I really wish people would stop "Declaring" thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333945)

Especially when they don't even get the terminology correct. Sorry but OS stands for operating system and this describes "Web OS" is not an operating system. Crap like this makes me wonder what other basic things about computers and IT these type of people don't understand.

Re:I really wish people would stop "Declaring"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334241)

I'm sorry that some asshole with their head up their ass modded you flamebait. This was the single most insightful post in this thread.

Posting as AC for obvious reasons.

Re:I really wish people would stop "Declaring"... (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334277)

Posting as AC for obvious reasons.

I suspect it's because you modded me flamebait and don't want the vote taken away by commenting.

Ok, all kidding aside, I've noticed every single post I make with any type of foul language is tagged as flamebait within minutes of posting, even though they all eventually get modded back up. Other people have responded to my posts with warnings about some kind of self-appointed "vulgarity police" roaming around here modding people down. I think most people here are adult enough to handle this sort of thing without having someone else doing the censoring.

Re:I really wish people would stop "Declaring" thi (1)

Samgilljoy (1147203) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334365)

Declarations like Dion's or Arrington's make me want to class the writers in the same set as so-called Futurists, and as some very clever Slashdotter put it last year, Futurist = 1 part Fail, 1 part Sci-Fi writer.

Sadly, success in business seems to be 9 parts marketing, 1 part actual intelligence or talent at best.

I don't know about WebOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29333743)

but google, an advertising company, advertising its own product (an advertising platform) for free, isn't, well, harming somehow the competitors who have to pay google in order to advertise their products? In the front page? Where is the DOJ?

No it hasn't. And it never will. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333749)

Can we now stop the web economy bullshit generator and go back to news for actual nerds instead of pointy-haired "IT deciders"?

(Apropos, I did start a WebOS (warning: never finished alpha version) back in 2003/2004 [radiantempire.com] , so if there ever would have been a time for it, we (or at least me) would have long passed it. ;)

Oh, and I did forget... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333799)

...that a WebOS is yet another "great" example of the inner platform anti-pattern [wikipedia.org] .

(I guess that is why I stopped working on it, as soon as I left the company, and why I then started to code in Haskell. :)

Free Web OS like EyeOS and others... (1)

Boriel (1396959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333769)

There are many free Web OS (as I understand them) out there. For example, EyeOS at http://eyeos.org/en [eyeos.org] or this other: http://www.oos.cc/login.html [www.oos.cc] YouOS https://www.youos.com/ [youos.com] (now closed :( ) and one from the MIT whose URL I can't recall now... These project are 2 or more years old. If the new Web OS is just this old concept, I think like they're just shouting buzzword (again).

Straight on the heels of (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333779)

the wildly successful Network Computer.

Re:Straight on the heels of (1)

zullnero (833754) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333915)

The network computer was a first stab at conceptualizing all this cloud/web whatever today. None of it was even remotely feasible as a result of what we all had to work with in the mid-90's. Everyone knew this was the direction things were going, but the amount of complexity in the whole concept took decades to really refine. So no, you don't get a witty /. retort. And as someone who uses a webOS [wikipedia.org] today, it works pretty good for me on my phone.

Time to update... (1)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333829)

As I look at that beautiful PNG, I think it's the time to update our company bullshit bingo cards.

Hey, phone call for you... (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333841)

There's this newspaper reporter from 1996 on the line. He wants his sensationalist headline back.

beyond the hype? (2, Informative)

rackeer (1607869) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333867)

Larry Ellison, September 2008: [youtube.com] "The interesting thing about cloud computing: it is either going to be or already is the most computing architecture in the world, because we redefine cloud computing to include everything that we currently do. It has already achieved dominance in the industry. I can't think of anything that isn't cloud - with all these announcements."

Yeah right (1)

CxDoo (918501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333907)

It won't happen just because the big players in the industry want to move to selling services.

Resistance is futile, you will be commoditized.

Where I live... In a city of 30k people (3, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333931)

... the Internet is not available at high enough speeds for cloud computing to reflect anything close to using software on my home computer.

That doesn't mean I can't wait for it if its something that we're all moving to anyway; I'm just trying to bring up the obvious fact that there is lag in web apps and for some of us it might be a bit harder or longer process than others.

I'm ready to pay the $6/household that the major ISPs said it would cost to double bandwidth. I'm ready to pay it several times over. Is anybody listening?

First things first (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333955)

First the industry needs to perfect internal swappability and server plug-and-play before they try to tackle external. Companies are not going to immediately trust external hosting until it's demonstrated that such technologies work internally. Things like version and config compatibility management and security still have a lot of work to be done.

The year of the mainframe on the desktop? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#29333997)

Hmm, mainframe computers and dumb terminals... Something is wrong with that idea. I just cannot put my finger on it though...

Cloud computing is such a stupid term (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29334075)

since when has the sky been covered by a handfull of clouds?

"cloud computing" makes more sense when you see it like Nokia does: your phone is a cloud, your server is a cloud, your desktop is a cloud, etc., and they can all link to each other and allow you access them even when you're not around. Store all of your music on your server and stream them to the clients; store all of your documents on your cellphone and access them from your desktop if you'd like. etc.

Cloud computing also makes sense when it comes to thin clients in a server and stuff. Or making bigger datacenters near cleaner ressources, and stuff like VM hosting. But not this garbage Web2.0 shit. Since when is JavaScript considered "green"? You can barely run stuff like Wave on an Atom... Can't run facebook properly on my Pentium 2.

Pick the right tool for the job (1)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334113)

Cloud computing is great! My mother calls me to tell me that PBS told her so.

How many times ... (1)

JimToo (1304315) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334159)

I've heard this prediction so many times, it was silly the first time, it still is. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that part of my job involves placing computers in places where internet is not. Went searching for comments on this absurdity, where else would one find a reference but here at good ol' /. http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/30/2146250 [slashdot.org]

"Welcome To The Future!" (3, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334197)

Subject is quote from "I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus" by Firesign Theatre. Apropo, no?

"businesses and IT departments must adjust to the fact that everything's starting to move to the cloud"

When a pundit* makes a claim that comes true, they collect on the only currency involved -- publicity -- by reminding you at every chance. When they're wrong, which is usually, they simply wait until so few remember that if anyone does bring it up, they can easily explain things away with a line of BS (what they call Believable Statements) that they've developed since realizing they were wrong.

* Pun' dit (n): from

(1) "pun", a statement with a double meaning; those agile enough with language to earn the name pundit can manipulate the double meaning to be polar opposites, such as "is" and "is not". (A recent inquiry into the activities of one such person resulted in their tacit admission in belonging to this class of person, when they asked of the investigators, "Define 'is'.") Through the application of this inclusive exclusion, such a person can claim to have meant what they meant when they said it, and if necessary to have meant the opposite. A truly superior practitioner can not only apply this, but also make it appear as though it were the listener's fault for the confusion.

and from:

(2) dit, from Morse Code "dit" and "dah", known as "dot" and "dash" to non-Morse speakers. This is the equivalent to a single trinary "trit" of information in that it can take either active state (dit or dah), or not be there at all (a wait state). Applied to Boolean, it is the basis of the IF...THEN...MAYBE statement, the 'fuzzy logic' extension of IF...THEN...ELSE. By itself (ie. with no associated data or wait state) the single trit "dit" means nothing at all.

Thus, "pundit" is one who can take a piece of information, useless by itself, and by association with another statement, imply a meaning to it with which they may then later prove that they meant X or that they meant NOT X. For instance, a person at a tech-oriented new organization can make a statement like "everything's moving to the cloud", and when everything doesn't, claim that by "everything" they meant also "everything else", and by "is" they meant "isn't", yielding "everything is moving to the cloud, except everything that isn't moving to the cloud." If it seems that the phrase "some things" would be more appropriate, you are not a pundit. They use "everything" because it can be used as "everything is", "everything isn't" or "everything is except everything that isn't", and changed according to the need of the pundit to appear to be right at the cost of looking like an idiot, or even worse, a politician.

See also "pendantic"; similar to "pedantic" (holding forth at length with the appearance, even if not in actual fact, of being an authority), but taken from "pendulous" for 'swinging back and forth freely, usually something that is very low hanging', and "antic" a comical behavior.

Don't tell me what I need to get used to (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29334237)

...and that businesses and IT departments must adjust to the fact that everything's starting to move to the cloud.

I don't know about anyone else, but it chaps my butt when someone tells me I have to adjust to tech trend of the moment. I'll adjust when I'm good and ready. And I'll be ready when it makes business sense. Like service architecture, before that it was web services, go back far enough the hot buzz was client-server. I don't use what's trendy, I use what works.

Like moving email to "the cloud"...I hate that term. We dumped Exchange in favor of corporate Gmail and not only saved a fortune but it's a lot less stress to manage. We switched because it made good business sense, not because it was trendy. And no one really had to adjust because most of our staff was already using GMail at home.

We don't need a web OS, we use Ubuntu on a lot of desktops and Linux servers. A web OS might be an advantage...some day. But I can't really see what that advantage is now. So, no need to "adjust" now, is there?

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