Summary: The freedom of Free/open source software is taken aback by cloudy weather and Mono becomes part of this problem
PROPRIETARY software is neither winning nor losing. The same goes for Free software and the only clear winner seems to be something worse than proprietary in the sense that it makes people’s own data proprietary, where the proprietor is hardly those people. We sometimes refer to this as “Fog Computing”. Another troubling trend is the emergence of so-called ‘shops’ or ‘stores’ for applications (or apps for short). These turn Free software into something indistinguishable (or hardly distinguishable) from proprietary and under the excuse/reason of ‘security’ users are prevented from installing their own code/program on devices which they thought they bought to own. This has “DRM” written all over it. In recent years we saw Mono catering for that latter market rather than the Free desktops which users can actually control.
A short while ago we wrote about the problems that Nat's Xamarin will be facing. It is interesting to note that despite Microsoft bias in the company, its CEO reveals that they go with Google’s ‘Cloud’ (or Fog Computing) rather than Microsoft. To quote his blog:
So part of my first three weeks as CEO of Xamarin has felt like a trip to a toy store. Everyone loves window shopping, so here is a list of some of the tools we’re using to run our startup…
To their credit, its not too bad. But they are facing a mountain they may never manage to climb. For them, “success” is also a success for Microsoft, which is not doing too well at the moment. Jos from OpenSUSE writes about the subject of ‘Cloud’ in this new blog post which says:
The ‘cloud’ has been a buzzword for quite a while. While some are still rather cynical towards the concept, products like mobile phones with Android have shown the value of putting your data in that huge, amorphous network of servers somewhere. Apple recently introduced their new cloud service and Microsoft has their cloud too. So with the other major players talking cloudy, what does Linux have?
Apple and Microsoft do their silly things because they never cared about rights (of users) and their freedoms. Entities which promote software freedom need not bend to the will of trends that instead they should antagonise. To put Free software on the so-called ‘cloud’ without an Affero-type licence is similar to the inclusion of Free software in binaries-only stores (see the VLC saga). It evades the goals of ethical software. It is about ethics and freedom, not market share. █