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06.10.20

AWS is Not GNU/Linux and AWS Certification is a Bezos-Leaning Ploy That Rewards People for Memorising Proprietary Interfaces (Vendor Lock-in)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Servers at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BHO-DJT Side-by-Side: They don't agree on anything... Except spying on the whole world and their own citizens

Summary: Clown computing is a scam and a trap; in practice it means outsourcing one’s programs and data to computers one does not own, does not truly control, and everything is subjected to change (spying, billing, interfaces, features, patent aspects); we need to move away from centralised clowns (“The Cloud”)

THE fact that Amazon started making its own distros was overlooked or overshadowed somewhat because of the timing of the announcement. It coincided with the date the media was almost 90% “COVID COVID COVID”…

And nevertheless, for about a week following the announcement we’ve managed to fish about a dozen articles (also in Daily Links at that time).

Is Amazon a friend of GNU/Linux? No, not really.

“Is Amazon a friend of GNU/Linux? No, not really.”Amazon’s technical/practical contributions to the platform that makes Mr. Bezos so rich aren’t noteworthy. Linus Torvalds recently blasted one patch from their direction, using strong language to describe that “stupidity”…

Clown computing is generally a massive threat to Software Freedom; Richard Stallman foresaw this threat and drafted (A)GPLv3 (along with others who recognised the threat). When the mainstream/corporate media started rebranding servers and “SaaS” as something like “cloud” (few other terms were attempted, but they did not catch on) Stallman blasted the trend and dismissed it — even in the media — as mere hype.

And guess what… Stallman was right. He’s usually right. He wasn’t born yesterday and he had plenty of time to think about the intricacies; he also speaks to rather knowledgeable people about it (in person and over E-mail).

“Clown computing is generally a massive threat to Software Freedom; Richard Stallman foresaw this threat and drafted (A)GPLv3 (along with others who recognised the threat).”AWS is perhaps the biggest ‘collective’ datacentre with GNU/Linux; Wikileaks exposed some locations of the pertinent datacentres a couple of years ago. As of half a decade ago, Amazon’s AWS (or similar) datacentres were spread across about a dozen countries. Many are US-based, where military-funded lawmakers draft bills called “cloud” something and give special powers (including data access) to the US government/authorities (US Army included).

Having said that, my main issue with AWS isn’t lack of returns (very minimal). They contribute almost nothing to development; they’re known to be exploiting lots of Free software projects, grabbing support contracts away from people and firms that actually develop the software. There were several controversies to that effect in recent months and Amazon is sponsoring/supporting events that strive to make it mainstream and “normal”… as if exploitation is to be celebrated as “success” (it’s rather unethical).

“GNU/Linux on the other hand (like UNIX/POSIX) is modular, standard and universal.”But here’s the thing that’s even worse; many people nowadays pursue certifications named after buzzwords. Or brands. They basically spend a lot of time and money joining some corporate cult without even being salaried by the respective corporation/s. One example of this is AWS certification. Putting aside the dynamic nature of their interfaces (which I’ve seen and used for almost a decade at work), those are proprietary and certification means training — and moreover training for things that change over time and thus render the certification obsolete or outdated.

GNU/Linux on the other hand (like UNIX/POSIX) is modular, standard and universal. It hardly changes over time. The same GNU scripts you put together back in the 1980s probably still work today (the opposite isn’t true; it’s not likely that a program or script you write today would work with a 1980s GNU toolchain). So once a person acquires the skills, they’re portable and globally useful. One can even switch from GNU/Linux to BSDs without great difficulty; the adaptations may be minor and there’s plenty of documentation about it online (not without out-of-date GUI screenshots).

“An Amazon empire of virtual machines and containers is certainly helpful to Mr. Bezos. But is that what we want for ourselves?”The bottom line is, don’t be misled into thinking that all those “GAFAM” certifications are worth much; you invest a lot in merely making the likes of Mr. Bezos a lot richer. You reinforce lock-in if not monopoly (memorising GUIs). The same can be said about GitHub. And sending more money to Amazon (AWS bills) isn’t contributing to Software Freedom, even if all running instances are basically GNU/Linux images.

Sure, GNU/Linux is dominant (probably de facto standard in today’s servers), but if we strive to accomplish more than just branding (“Linux everywhere”), then let’s think ahead and consider what a world we wish to live in. An Amazon empire of virtual machines and containers is certainly helpful to Mr. Bezos. But is that what we want for ourselves? We don’t even mention Microsoft’s offering that starts with an “A” because it's an overhyped miserable failure (the media writes about it because Microsoft is paying). In my daily life, at work, I hardly come across anyone who uses the “A” thing of Microsoft; they’re grossly exaggerating their relevance — typical Microsoft marketing stunt.

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