Rumours on the world wild web point to the possibility of Canonical building an iTunes-like music store. Works for U thinks such a move would add another viable revenue stream for Canonical, even if it seems to stretch the resources of the firm. If this music store comes to Ubuntu, I’m sure many users will enjoy using it. And it will help Canonical start a community of artists, musicians and software firms to using Canonical and Ubuntu as a platform for selling content and applications.
The Linux Hater Tries Karmic Koala
No one knows who hides behind the LH mask. Is he an enlightened but disgruntle Linux programmer? Or is the king of all trolls? Who cares! Read up his (or her) review of the “fail” that is Ubuntu’s Karmic Koala. You’ll get a kick out of it.
One of the great opportunities and threats for commercial open source is the emerging cloud computing landscape. However Matthew Asslett (451 Group) points out the Affero GPL doesn’t negate the threat of no monetary contributions from cloud providers to commercial open source vendors. Yes it doesn’t. But the licenses were designed to get source code contributions from developers. Business models need to focus on selling value (some scarce resource based on real scarcity not an artificial one) to clients, and some clients will not see the value. There will always be those that get away. The Affero GPL does help “guide” most cloud providers contribute back. If anything the GPL will give more freedom and opportunities for many more smaller players than a few large ones. And that solves many more economic and social problems than anything else.
Google today announced their Chrome OS project. The details are sketchy for this announcement. This Chrome OS apparently stems from the Chrome web browser that Google released last year. A sort of instant-on netbook operating system, that meshes the hardware with the Internet cloud. Google claims the OS project differs from the Android stack that runs on cellphones. And thats all we essentially know about this Chrome OS.
So left me put on my futurist hat and predict what Chrome OS will be. If I were building something like Chrome OS, I would grab an existing OS (say Linux). I would then strip out all the unnecessary extra services and applications. Then I would modify the desktop shell to essentially run a web browser (Chrome) connected to the web. I would include an internal web caching application (Google Gears anyone?) to handle the off-line situation. So there you go, netbook running Chrome OS would essentially act as a smart thin client (dummy terminal for you readers who remember the 70’s). And the server would live on the Internet cloud.
Wonder how such a device would feel like? Grab a Nokia N810 or N800 and you’ll have a closer feel to a mobile cloud computing device. Congratulations to Google to helping bring true heterogeneous cloud computing and its advantages to the common man.
Cloud computing is one of Silicon Valley’s current obsessions. So is defining what Web 2.0 and how number of eyeballs magically translate into number of dollars. The promise of cloud computing seems to be always available web applications. Applications that automatically scale inside the cloud depending on load and need. The cloud being a vast network of servers, massively redundant in number and by geographic distribution. The theory being that if you run an application on the cloud, you will also be able to use this application and get to your data anywhere at anytime. And you can do so regardless of how many users use the same cloud or application, even if part of your cloud gets clobbered when a small asteroid annihilating the city where part of your datacentre was in.
At the moment, only Amazon offers its servers’ capabilities as a true cloud computing platform. Also you can build your own, if you have the financial clout to do so. Various vendors offer various tools for monitoring, deploying to and even developing all inside a “cloud”. But for the most part, cloud computing is a buzzword that brings together wide-eyed engineers and ambitious businessmen.
Still we are a long way from the dreams proposed by Charles Stross in his book Accelerando. We still need to build out a global multi-vendor cloud that spans the globe. And thankfully we do not have to fear the cloud turning into a physical nano-engineering solar system consuming matroska brain filled with aggressive hyperintelligent posthuman AIs. Fear not the cloud computer. Yet.
After much resistance, I extended part of my life on-line.
The reality is that technology plays an important role in my life. I organize, communicate, create, distribute and entertain through computing. But even with Palm, a decent Linux workstation and the web to my disposal much of this technology and its benefits are separate. While I can connect remotely to my desktop and let my groupware, Kontact handle my e-mails, RSS feeds, etc., its not convenient.
Here is where Google enters in. They have the storage and online applications that keep me and my data connected. Its not perfect. I rather using the Internet as a conduit, and maintaining everything locally. But its not realistic for me to do so. In theory, I could produce, store and transmit electricity myself (obviously with the right equipment) too. In practise, I pay a utility company to do so.
So why not do the same with computing? Thats the promise of cloud computing. Think of it as hosted web applications on steroids. Cloud computing would change computing into a utility. Use only as much as you need. Have it accessible all the time, everywhere. Imagine your desktop, mobile device, workstations and servers all communicating seamlessly with each other.
Of course, Google is not exactly cloud computing. Its close. But Google serves you and me, so that we are a captivated audience for advertisers. But I can’t complain about Google… they do host this blog after all… and a bunch of my data. However a number of companies are moving forward with utility/cloud computing: Amazon, Salesforce.com and Sun Microsystems to name a few. Exactly in what form, how and who will create a stable platform in the Internet cloud, remains to be seen. We do live in times with interesting possibilities.