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Re: Please let's not talk about "clouds"

On 04/21/2013 09:05 AM, Richard Stallman wrote:
> "Cloud computing" is the wrong kind of generalization -- it includes
> cases that raise totally different issues.  To have a sensible
> discussion we should focus first on the different kinds of network
> services, to see which of them are inherently bad and find the ethical
> rules for the other kinds.
Hi Richard,

I do agree with your view that all this is very confusing analogy,
and we have raised this issue already in the past. I have things
to say on absolutely each and every analogy as well.

"Having a private cloud is like owning a bunch of buildings on your own
land and keeping most of them empty most of the time."

I don't understand why we should make the assumption that a
private cloud would be underused. There are many cases where
they aren't. For example, in a highly parallel calculations system,
users takes turn to run CPU intensive tasks, and in fact, in such
case, a private cloud could be at 100% of its capacity.

"Putting some servers into a data-centre is like owning a bunch of
buildings built on land rented from someone else."

Putting some servers into a data-center is like ... putting some
servers in a data-center. Why do we need an analogy? Is this
too hard to understand?

"Using IaaS (public cloud) is like renting an empty building with the
usual utilities; electricity, water, gas."

Ah... So then, when you "put some servers" in a data-center,
then you don't have such utilities? This makes no sense.

"Using PaaS is like renting a pre-furnished room in a building."

What if you run PaaS on your own infrastructure?

"Using SaaS is like visiting the library, post office or a restaurant."

Richard cut that one very well.

"Everyone makes a trade-off when they decide where in the
spectrum they feel comfortable with. It is all about asking
yourself the question "am I free enough?". Every choice is
valid but some are more risky than others and it all comes
down to our trust in society."

I don't agree at all with the above statement. If we believe
in free software, then no, all choices aren't valid, and some
are very dangerous.

One of the reasons why I've been working on packaging
OpenStack for Debian is precisely because I want to empower
cloud computing users with freedom. Freedom to run IaaS,
PaaS and SaaS on top of their own physical infrastructure
if they wish to do that. This draft about cloud only brings
confusion on top of confusion. It tells about which type of
contract you may have with a data center, which has
absolutely nothing to do with what is a stake.

For the rest, I do agree with Brian (all what he wrote so far).

On 04/21/2013 09:01 PM, Charles Plessy wrote:
> One point that I think that is important to make, is that points of view
> diverge on the question of "software as a service", and that the answer is
> external to the foundation principles of Debian.
I think it is important to remember that you can host your
own SaaS platform, based 100% on free software, and
that in such case, we aren't against it.

The problem is not the cloud, but how you use it.

On 04/21/2013 10:33 PM, Brian Gupta wrote:
> My personal believe is that while "Cloud computing" is an overloaded,
> ambiguous term, we should not run away from it, but clarify how it
> fits in with Debian.

Perhaps this is because I'm too much into it, but for me,
cloud computing without anything added to it, refers to
IaaS. Do you guys have a different view?

On 04/21/2013 10:33 PM, Brian Gupta wrote:
> Cloud Computing - The use of computing resources that are delivered
> over a network as a service.

I already don't agree with that, I find it confusing, as cloud
services could be not delivered over network, and could not
be sold as a service (if you own the equipment, and just wait
for the final answer: "42" which is delivered by voice...).

I'd rather write:
"Cloud computing - the use of multiple physical computers
or hardware equipment in a way that the resources are
pooled and can be used as a unique entity"

>  Generally Cloud computing services are
> broken down into three subcategories:
>   IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) - Computers, physical or virtual,
> and other building blocks provided as an on-demand service. Typically,
> anything that can be built using IaaS components can also be built
> using traditional computing resources in a fairly straight forward
> manner. (Largely the difference is the business model, and the manner
> of consumption and procurement of said resources.)

What does the business model has to do with IaaS?
My definition:

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) - pooling of some
computing hardware in a way that it can be used as a
single logical entity, in order to provide computing
services (storage, networking, and calculations are
examples of things that can be delivered by IaaS).

>   PaaS (Platform as a Service) - An abstract computing platform
> delivered as a service, where the users can run and deploy their
> applications, but the details and management of the underlying OS and
> frameworks supporting running of the code are abstracted away from the
> user. To date most PaaS platforms are not DFSG compliant.

I agree with the above, though I would introduce the word
"API" in the explanation, since that's key, IMO. Also, I think
it would be a good idea to list some of the few PaaS which
are free software (for example, eyeos). Probably we should
as well give examples of free and non-free systems for the
other definitions.

>   SaaS (Software as a Service) - An application delivered as a
> service. Users do not typically have access to the source code, nor
> can they control much of the experience. To date most SaaS platforms
> are not DFSG compliant.
I don't agree at all that most SaaS platforms aren't DFSG
compliant. Look at all the web applications we have in
Debian. To me, they really are SaaS applications. Just a
few examples:
- all webmails we have in Debian (Roundcube, Squirrel...)
- all galery software we have in Debian (Gallery...)
- all blogging software we have in Debian (Wordpress ...)
- all wiki software we have in Debian (Mediawiki, redmine...)
- All CMS software we have in Debian (Drupal...)
- owncloud
- any remote desktop tools (vnc, FreeNX, etc.)
- absolutely all that debian hosts under the debian.org domain,
including the BTS, packages.d.o, etc...

All of the above, once you put them online, become SaaS.
Though, I have absolutely no problem with them, and they
really are, free software.



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