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

On 04/27/2013 07:24 AM, Richard Stallman wrote:
>     Yes, Cloud IaaS is different from just "remote virtual computer rental".
>     For example, typically, you'd have a service to store virtual machine
>     images that you have customized, in order to start them as you need (for
>     example, if you have a peak of usage). On an IaaS cloud, you'd have a
>     rich API to be able to create LANs, assign public IPs to some virtual
>     machines, mount some permanent block storage, etc.
> It sounds like what you're talking about is rental of a remote virtual
> computer with certain specific features that are useful for offering
> Internet services to the public.
> If you think that is mistaken, could you tell me what the error is?

Clint Byrum explained better than I ever would.
I agree with what he wrote.

> If the term "cloud" were used in computing solely for this, it would
> cause no harm, and I would use it.  However, millions of people think
> that "the cloud" means services that store files for users (i.e.,
> suckers) prepared to surrender all privacy on their files.  There are
> other completely unrelated scenarios that are also commonly referred
> to with the term "cloud".

This is the kind of reading we've seen for many, many years.
And it is disappointing to read that from you.

The fact that the term "cloud" has been used over and over
again in a wrong way, only to qualify hosted content by some
huge company who did evil things doesn't mean that the word
itself is bad and should be ban.

It's like the media using "hacker" for all sorts of things the bad
guys are doing. It isn't because the media use the word "hacker"
only referring to bad things that we should agree with that very
reduced definition. It isn't because the word is badly used that
we should try to ban it (we wont succeed anyway, as everyone
is free to use any word they want). We should, instead, promote
the real, full, definition. Please join us to try to do it, and do not
attempt to just reject the word because of its bad use by a large
amount of people.

I think it is a lot more relevant to make sure we are talking about
the same cloud, by specifying "IaaS" together with it.

> This was an amusing contretemps.  I did not know what you meant by
> saying "IaaS cloud" so many times; I had to guess.  I guessed that the
> reason you said "IaaS cloud" instead of just "Iaas" was to insist on
> using the word "cloud".

For me, just "IaaS" itself could refer to an online service only. Like,
it would refer to Azure, AWS or Google Compute Engine. When I
write "Cloud IaaS", I am really talking about a technique, rather
than a set of online service provider, or the hosted service, like
I would say "web server hosting". In my mind, it's like saying
"a web server" when I say "cloud IaaS". Probably we may find a
better wording, I'm not sure now, since that as well confused you.
And if it confused a computer expert like yourself, I'm expecting it
will confuse others as well.

I would have happily switched to "virtual machine orchestration",
though the problem is that now, we have also bare-metal, without
virtualization (using things like PXE boot for provisioning). So, I
believed that "Cloud IaaS" was the better wording.

The human language is sometimes so much going on our ways
to understand technology... :/

Also, remember I'm French, so I might not be the best person to
discuss English wordings.

>     We are talking about "cloud computing infrastructure as a service". Like
>     it or not, this is what people call it.
> No, that's not true.  That is not what "people" call it.
> I'm a person and I don't call it that.
> You're a person, and you don't have to call it that.
> That is what SOME people call it.

But I don't see any better wording for it. So I use that. Find
better words, and I will use them.

> IaaS is specific enough -- as long as we don't confuse
> things by saying "cloud".

I'm afraid you will be alone to say that adding "cloud" next to
IaaS adds confusion. I also can feel that you will just reject
the word cloud no mater what, and I don't think this is
reasonable. It does express something (in every cases:
pooling of resources), and therefore, it has some value.

It would be nice to see what others have to say about it (just
you and me discussing this is, IMO, not enough). If we can
find together wordings that satisfy everyone, then we all win.


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