25 April 2008

Lost in the Clouds

Here's a piece about cloud computing that ask a pertinent question:

Why isn't the world's biggest and most powerful software company taking the initiative here? For all of Microsoft's chest beating about internet delivery as the next phase of its development, we've seen precious little in the way of action.

There are so many reasons that it's hard to pin down. Perhaps it's with Ray Ozzie, the successor to Bill Gates, who is still settling into his job. Or perhaps it's just the stifling bureaucracy of a corporation that stretches as far as the eye can see.

But there's also something missing from this analysis of cloud computing. Nowhere is it mentioned that an essential prerequisite for creating huge server farms to keep the clouds afloat is free software: if Google or Amazon had to use proprietary software, paying for each instance clouds would never, er, get off the ground.

Just as the open source LAMP stack created the current wave of Web 2.0 companies, so free software will run the magic machinery keeping clouds aloft.

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