January 14th, 2013
I have always been a bit curious of the open source communities support of Google. I have even seen distros include “web apps” that launch a browser to open Google Docs or Gmail. I can understand the reasoning, to a point. Good desktop applications are difficult to come by on Linux, (seriously, you can’t argue this point, don’t try.) while Gmail is an absolutely best of breed email client. However, given that you use a Linux desktop for the control over the platform it gives you, it is a curious choice to relinquish that control, especially over such personal information as email, to a closed source solution that just happens to be hosted on a server instead of your local machine.
I like the idea of personal servers (after all this blog is running on a personal server) to keep control of one’s data, however in my opinion just thinking about it in terms of “one physical (or virtual) server per person” is way too limiting.
If anything, the way to take this forward is to build a suite of personal services (mail, calendar, storage, messaging, compute, whatever…) that are distributed and secure. You likely have several devices that are always on, with cellphone, NAS, tablet, and maybe a webspace or hosted server somewhere. Now let’s build virtual services that are ignorant of where they run, and and are built with privacy, security and availability as primary design considerations (with usability and manageability not to be ignored either). That way, your personal cloud services can run anywhere, and everybody can have one.