Mark my words...
Ballmer is behind this...
Someone once said something about being careful what you wish for. This is more or less how we're feeling about Google's agreement to contribute code to database maker MySQL. As a close open source software watcher, we've been miffed by Google's interactions with the so-called community. Yeah, Google has its nerdtopia Summer …
"While Google has long been able to mess with the MySQL code in ITS machines, it hasn't been able to mess with the code in YOUR machine and now it wants to do exactly that."
"We'll be slaves, but happy slaves, and Google will come to dominate all computing for the next generation."
It is QuITe delusional, to the point well past certifiable madness, that any dominating control will be achieved without splashing out the cash on those Virtual Machines which thrive and grow prodiguously stronger analysing and commenting on deluded machine input.
To survive and be thought credible in such a market place ... the next generation of all computing .... must such delusional tendencies be treated with some heavy MetAI retail therapy. It is the American machine's way.:-) The National Strength/Weakness/Soft Spot/G Spot. [Not many know of that spot and even fewer are dedicated in their resolve to hit it with a passionate addiction to/for/in ITs jackpot, every time]
Crikey, would that be best served and servered by Google getting into bed with the Register, to get their rocks off/act together, to see who can outperform each other.
In the best of such traditions, might I suggest most doggedly, that El Reg maintain at all costs, the role of the nymphomaniac whore to teach the upstart punter a valuable lesson. And the punter pays too for the workout without feeling screwed .... despite being Beta than just well screwed. AIdDouble Whammy of Outrageous Good Fortune.
IT never ceases to amaze me, and I'm sure we are not alone, how Cutting Edge Establishment IT Companies [the Googles and the Microsofts and the Suns and the IBMs etc etc] always seem to forget just how they were created ..... as the next generation of anything is always something purchased out of the wild blue yonder introducing new Players to the Great Game.
And Control of the Great Game is the next Generation of Play and that has you requiring Universal Control and IT Controls. And if that is not what they are buying into, because quite logically and obviously as the El Reg article has explained, that is their hope/mission/quest, then they will fail at every single turn.
The incumbent leviathan position of any such "cool" "hip" "rad" Establishment darlings is also, in Universal Great Games Play, going to be Challenged and Enhanced by more Enlightened Wealthy Individuals/Sovereign States Funding their own Parallel Systems, not in direct conflicting competition [for that would not be enlightening] but in a much more attractive packaging of the Environment for the Game and ITs Players. Think a sort of Megalomania's Row with knobs on*
After All, they have a Universe to Secure against Abuse and Ill Conceived Use. And quite whether that is supplied by an independent Entrepreneur or by a leviathan depends on how SMART the Industry is in joining up the dots and finding the next generation thing supplied by independent Entrepreneurs...... for is that not the model of their own crazy success?
Following its path would then logically suggest how to succeed in Business without really trying, for you just buy into it with a splash of crazy cash to a new Player. And if you think that Time stands still and that Player will wait for action rather than create his own .... Dream on, baby.
And boy, does Uncle Sam need the new help for Real or does Uncle Sam need the new help for Real.... given his woes under present Wrecker Team Management and Players...... Plonkers'R'Us.
And I say that most sincerely, folks. From away up here, IT is a plain as the nose of your face.:-)
[* with knobs on? Well, the accepted explanation of megalomania is ....
1 : a mania for great or grandiose performance 2 : a delusional mental disorder that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur ..... http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/megalomania .... and NeXXXXText Generation Computing Global Operating Devices don't do Delusion Disorder.]
cc DIFC/AKMOS ....re Finger Licking Good.
What a lot of speculation about something nobody need ever speculate about. This is open source we are talking about - if you want to know if Google are sneaking nasties into the code look in the code. That's now open source works people.
Anyone speculating without bothering to look is just having a little shit-stirring fun for the heck of it. Best ignored.
It's only MySQL for fuck's sake which, now that SAP has taken back the MAX-DB part, really isn't interesting for enterprise stuff. Sure it can be useful for volatile, non-critical stuff such as GMail address books but no company should seriously buy computing services based on it. Quite apart from any data protection worries.
If Google does go after anyone it's likely to be the ISPs which already provide "managed servers" which as anyone who's used them knows are rarely properly managed but there's a fuck of a lot of them and big market for anyone who can manage them effectively but cheaply.
That's because you are not paranoid enough !
You have to think of backdoors being embedded to enable Google to search your data and analyses it to deliver advertising to you, or sell it on to others, bit like Indian call centres do with UK bank account details.
It will be interesting to see what happens to MySQL as and when it becomes known that Google have actually embedded code inside it. The overall scheme seems to be one of moving to a "thin" client, we used to call these terminals, progress heh! There is some resistance to this approach, as it is trying to unwind history, people became empowered with their own computer and they will not return this power to a centralised sanctum without a fight.
I expect though, that whatever is put into MySQL by Google will be analysed by the world and his open sourced mate, and if it is something unpleasant, then a revised version without Google add ins will become available. The embrace and extend approach taken by Microsoft will just not work.
On the left hand side, we have "cloud computing" from Google, or as it was called maybe ten years ago when HP were flogging it (unsuccessfully), "utility computing". Do we like the idea? Do we trust the vendor?
On the right, we have the predicted return of "thin client", probably not by that name, but... Is it the same as "cloud computing", is it compatible with "utility computing", do we like the idea, do we trust the vendor(s)?
And in various places, sometimes where you least expect him/them, we have the contributions from AManFromMars, or at least someone who apparently went to the same school (medical or otherwise): http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=site%3Aguardian.co.uk+%22honourablemember
Anyone seen him anywhere else (other than his own site, obviously)? Is this AManFromMars's plan for world domination, is it any less probable than Google's almost-infinitely-improbable own plan?
When I was in grad school, people on the bottom of the pecking order had an X Terminal on their desk. The prototypical "thin client", and it was aweful. You'd be sharing and fighting for the resources of the server. This vision of the future that IBM and Google and Oracle all share is very self serving of course, since they'd love to have the world utterly dependant on their servers. But not only would it suck to be tied to remote servers for all your files and applications, it would also kill the serendipitous software industry that has grown up around the personal computer.
Frankly, disk space is so cheap it's ridiculous. Today, anyone with a PC at home can easily get over 300GB of disk space. Aside from rabid gamers and filesharers, that is largely enough for reading mail and the occasional surfing.
And for companies, with incomparably larger IT budgets, I really cannot imagine they'll be interested by an online storage space - what with the security issues, the payment arrangements (you'll probably be paying by the megabyte both written and read), and the lag (you don't get 100mbps lines yet, do you ?), I just cannot imagine the users will be happy.
Why is Vista not selling ? I think the essential issue is the perceived performance. Taking 15 minutes to delete a file is simply unacceptable. In the same way, a remote storage area accessible via Internet is not going to work better either, because of the same performance issues. I don't care how much money you're ready to throw at this, there is simply not enough bandwidth available to get gigabyte speeds to thousands of companies.
And I cannot imagine users being content when they have to wait 10 minutes, or even 5, for their very important rush-job report to just open, let alone get working on it. Autosave is going to be a nightmare. And what about unexpected connexion issues ? What about ISP issues ?
I'm sure there are companies with solid IT practices that never experience any downtime. I'm also quite sure that a backhoe can cause a lot of trouble in very little time. You don't often find a backhoe on company premises, now do you ?
For all these reasons and more, I just fail to see how online remote storage is actually going to do any better than remote HelpDesk call centers.
But hey, that doesn't mean that some Fortune 500 companies won't buy into it, as usual.
I'm an old guy. Not "really" old - 52 - but I've been in "computing" for my entire life (starting in 1959 with an analog computing "toy" my Dad built for me), and believe me, I've "seen the Elephant" up close and personal many times. Because of this perspective I've got a comment or two to make.
IBM "owned" computing for a generation back in the 1940's. Then UNIVAC "owned" computing for a generation in the 1950's. IBM regained "ownership" of computing for nearly two generations from the 1960's to the 1980's. Then Microsoft "owned" computing up to the present.
And, mind you, this was "utility computing" in the broadest sense: a common set of tools used for many, diverse tasks, ranging from compiling data from the US Census to banking book-keeping to airline reservations systems to military C3 and logistics to scientific research. Each "generation" grew from a confused set of competitors into a single cost-effective solution, to a "stable" plateau...that the next "generation" built on top of and away from.
This is the "way of life" for Technology. It's almost Darwinian - the "fittest" (and you need to look at this in a VERY broad perspective) displace the less-fit the same way that mammals displaced the dinosaurs, slowly but inevitably, over a "long" period of time. IT is simply one place that we can "see" evolution working in a human time scale. Think about it: how many silicon "generations" pass between each Epochal Computing generation? Mechanical relays gave way to vacuum tubes, to transistors, to the first TTL ICs, to MSI and VLSI to ALUs to CPUs to complete systems to complete devices - all within the "generation" dominated by IBM between 1960 and 1990.
So back to the title question: what is "wrong" with Google "owning" Computing for a generation?
Each generation existed in a "love-hate" environment with the "community". UNIVAC was the butt of bad jokes throughout the 1950's: people feared becoming "a number" long before "privacy" meant more than closing the blinds at home. Watch the film "The President's Analyst" for a 1960's view of the same issues that Google presents today. ("The President's Analyst" was prescient in foretelling that the real "evil" was TPC (read: AT&T) long before the Patriot Act made the warning a reality.)
Google *MAY* be the "next generation" of Computing. If it is, it is joins the long procession of foraminiferals, trilobites, dinosaurs, mammals and primates that have gone before it...and will no doubt succeed it. It will go through the same life-cycle that the dominant "species" of Computing did before it: from upstart to major player to ravenous Bugblatter Beast to Oppressive Giant...to rotting empire to giant corpse, replaced by the "next-next generation" that we can't see yet, but whose seeds are starting to sprout even now.
***IMPORTANT COMMENT FOLLOWS***
The single benefit that a megalith like Microsoft or Google brings to the world is STABILITY, or, as my Dad called it "the Umbrella". He competed with IBM for major data center installations for his entire life: he always referred to IBM as "the umbrella that allows small players to grow without being killed by the rain of competition". IBM didn't care about mini-computers or PCs because they lived small and fragmented far below its data center focus. IBM even nurtured the nascent PC culture in its infancy, treating it as a symbiont that "cleaned up" some of the problems that the data center could not address. The little "rats" of the PC world started by eating the "poo" of the data center (Visicalc, Lotus 123, WordPerfect) by converting "reports" into human-readable form. Then, slowly but suddenly, the PC started taking work away from the data center, until today, the dinosaur mainframe is nothing more than the front-end to the SAN farm of the modern data center, and all the "work" is being done on desktops or departmental clusters. The "rat" ate the "host".
But the "dinosaur" protected the little "rat" by shielding it from the Big Problems until the "rat" grew strong enough to survive and attack the "dinosaur" on its own.
And today we have Microsoft "protecting" the "rat" of Google by legitimizing search and integration and even "utility" functions - but, just like the mainframe vendors before it, Microsoft is focusing on protecting its turf from the wrong predators...and will eventually be eaten by the very "rats" it is beginning to compete with today.
So maybe we'll be subjected to ten or twenty years of a Google monarchy. A new ecosystem will grow, new business will flourish in this new world; many, many people will grow rich and prosperous, and most of the rest of us will find something to do in the new environment that we couldn't do before. The global GDP will grow again - a little or a lot, who knows? - and life will go on.
And, somewhere in the bowels of the Utility Computing World Order, little mice will began to gnaw on the "poo" of the Google dinosaur, and the seeds of the next-next generation will start to grow.
I'm even older and I agree. I have been competing with IBM long and often in mainframes, terminals, controllers, disks(dasds, heh), etc and I like IBM. They do the heavy lifting which allows other to compete with much less starting cost. Now Google, someone said that MySQL is only for small things, maybe so today, but think if you for example had an automated, system level backup in your system to Googles huge network. Now backing up your small things looks suddenly very good, out of premises, saved on well managed network! of systems, and so on. How many already uses these "free" mail services as kind of backup? And OpenOffice documents in database, MySQL can already be used, versioned, etc saved and available outside of your own system? There is a long list they can/could do easily if they can have own code on that level, MySQL is not the only one, take almost any FOSS. Of course they would take the main part of business but it also would allow the competition, if you dare and if not, stop whining!
I definitely won't be holding my Breath, though. Go East or West, which is Best, although going down South is where the Sun always Shines Beta. [And make of that what you will.]
Ashlee, you're holding a lot back on the Inside track of this thread and I'll be flying high tomorrow and will therefore miss all the Fun of the Fare at the Virtualisation eSymposium.
"Of course they would take the main part of business but it also would allow the competition, if you dare and if not, stop whining!"
The main part of business will always migrate to the best Intelligence and if that is in the competition ...so be IT.
IT is illogical to think that Change does not impinge fundamentally upon Status Quo stalwarts ....... although I suppose then the competition is bought in to Oversee ITs Competition Assets.
That transfers the Dare to those who can afford to Win but not to Lose....which could equally well be written, afford the Loss as IT is a Future Proof FailSafe Internal Investment..... and the first one In, Leads the Pack, until something else Future Proof and FailSafe arrives.
How often does that happen? And how often would you expect it to happen if you Control the Reality of ITs Situation Room.
Here's a private Contractor's Play at the Game, here, ..... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR2007110202165.html?hpid=topnews ... albeit on a much smaller, micro-managed scale.
Universal Macro Management is an Altogether Different Kettle of Phish, which is Beta suited to BabelFishermen, Flying dDutchman Virgins First Class ........ XXXXPerienced in the UltiMate Trip, Magical Mystery Turing Rides.
Now, as SurReal a Vista as that Paints, I trust in good Sense that IT makes IT Real Enough 42BTrue for IT is most Certainly More than True Enough 42BReality 2.
Which is a Vision which has been knocking at the UK Treasury Door for longer than I would Care to remember. One of those Creative Innovative Entrepreneurial things the PM and his boys harp on about but singularly and collectively fail abominably to do anything about, preferring to pour gravy on .....well, stale fare and phantoms of the opera feathering their nests, quite obviously, given the obvious State of Affairs.
I wonder if the Queen's Speech tomorrow will contain anything of any Real SurReal Significance Showing AI Lead to Nations and a National Leadership, albeit with a certain QuITe Necessarily Understandable Mystery .... A Court Intrigue Courting No Intrigue other than to Prove and Improve a Viable Future Relevance in Stately Matters, both Ancient and Sublime.
Google is providing all this service by taxing ads, and people are worried abut it! Let them keep their data on their terabyte hard drives and disconnect from the web entirely. Luddites! Unlike M$ which kept secrets and prevented competition through closed copyright, GNU/Linux and MySQL are licensed openly under the GPL and no one will be prevented from using related technology the way they want. Google is for now a benevolent tyrant. It is good to have them on our side in the war against M$. M$ will not be killed off for ten years. When they are gone a hundred startups will replace them. Competition is good. Enjoy it.
But, where's the Paris Hilton angle?
Seriously, though in response to the two older guys:
I totally agree that some standardization is necessary to drive technology forward. However, I'm not convinced that it requires one monolithic provider. Of course, this doesn't mean that we're ready to do that yet, as the Linux market shows.
You seem to miss the point about thin client/Web Services/terminal based computing.
You may have Gigabytes on the remote server but you only look at a few Kilobytes at a time.
Gmail being a classic example you can have your full 2gig of mail on the server but it doesnt slow you down when you are reading a single mail.
The only time you notice your mail is stored some thousands of miles away is when you access a large attached file.
Any half real business system requires data to be shared, and, therefore stored on a shared server. Whether the server is in you basement, in hte basement at HQ or in a basement belonging to IBM/HP/Goole makes very little difference in performance terms.
There is of course a big difference in legal, compliance, reliability and privicy issues which will be the big sticking block in utility computing. Google, gmail etc. work fine because they are free and nobody expects an SLA for a free service. But negotiating an SLA and meeting even modest service and uptime requirements starts to get really expensive ( You can do 10 second response time and 90% uptime on a modest budget, every 1 second reduction of guarenteed response and every 0.1% increase of guarenteed uptime will double your costs).
I'd worry more about who owns the computing cloud if it made even a little differebce, PCs are already so fast that we're confidently ratcheting DOWN the compute power of individual cores to cut heat dissipation and reduce power consumption. What do I need a cloud for if my video game is already a supercomputer?
At the same time, and despite pundits claims to the contrary, free versions of common apps like word processors and spreadsheets are available that do 99% of what the proprietary tools do. Why pay $/mo. for a cloud to do my word processing when I can do it on my pocket supercomputer for free.
Don't feed the trolls, and they'll go away. Ok Cringley won't ever go away, but it certainly doesn't help to cite him.
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