* Posts by Simon Wardley

2 posts • joined 27 Nov 2006

Whose cloud is the open-sourciest... Who cares?

Simon Wardley

Spot on

For reasons of semantic interoperability, open source is absolutely essential for creating a free (as in unconstrained rather than captured) utility market whether the providers all run the same system or conform to an open source reference model.

It has to be code (i.e. an expression) rather than a principal in specification document as switching needs to be perfect and the normal interpretation errors of documented standards by one vendor or another would prevent switching.

However, the value to the users is the market i.e. ask most large AWS users whether they want lots of different IaaS cloud or lots of AWS clones ... they'll say AWS clones i.e. they want a market of AWS clones.

So, spot on - the value to users is not how "open" or not this cloud is but instead the existence of a utility market with easy switching. The latter does require an open approach but that is secondary to the eyes of the user and the value of "a market".

I've long supported the attempts to create open source AWS clones in order to form that market. The whole "open API" brigade and how EC2 / S3 / EBS weren't open suffered from a lack of understanding of law. APIs are (and have always been) principles and not copyrightable. Nothing has changed. Of course, the next counter will be the process itself of how AMZN builds those APIs is not open ... ignoring that Android is equally a closed wall process.

So two cheers for writing an article which emphasises that what's importance is user need, in this case the existence of a free (unconstrained) competitive market, and not how "open" something is.

As Benjamin Black would say "Solve user problems or become irrelevant". Being "more open" doesn't solve a user problem, creating "a market" with easy switching does.


Web 2.0 and Tim O'Reilly as Marshal Tito

Simon Wardley

FUD 2.0

Well I'm a great believer for having a vision of where you want to go. I'm also a great believer in the bazaar being a tool for certain areas and the cathedral for infra-structural issues.

However, when something is new or fledgling - imposing or desiring to impose a method of operation rather than allowing a standard to emerge is almost always folly.

So have a vision, don't impose operating restrictions, allow the melting pot of human creativity compete with different ideas and then support the emergent standard if a standard is necessary or beneficial.

This is what is happening with web 2.0. A melting pot of ideas, from which standards are being rapidly created or adopted, for example REST over SOAP, Mapstraction etc

Of course this is a nightmare for any purist or committee that wishes to control or impose their own idea of how things should operate. Such evolved behaviour or evolved standards bypasses the need for committees or imposed computing standards.

You can almost hear the nashing of teeth as the purveyors of what is "right" discover they are irrelevant.

So we come to your tirade against web 2.0 and your description of Tim "Marshall Tito" O'Reilly.

Tim's vision or collection of concepts into his vision does nothing to state how things will operate. It is more a description of important concepts (from open data to commodisation of operating environments to social participation to rich interfaces to new business models to a data centric view) and describes a progression to a different type of web. It subscribes to the view that this is not dictated to but is emergent.

You however takes issue with this and describe it as window dressing and a dictatorship. You say that you can't build "real" applications with javascript and XML. - these are important computer science issues which any "good" computer scientist would agree with you (therefore assuming that disagreement makes me a "bad" computer scientist).

A "real" application is one that is used and is useful and has no bearing on language or transport protocol. As for supporting messages between distributed objects - well those are standards which will emerge rather than be dictated to.

Your general thesis is we should stop all this, as there is the real chance of it turning into a nightmare. That's a mantra against creativity, against the melting pot.

So is this a case of the kettle calling the pot black?

It's not Tim who is Tito ...

Simon Wardley




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