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Firebrand free software activist hates the cloud

Google’s Chrome OS means ‘careless computing’ says Stallman

Google’s Chrome OS represents a plan to push people ‘to push people into careless computing’ according to Free Software advocate Richard Stallman.

Stallman, also known simply as ‘rms’, was the founder of the GNU project and the Free Software Foundation and is well known as being a firebrand advocate of the free software movement. Stallman has long been an opponent of cloud-based solutions such as Google’s Gmail on the basis that they ‘force’ people into proprietary systems which, two years ago he told the Guardian was “worse than stupidity.”

Stallman singled out Google’s cloud-heavy Chrome OS for criticism, saying that the OS required a data connection to connect to Google’s cloud in order to store documents and private information. This represented a risk of loss of legal rights if the data is installed on any machine other than the user’s, Stallman claimed.

Stallman described cloud computing as an attitude of “’Let any Tom, Dick and Harry hold your data, let any Tom, Dick and Harry do your computing for you (and control it)” which the veteran computer engineer said was more fitting of the term “careless computing.”

“I suppose many people will continue moving towards careless computing, because there’s a sucker born every minute,” Stallman told the Guardian.

“The US government may try to encourage people to place their data where the US government can seize it without showing them a search warrant, rather than in their own property.”

Stallman also said that Wikileaks inspired hacktivists should not download the LOIC denial of service tool to participate in the illegal attacks. Not because he thinks the protest is wrong, but because “if users can’t recompile it, users should not trust it."

Image: Creative Commons – Victor Powell.

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