Cloud companies like Google, Yahoo, Amazon and a million start-ups are built on the strong foundations of open source software: but there’s no way to scratch your itch if it’s Gmail’s downtime that bugs you; or YouTube has taken down your video after a spurious complaint; or your hosting companies’ terms of service suddenly exclude exactly the usage you’ve been depending on them for.
Open source software is about freedom — and by running others’ code on others’ machines, we’ve traded some of that freedom for a little temporary convenience. This talk is about routing around the limitations of today’s established cloud companies, and moving the power of open source software back to those who can best wield it — the innovative users and hackers on the edges of the network.
It’ll feature a funhouse ride through the history of edge applications, a survey of current open source projects that seek to decentralize typical cloud applications like micro-blogging, virtualisation, and content distribution, and outline some of the legal, political and infrastructure threats and opportunities of getting data, services and applications running on our own machines, and in our own homes.
Danny O’Brien is International Outreach Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier
Foundation. He has covered technological culture for the Irish Times, Guardian and Time Magazine, co-founded Britain’s Open Rights Group, written spam→haiku filters, performed before West End audiences, and danced with Richard M. Stallman in the pale moonlight. Before becoming worthy and righteous, he was sarcastic and cynical for Need to Know, the seminal email geekzine.
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