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15 December 2010, 15:28

Richard Stallman criticises Chrome OS

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Richard Stallman
Richard Stallman
On the occasion of the presentation of Google's Chrome OS operating system, Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU project and the Free Software Foundation (FSF), has reiterated his criticism of cloud computing. As Stallman told the Guardian newspaper, people are being taught "careless computing"; they are simply not as careful when their documents and other information are stored on third-party servers instead of on devices under their own control. He says there are also legal risks, for instance when users in the US lose access control to their data in the cloud because authorities have stepped in.

Two years ago, Stallman also told the Guardian that cloud computing could make users more vendor-dependent and increase costs because it forces users to give control of their information to third parties. Chrome OS, which Google presented just over a week ago, locally saves only the data needed to access and navigate the cloud. Stallman fears that the US government might encourage people to store their data in the cloud so the government can have access without having to show them a warrant beforehand. For Stallman, the only thing positive about Chrome OS is that it is based on GNU / Linux, although the usual associated applications are not part of the package.

The founder of the FSF also warns people not to use the LOIC network load software, which enables the kind of DDoS attacks currently being executed against financial service providers in connection with the publication of US documents on the WikiLeaks whistleblower platform. However, Stallman does not say that the protest against WikiLeaks opponents is wrong, but rather that LOIC source code is not open, so users should not trust the software.


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