Desktop As a Service

My baloney detectors alarmed when Windows 10 was first released. There was just too much data mining and tracking, let alone the controversy about forced updates. Later came built-in advertising.

These so-called features should not have been surprising. The Microsoft folks wanted to be like Facebook and Google folks. Trick users into sharing personal data and use that data as a revenue stream. Operating systems and software are proverbial carrots on the hook and loss leaders.

Related to these changes is the notable shift of moving software to some place called “the cloud.” To repeat that familiar cynical phrase, “Somebody else’s computer.” Software such as Microsoft Office and mail became more difficult to run locally, tricking people into running that software from Microsoft servers.

Of course, for years the Google folks have been doing this with various online software services and Chromebooks.

The term for this shift is “desktop as a service.”

The concept is nothing new. Decades ago “dumb terminals” were the common means of using large computer systems. A notable difference is everything was text based then. No fancy graphical desktops.

Another notable difference is data mining and tracking were not even sparkles in anybody’s eyes then. Back then a message of the day (MOTD) might have been common, as well as ASCII splash screens when logging in, but commercial advertising in such a system would have been unheard of. Undreamed of.

So much has changed.

Short of a serious user revolt I expect that eventually many business users will be left with little choice but to run software in this manner.

Annual subscriptions — software as a service — will be needed to use most productivity software.

Welcome to modern feudalism where computer users are treated as serfs. Nobody will own anything. Everybody will rent and be enslaved forever.

I hope this parasitical attitude never infects free/libre software.

Posted: Category: Commentary Tagged: General

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