Chrome OS, Cloud Computing and Privacy

The news is out – highly anticipated Google’s Chrome is to released in coming fall or winter.

Its supposed to be faster and more efficient than Microsoft Windows and will support cloud computing. There will be no cost associated with using the OS as its going to be released as open source.

What does all these mean to an end user? Since the new OS is going to leverage cloud computing, I believe its going to behave similar to how a browser behave. When the machine is turned on, the user is presented with a console that directly interact with the applications hosted in the cloud. Applications include the existing Gmail, Documents, Calendar, Photos and other office productivity tools.

An end user, when he/she uses these applications, sends all the information or data to the cloud where the applications reside. They could be hosted either at Google datacenters or at a partner. The information or data that the user saved at these applications is now at the mercy of Google or its partners.

Today there are corporates who hesitate to use third party conference utilities such as Webex just because they don’t want their confidential data to go beyond their perimter. So what about using Google’s cloud computing services. Corporates as well as Governments are concerned about the privacy of their cititzens. Will Google ensure such privacy? How about the service level agreements? Or the Quality of Service? Can Google meet such varying requirements? Well, it may – for a “freemium”.

Personally I am thrilled waiting to play with another open source system.

For now, this is Shaheen posting these thoughts, from the Toronto subway system, using gmail to an open source application.

Open Source Software in Corporate world

Personally I am a big fan of open source. My programming skills come from playing with such softwares. In the corporate world, I have seen companies adopt mature open source softwares, usually supported by well known companies. Most of them are either deployed for internal network or behind the DMZ; not so much in the public zone for commercial purpose.

Here are some quick pros and cons

Pros

  • Very low cost in acquisition (mostly none)
  • Most of them are based on open standards and hence are compatible with similar products as well as commercial products that follow open standards.
  • Community and Developer support available with no extra cost. Some companies that develop open source code may charge a nominal maintenance and support fee.
  • Most of them, especially those available in the market for some time, are reliable, robust and secure because it is tested by global community who are users, testers and learners.
  • Users can hack into the code and do necessary adjustment to fit their need. Most licenses allow this, however some impose conditions such as “creative commons”.
  • Many a times, open source is far much better in quality and performance.
  • Knowledge of what’s happening in these softwares is known to everyone.
  • Always go for open source software that is supported by big companies such as Sun, IBM, etc.

Cons

  • Initial releases are not reliable. Wait for couple of mature releases before adopting an open source
  • Single person written open source software may sometimes go through many releases and it would be hard for us to keep up with it.
  • Bug fixes get delayed.
  • Some of the software may get slower with new release. This happens usually with softwares that are written by single or few programmers.
  • Some of existing legacy hardware may not be supported by certain softwares.

.Net Security, Java Security and Webservers

Looking for a comparison of security between .Net and Java? Need to know if .Net application is supported in webservers other than IIS?

Here is a good comparison of Java and .Net Security by Denis Piliptchouk –

Part 1 – http://www.onjava.com/pub/a/onjava/2003/11/26/javavsdotnet.html
Part 2 – http://www.onjava.com/pub/a/onjava/2003/12/10/javavsdotnet.html

Another one would be –
.NET Security: Lessons Learned and Missed from Java by Nathanael Paul and David Evans – http://www.cs.virginia.edu/papers/acsac-net-java.pdf .

Now if you intend to run .net application in a webserver in the DMZ, then a webserver that supports .net framework should help. This would help in exposing an existing application to be exposed to the public domain. There are some available such as Mono (http://www.mono-project.com/Main_Page ) and NeoKernel (http://www.neokernel.com ).

Here are some helpful links –
Unix.net – http://sourceforge.net/projects/unixnet/
Comparison of Java Security and .Net Security – http://kosh.nku.edu/~waldenj/classes/2006/spring/csc593/presentations/ComparingJavaNET.ppt