This is something that has been worrying me for a while and it’s coming stronger every day, and today a blog post pushed me to start a blog post about that.

We, free (libre, as in freedom) software users are used to prefer open source software over closed source, and I think it’s great, I’m not going to discuss about that now though, there’s plenty of literature about that. My concern today is about distributed services (some people call it the cloud if you wish). A lot of them have appeared lately, and that’s great, but as great as it is I’d like to discuss how much do we want to embrace that, just having a free client is not enough freedom, implementing an open protocol if there are no free servers is not enough freedom. We can compromise, but we don’t compromise by default.

We all want to be able to access our data everywhere, with multiple clients, multiple platforms, etc. It’s so great we’re writing software to support distributed services, distributed systems are great. The problem is we’re providing them our data just by exchanging some “I Agree” contract when signing in which we think could protect us to some extent. We wouldn’t trust on that locally, why do we when distributed?

I think the inflection here comes to the “Am I capable to install that service on my own server?”. If we have an alternative, it’s just our choice to be using the distributed service or not. I think we don’t want to introduce people to closed source software just because it’s easy. Do we?

PS: Yes, I have a Skype account and use it.