Don’t put your faith in the Cloud

Typically thoughtful post by Dave Winer.

I’m worried about the web.

We pour so much passion into dynamic web apps hosted by companies we know very little about. We do it without retaining a copy of our data. We have no idea how much it costs them to keep hosting what we create, so even if they’re public companies, it’s very hard to form an opinion of how likely they are to continue hosting our work.

A few weeks ago an entrepreneur said to my face that he was the one who made the money and I was the one who worked for free. My chin dropped. I knew most if not all of them secretly believed this, but I had never heard one say it out loud.

I know others who told me their business model was to patent my work.

Shaking my head. This can’t work.

This system is terrible. It’s a bubble, like the real estate bubble. It’s going to burst, and when it does, it will take a lot of our history with it.

But not this blog post if I have any say about it. It’s stored as a static file on a Windows XP server running Apache. It could just as easily be stored on a Linux machine running anything. Or even an iPod or iPhone. Text files are the ultimate in stability. The same text file you could read on a mainframe 40 years ago could be read on a netbook today. ‘

I’ll post a link to this piece on Twitter, that probably won’t last very long. But — the backup I’m making of it is being stored as a static text file on Apache. So it may well be around for a while.

I’m really obsessed with creating a historic record. I want to feel that our writing has a future. I also don’t want to work for people who are as openly greedy as the typical entrepreneur of 2009.

Yep. Mine is backed up too on a local machine or two. (It’s only about 20MB and therefore trivial to do. Instructions for hosted blogs can be found here. If you want to back up your own WordPress installations go to ../wp-admin/export.php and click on ‘Download Export File’.) Likewise I have copies on several local drives of all the photographs I’ve ever posted to Flickr. And all of my Google docs.

How about you?