This is a question everyone of us should ask ourselves and have an answer soon.
In fact we are little bit late already.
Events unfolding in the business world tell the story in little bits.
Long time ago IBM sold its PC Business to Lenvo in China.
Just recently HP has discontinued its tablet and the PC business almost abruptly siting financial reason but in fact it is following the footsteps of IBM.
Whether we like it or not Cloud Computing is going to become a way of life.
Little wonder even the Microsoft has entered the fray and it is supposed to be in the forefront.
I just did a web survey and it is right in front and in fact well in front of IBM.
So what will happen to us the desktop users who got to change every time a new innovation takes us by surprise.
I was very enthusiastic and even would not listen to the Richard Stallman founder of the free software foundation (FOSS) who pressed the alarm button.
It is going to be a knock out punch for even free software and Linux, leave alone Microsoft.
Microsoft, Apple and Linux will take a backseat if the trend of Cloud Computing take root in industry if not in the home front.
Cloud computing is not a new idea but the lack of fast internet connection was the only hinderance to its developmemt.
Amazon Web Service had been providing cloud service long before the present market hype.
The Success of Amazon is due their long term vision to its entry into this field
well in advance of other players.
Well then what is cloud computing.
1. In the beginning it was SaaS.
That is Software as a service just like water and electricity.
For water we need tap and the connection to supply.
For electricity we need a switch and the connection to the grid.
For IT one needs only a dumb terminal with a browser.
It may not look like the dumb terminal of mainframe computing.
The window will be nicely decorated by the company log providing the service.
For example the Google.
Google has only the Chrome browser and a graphic panel to enter the name and the password.
No software or packages as we call in Linux in the dumb or the thin client.
Then there is another term.
2. IaaS that is Infrastructure as a Service.
All the computers, printers and other hardware is also provided and maintained by the service provider.
Ones company may be in Ceylon but all his hardware may be in China or Russia or USA.
In true sense a global phenomenon.
For me this is alarming.
Few big companies in the giant world will run everything from a distance without any physical connection to the clients.
They can dominate or they can terminate services with whims and fancies of the creator of the monster cloud.
Then there is the third factor.
3. Virtualization of the operating system, Apple, Microsoft of Linux.
All the type of distributions I have already written will be used only if they are active and used by majority of users.
Linux it is only 1% and I now agree totally with Richrd Stallman.
It will hinder expansion of Linux even though 95% the cloud and the servers are run by Linux .
They hijack Linux at the server end without any input on the user end except few browsers.
Ubuntu is the only Linux distribution which had seen this phenomenon.
CloudUSB is also Ubuntu derivative.
Jolicloud stand in between.
Interestingly enough sourceforge has eyeOS and it is testing its new release soon.
Now the Linux guys and girls have to work hard to prevent few companies like Google take advantage of the scenario and kick start and leapfrog the cloud computing.
I will be firmly behind eyeOS and I want EyeNux to come up strongly in a business like manner and prevent few companies hijack all the Linux innovations lock stock and barrel.
Similarly all new Linux distribution should have a strategy for cloud clients as well as cloud service.
It is bit late already and I am going to give a bonus mark for all new distributions with their own (Midori for example) browsers and cloud utilities. For the time being they have to have some collaboration with Ubuntu One.
BroweserPup should take the lead in cloud computing.
There should be a Linux Consortium overseeing Cloud Clients and Services.
If not all my efforts of promoting Linux 100 will be a colossal waste of time.
Hurry up guys and girls.
Think futuristic and not fatalistically and we can win and take the lead once again.