Writing in 1972 for Rolling Stone magazine, Stewart Brand described the nascent ARPANET (the computer network which would one day evolve into the modern Internet) with a mix of hope and unease that could be translated surprisingly well in the modern era. “How Net usage will evolve is uncertain,” wrote Brand.
There’s a curious mix of theoretical fascination and operational resistance around the scheme. The resistance may have something to do with reluctances about equipping a future Big Brother and his Central Computer. The fascination resides in the thorough rightness of computers as communications instruments, which implies some revolutions.
18 months ago I went on a quest: to quit, entirely, using all the products of just one company — Google. It should have been a simple task, but instead it took me six months to find enough functional alternatives to make the move and close my nearly decade-old account.
A year later, I’m proud to report that I am still Google free. I’ve not only kept using most of the alternatives in my original article, but have found several others that make my Google-free life even easier. …
When you buy a product like Philips Hue’s smart lights or an iPhone, you probably assume the people who wrote their code are being paid. While that’s true for those who directly author a product’s software, virtually every tech company also relies on thousands of bits of free code, made available through “open-source” projects on sites like GitHub and GitLab.
Often these developers are happy to work for free. Writing open-source software allows them to sharpen their skills, gain perspectives from the community, or simply help the industry by making innovations available at no cost. …
On March 11, a Vice President at Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud computing behemoth, published a blog post announcing the release of its own version of Elasticsearch, a powerful open-source software search engine tool.
Elastic is a public company founded in 2012 that is currently worth over $5 billion; the vast majority of its revenue is generated by selling subscription access to Elastic’s search capabilities via the cloud. It’s based in Amsterdam and employs more than 1,200 people.