Total posts : 45366
As mentioned above we are tending to come full circle from mainframe to PC back to mainframe (cloud). At my University in the early 70s our department was the first to connect to the mainframe from a remote terminal. The whole thing was about control and we had to contend with things such as BTAM interface and EBCDIC coding which meant we could only use terminal equipment from one manufacturer selected by the University. The system was down more than it was up and the reason given was “hardware issues” when the truth was that remote terminal uses were given low processor priority so batch jobs which generated income could run at higher priority. This was a sound business decision but it discouraged key to disc applications.
When minicomputers became available (such as from DEC) the University formed a central computer use committee which was charged with approving or not all computer uses campus wide, and from whom permission to purchase a computer with grant funding had to be granted (it never was until much later).
Our department eventually became the first on Campus to be allowed to buy and operate a mini system with the condition that it didn’t include a compiler and therefore it wasn’t a computer! Our justification was that we needed 24/7 real time data acquisition and key to disc capability for patient care in the hospitals. We arranged funding through research grants and patient billing so this required no support from the University.
When PCs became available in about 83 the University would not permit purchasing them unless permission was granted by the central computer committee and this was given only on the condition that they would control the uses of the machines. I recall arguing with them that the PC will become a commodity such as did the electric typewriter but it didn’t fly. This policy continued until I left in 85.
It wasn’t about efficient use of computer technology, it was about control and I feel the same way about the proposed “Cloud Computing”. With control comes money and this is probably the driving factor. Some people and businesses will welcome relief from the burden of maintaining their stand alone desktop applications but this will restrict what others whose apps don’t fit the mold can do.
How are you going to like it when apps you want to run are subject to the control and permission of a central provider and you have to pay each time you do so? I don’t welcome this thought since I have already lived it and it was a great impediment.
As more control goes to the Cloud Providers there will be less software available from the little guys who many times share for free or for a nominal fee. I have already tasted this with the problems I had with Win 7 mentioned earlier. I believe this will be a major step backward and am going to try to keep using the software and hardware which I already have, independent of the Cloud, for as long as possible.