I've been thinking a lot over the past few years about data on the web, and in particular open data. How can you build a system such that your data doesn't get locked in to a particular vendor. In his recent blog, Tim O'Reilly takes it a step further, and discusses his concerns about a Web 2.0 OPEC where three or four cloud vendors lock everyone in because they become a black hole for data.
There's a lot of very interesting stuff in his article, and is worth reading twice. Here's my favorite quote, a call to action:
If you care about open source for the cloud, build on services that are designed to be federated rather than centralized. Architecture trumps licensing any time.He even refers to Prophet, a peer-to-peer database system I didn't even know existed.
With Prophet, it’s easy to build custom database applications and synchronize your data with your friends and coworkers – all without a central server.
Prophet supports arbitrary topology synchronization and has an advanced conflict resolution database which helps make sure that the entire database ‘network’ works its way toward consistency even when disconnected users make conflicting choices about how to resolve any given conflict.This is way cool - those of you who've been reading my blog know I was thinking about this a while ago. And one of the reasons I think this is very important (and Tim does too) is it gets rid of the need for a centralized data repository like Google or Facebook. You can collaborate and broadcast your content without having to rely on Big Brother to hold it for you. That's fine, thank you very much, I'll keep it for myself.
So I'm definitely going to take a closer look at Prophet...
And here's to Tim's call to action: architecture over licensing! Join the Federation and fight the Data Borg!