Small Cloud Survey

Posted by on Dec 22, 2009 in ownCloud | 6 Comments

I will give a presentation at Camp KDE as some of you might know. The topic is KDE and cloud computing. The idea is to give an overview over the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing compared with native Qt applications. I plan to give some ideas how we as a free software community could combine the best of both world and see what we have to do to create something which is better than Chrome OS combined with the traditional KDE Desktop and still have control over our own data.

I would like to have some input from you how you see the advantages and disadvantages of web based applications and storages compared with KDE Desktop apps.
So the questions are:
1. Advantages and Disadvantages of web based application for developers
2. Advantages and Disadvantages of web based application for users
3. Advantages and Disadvantages of KDE Desktop application for developers
4. Advantages and Disadvantages of KDE Desktop application for users.
Please post you answers below this blog post or send it to
Thank you for your help.
Happy holidays.


  1. Johan Thelin

    The biggest advantage (imho) of cloud computing for users would be ubiqious presense of applications and data.

    When I write users, lets say that the average users will not use the full power of being able to buy computing power (i.e. to do large scale data processing).

    The disadvantage, for all, is the dependency on the net (you cannot reach your applications or data when the net is down).

    Another disadvantage, or outright flaw, is the security of your personal data. Where are your files stores? By whom? In which legislation.

    If your files are saved on the same server as a criminal’s files, your files are likely to be taken offline if the police decide (right or wrong) to take that machine.

  2. kakos

    ad 2. Advantages and Disadvantages of web based application for users
    – advantage: data is generally safer, especially config data. I always forget to back up sth from my .config files when i am forced to reinstall system (applies to Windows and Linux which i use)
    – advantage: data can be accessed from everywhere (PC, laptop, girlfriend latpop, www)
    – disadvantage: lack of good integration with desktop, portable devices.
    – disadvantage: some applications, like IMessengers, can’t be done in a good way in cloud

    4. Advantages and Disadvantages of KDE Desktop application for users.
    – disadvantage: .config data is not synced between different installations (i use KDE apps @Windows)
    – disadvantage: KDE desktop applications are not well integrated visually into GNOME desktops.
    – disadvantage: KDE apps have slow startup on Windows
    – advantage: i like KDE GUI (Okular, Kate are usable robust applications)

  3. Mike Arthur

    I’ll assume here you mean by web-based application an application that is running on a server that you don’t have to control/upgrade/etc. as that’s normally what’s meant by cloud computing.

    1. Advantages of web based application for developers
    – You can pick and choose your language and setup transparently to the user.
    – Updates and fixes can be easily and quickly deployed to all users.
    – You don’t need to compile and ship the application on multiple platforms
    – It’s easier to demonstrate on any machine

    2. Advantages of web based application for users
    – You can access it and share data from any machine
    – You can delegate upgrades/backups to the service provider
    – You don’t need to worry about losing your work if your machine crashes
    – Most of the processing is done by the server rather than your machine
    – Usually a simple and familiar web-based interface

    3. Advantages of KDE Desktop application for developers
    – You don’t need to test your application across browsers and Qt should handle it across platforms
    – You don’t need to handle deployment issues for every user
    – You don’t need to worry about scalability or understanding databases

    4. Advantages of KDE Desktop application for users.
    – If written properly, can be more powerful and responsive than a web application
    – Private data can be kept locally and you have more control over your backup or upgrades
    – Easier to recover or access your data on a fault or with no net connection

    At the moment I think for all but the very complex applications (e.g. photo/sound/video editing) desktop applications are rapidly losing ground to web applications. I think if KDE wants to make advances then they need to consider adding more cloud integration into some applications and perhaps provide open approaches to cloud computing (e.g. Ubuntu ONE).

  4. Paul

    Besides the ones already posted:

    web based application for developers
    adv: Relatively easy to scale to multiple servers
    adv: Huge potential audience that instantly includes all windows, MacOS, Linux, and even cell phone users.

    web based application for users
    adv: Trivial to enable collaboration. This blog post collects data from several users
    adv: No need to install software
    adv: Available 24/7 (typically)
    adv: Easy to search through since webapps can be crawled by search engines.
    dis: No portable and efficient way to make 3d applications or animations (games?)
    adv: Can choose any platform (even ones that dont exist yet) and web app will most likely work.

    KDE Desktop application for developers
    adv: Can do animation efficiently
    adv: Can do 3d efficiently

    KDE Desktop application for users
    dis: Need to install even a file browser in order to install dependencies of any app on windows. For example, if I want amarok, why do I have to install dolphin?
    dis: Slow on Windows.

  5. Cornelius Schumacher

    Web applications for developers
    + direct access to users
    + getting changes to users is quick
    + flexible presentation layer
    + broad range of excellent development frameworks in a multitude of programming languages
    – hosting is highly non-trivial
    – dealing with security and privacy is critical
    – browser incompatibilities
    – lack of standard user interface concepts
    – network latency introduces a whole new set of problems and complexity
    – many of the technologies used have not been designed for the purpose they are used for
    web applications for users
    + easy interaction with other users
    + ubiquity of data and applications
    + quick access to new features
    – limited control of application and data
    – browser incompatibilities
    – lack of user interface standards
    – very limited interaction between applications
    KDE desktop applications for developers
    + powerful, proven, standardized user interface framework
    + high performance of applications
    + easy to implement direct and fast user feedback
    + extremely well developed free software culture
    + well-suited for complex applications and user interfaces
    – packaging of applications
    – development mostly limited to C++
    – applications have lots and complex dependencies for installation
    KDE desktop applications for users
    + full control of application and data
    + great interaction between applications
    + proven, responsive, sophisticated, powerful user interfaces
    + independent of network connection
    + huge variety of applications
    – applications have lots and complex dependencies for installation
    – hard to interact with other users
    – hard to share and access data online

  6. skierpage

    Besides the advantages others mention, the presentation of information in Web applications is usually better than KDE apps. I can zoom the font and display of a web app, search the Web for selected text in it, copy and paste its text and images, view the selection’s HTML source, bookmark the application views I like (if it’s well-designed and uses the URL hash fragment well). All those useful consistent features across thousands of web apps outweigh the responsiveness of desktop applications for most kinds of software.

    There are browser applications that don’t save data on the web or even require a network connection, e.g. TiddlyWiki. I wish there were more of them using HTML5 local storage or straight save as HTML.


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