what are the most popular building and packaging tools for python ??

Alex Martelli aleaxit at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 26 12:15:14 CEST 2004

kosh <kosh at aesaeion.com> wrote:
> One of the thing that makes those kinds of webservices different is that you
> can easily leave. Yes google is currently the best but there are lots of
> other search engines that are good enough and would get better pretty rapidly
> if google went nuts, vanished etc. That is part of the degree of protection
> since the person is not really locked in google has to behave or lose them.

Right, and exactly the same applies to any closed-source app that
doesn't hijack your data.  Consider Google Mail: are you going to
regularly download copies of everything to be safe?  Possibly, then you
have the exact equivalent of an application which is closed-source but
has an 'export' function (as they all SHOULD have).

> > Some tolerance for closed source is one thing, hijacking users' data is
> > the bit that REALLY makes me see red!-)
> There is no doubt this should exist I have just seen a number of cases where
> it does not and companies get screwed pretty badly.

You're preaching to the choir on this point.  Let's debate closed-source
apps _with_ a decent import/export function to standard or anyway easily
accessible data formats.

> > And Bengt's idea (apart from requiring a highly specialized CPU in lieu
> > of pretty generic network access) doesn't appear to be any more
> > objectionable than web services, either.
> The webservice one is much less of a burden on the system. You can upgrade

Sure, it runs on another system.  But it's more of a burden on your
network, which roughly may even things out.

> your computer, use it from a different computer, use it through a proxy etc.
> The application running on your machine tied to some id on your cpu you can't
> do that with. Many web services even work with a wide range of browsers so
> you are not tied into any given os, browser, hardware platform etc.

I wish more web services did support a wide variety of clients (not just
browsers, of course), but, sure.  But the point is a webservice which
does require you to authenticate to exploit it fully (as google does:
the google API requires you to register w/them, they do NOT want you to
just screenscrape from them even though they can't fully stop you...
yet).  If your machine's ID changes, a supplier will be happy to sell
you some "hardware upgrade" service w/a new license (we did that
routinely at my previous employer, even though the ID was just something
we synthesized ourselves, quite crackably); just as a commercial
supplier of a webservice requiring authentication will be happy to sell
you more bandwidth, more diskspace use on their servers, and so on.

The difference in business models is nowhere as drastic as you make it,
in other words.
> Yes your data can still be locked in a proprietary format kept only on the
> server so you never see it except to see reports on that data and I suspect
> that does happen but many services make it very easy to get all of your data
> out of the system. 

So do many proprietary closed source applications, though (just like for
webservices) definitely not all of them.  Data hijacking is a completely
separate issue, and, as I said, one of my hobbyhorses anyway, so let's
leave it out of a debate where it doesn't really enter.

> So while the webservices can do some of the negative things the crypto cpu
> would it also automatically makes many things far better. If my computer

Nothing automatic about it.

> takes a lightning strike I can use another computer to use the webservice
> right away. With the crypto app you are pretty much screwed until you go
> through the whole authorization song and dance.

So does the webservice, if it uses (e.g.) IP address as part of your
authentication (quite a few do, to avoid the obvious piracy idea of
paying for 1 computer using it then use it from five -- of course, these
days, with NATs and dynamic IPs, it's more likely that there will be
involved such things as certificate files... which will go if your
computer takes a lightning strike...:-).


More information about the Python-list mailing list