I just ran across an article in the Guardian (UK) in which GNU creator (and founder of the Free Software Foundation) Richard Stallman minces no words about the cloud computing phenomenon, calling it a “trap.” TechRepublic bloggers have written skeptically about the concept, especially where it concerns privacy and security issues, and others have reported on particular cloud initiatives such as those of Google and Amazon.

Stallman’s comments to the Guardian go beyond merely skeptical, however: “‘It’s stupidity. It’s worse than stupidity: it’s a marketing hype campaign.'”

The article also quotes the equally underwhelmed Oracle founder Larry Ellison:

“The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do,” he said. “The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?”

Maybe it’s just the effect of the U.S. election season on me, but I find it so refreshing when people just say what they really think, in no uncertain terms. What a concept! Here is Stallman’s advice for the computing public, which for anyone who is feeling a little mistrustful of the powers-that-be these days, is bracing:

“One reason you should not use web applications to do your computing is that you lose control,” he said. “It’s just as bad as using a proprietary program. Do your own computing on your own computer with your copy of a freedom-respecting program. If you use a proprietary program or somebody else’s web server, you’re defenceless. You’re putty in the hands of whoever developed that software.”