Ethical Components Regarding Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus has a lot of vulnerability when it comes to ethical assessment.  Eucalyptus puts the power of a cloud at the keyboard of its users.  It is open-source and the community could potentially use it with malicious intent.  Who can be held accountable if the software is used for destructive purposes?

Eucalyptus has a very broad terms of use policy.  It simply states that contributors and users are responsible for the contributions they make toward the project and the implementation of the software. Users agree that it will only be used for lawful purposes.  Though, in the technology world, there is a lot of grey area. Laws often vary from state-to-state and even more so on the international level.  What if a cloud is hosted in one state, where the laws are loose, and is utilized in another state where they are very tight?  What legislature applies?  This area is still very undefined, and proposes great risk to contributors, users, and Eucalyptus’ responsibility.

On the other hand, the more detailed the terms of use becomes, the less versatility and flexibility you have with the software.  You begin to remove the open-source aspect that the project is based on.  The more you tell users what the software can and can’t be used for, the less likely they are to use it.  It becomes more of a burden to follow all of the terms of use than is worth it.  It’s essentially a catch-22.

I think the most obscene part of the whole project is the business structure.  When I buy something, I prefer to be told up-front how much it’s going to cost.  Eucalyptus gives a trial of there software, then you face a fee for continued use.  If you can’t quite figure out the incredibly dense and technical documentation, you’ll be charged a service fee for any help.  If you want to further specialize the software with add-ons, you’ll probably pay for those too.  Welcome to the Americanized version of marketing, where we nickel-and-dime you to death before you even have a working product.

I still think Eucalyptus has a lot of potential, but it requires a great deal of attention to business structure and project management.  Implement release dates, and stop nickel-and-diming to reach profitability.


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