Percloud Overview

Welcome to the percloud proposal! To know more about its author, and how to support his current work, please click here

Introduction #

PERsonal/PERmanent, peer-2-peer Cloud” or percloud for short, are the temporary 1) names for the alternative to centrally-controlled, privately-owned cloud computing services that I originally described here.

Problem definition #

Cloud computing means using software programs and/or storage space for your files, that exist and are installed somewhere “in the cloud”, that is on some remote hardware accessible through the Internet and any Web browser, instead of the computer, smartphone or tablet that is physically in your hands.

Cloud computing is terribly convenient because it lets you use all sorts of software based services without doing anything first, or knowing anything about software installation and management. Gmail, online calendars, online storage like Dropbox or Flickr, social networks like Facebook or Twitter, shared bookmarking systems like, are all applications of cloud computing.

Cloud computing is terribly inconvenient because:

  • it is a privacy nightmare: everything you do with it happens and is stored on somebody else’s computer. You have NO way to be sure that there will not be abuses
  • it is like a prison that can disappear in any moment, leaving you to search for the next cloud prison, in which you can lock yourself and start over

No matter how popular they are, Web services can disappear, become useless, lose your data or kick you out by changing their pricing or terms of service in any moment, for any reason. Think for just a moment to Geocities, Myspace, Second Life or Ning if you don’t believe it. And when that happens, you’re left with a lot of messages, contacts, content and other stuff that is either lost or very difficult to migrate properly, that is to keep exactly as accessible and useful as they where in the old prison.

What is a percloud? #

The only way to solve for good the problem above is to continue to do cloud computing, but in your own cloud. In one online place, that is, that is almost as easy to use as those services, but belongs to you and you can move in any moment to any computer you want. Without losing your stuff, or any of your interactions with other Internet users.

The percloud is a tool to make this happen. In non-technical terms, a percloud is one bundle of Free/Open Source software that you can install, or ask others to install and manage for you,, that creates for you, and keeps accessible for by any browser, two Web pages:

  • one “user panel”, which would be more or less equivalent to what a Facebook wall looks today: ONE single, continuously self-updating page in which you can post text or other content, read news, exchange direct messages with other Internet users and get notifications when other percloud users mention you in their “user panel. See “Percloud services” below for a temporary list of what you could with your percloud
  • one, separate, “control panel”, to handle all the configuration and upgrades of the percloud software

The architecture above has one key advantage: if you are already able to use Facebook, Dropbox, Gmail and similar stuff, you will also be able (i.e. skilled enough) to use the first “panel” on a daily basis, to do the same things you are already doing today inside those centralized services. At the same time, any hosting provider, but also any public library or any NGO, for example, may provide both the hardware (that is the computers permanently connected to the Internet) to host your percloud and manage both its installation and upgrades on your behalf. You could install and manage a percloud entirely by yourself if you wanted, but it is not necessary

In all cases, regardless of who installs and initially manages them, you could have as many perclouds you want, and always remain their owner, free to move them in any moment to any other computer, without losing any data and connections.

Percloud services #

The goal of the percloud is to provide one place for personal, personally owned:

  • email
  • blogging
  • social networking
  • online bookmarks
  • online storage of files, pictures and other content
  • integrated cryptography for all the services above

How can I make it happen? How can I know more? #

Please read the percloud FAQ and roadmap first. Next, if you have any questions, add them in the comments or send me an email. To fund the first phase of the project instead, go here.

1) pending checks for trademark violation and similar. You’re welcome to suggest alternatives!

Last modified: 2013/09/18 08:25

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