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How cool would that be, your files are in iCloud so you know they are safe

My open-source stuff is on Github, sure, but none of my private code is. I run a Redmine+gitolite instance on a physical box in my house for my private and private collaborative projects (one on-site backup, taken daily and rolled over three days; one off-site backup, stored every week). My code stays local and on machines I control, and the same is the case for many other businesses. It's for that reason that I don't think what you're describing is likely to be so commonplace as to make local development "fall by the wayside" in the near future.

While I get where you're going, I admit I had to restrain an eye-roll at the idea that this will be "the thing" anytime soon if only due to inertia. A development environment for Android in the cloud would be "cool," until it breaks. I have a very overpowering need to control my toolchain and my environment and that doesn't mesh with what you describe. I find the situation you are describing to feel really fucking oppressive. Unsettlingly so.

(I don't see Apple locking down the Mac, by the way. I see Mac sales being cannibalized by iPads, but I do not see Apple, at least in the near future, killing its most attractive feature--flexibility. Both for developers and for consumers. I think Microsoft has a much better chance of offing the traditional desktop/laptop with WinRT, though I'm personally not a fan.)


I fully agree that something similar will eventually happen for a certain subset of development; there are certainly some developers to whom this no doubt sounds really awesome. But I think that, and I don't say this to be either insulting or patronizing, this may be a bit of projection on your part. This feels like a "Valley bubble" idea, a "wouldn't it be cool if" that ignores a lot of real-world use-cases. Even aside from the "ew, remote" factor for me personally, I think there are enough infrastructural hurdles to make this really difficult to do in the sort of timeframe you're suggesting.

But I am not the target market for such things anyway. I find "always-on" technology overwhelming. I find that my best development time is when I turn off the Internet and go sit outside and write code; I keep local copies of the Python manual, the Java APIs, and the MSDN library for that reason. (And my Mac is silent when I'm doing development work, FWIW.)

Perhaps I am wishcasting, but I don't think so. Here's hoping you're wrong. =)

"But I am not the target market for such things anyway."

I think we're more alike than you realize. My point is that there is much of what you and I do in our day to day development efforts that depends on the notion of "I own a computer, and I run these tools on it, and I get these results." And we can do that reasonably easily because even though our requirements are outside the mainstream (the target market as you put it) they are enabled because the piece work, the foundational stuff, is required for the target market, for now.

My prediction, fear, belief, what have you, is that the bulk of the 'investment' in terms of time and energy and thought power, will become more and more focussed on that market and worry less and less about what you and I are trying to accomplish.

Here is a milestone which you can look for in order to measure progress toward that future. When you see a GCC release which supports a system or processor where the only way to use it initially is through a remote API to some remote server with source code on some network accessible repository. The rationale will be

"We didn't want to delay releasing it for all the ports to 'catch up', most people can use it like this, installable packages for local OS'es will be available in a few {days/weeks/months}."

That is when you know that it has started changing 'faster' than people are willing to wait for the ports. Then the folks doing the ports will start to drop off because the number of people who use the port is dropping off because all the new kids just use the remote API anyway and you can do it from a command line as if it were running locally so why complain? But that milestone will tell you, to get the feature you want right now you have to use the remote version or wait for a port to come out. Here is a pointer to the source if you want to start porting it yourself.

Except the source will embed various network services which it can 'assume' are there, its the remote version after all, and you will have to code up an equivalent.

I've seen build systems like this, they are very powerful, I will buy you a beer and we can talk about the 'old days' when you could do development without having to be connected to the network. The kids will pity our backward ways. But the beer will be tasty as usual.

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