Desktop Linux

InfoWorld has a special report:

Industry research company IDC predicts that enough companies will see the benefits of a Linux desktop to increase paid shipments of the operating system from 3.4 million clients worldwide in 2002 to more than 10 million by 2007, giving Linux a small but respectable 6 percent of the desktop market.

Linux captured the No. 2 spot as desktop operating system in 2003, says IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky. IDC sees Linux maintaining that No. 2 position and growing ever so slightly but not becoming a dominant force or even a major force.

Seth Godin on Blogs

Seth’s Blog suggests that blogs may have got it “backward”, and suggests two changes:

A lot more blogs should be posted in chronological order, like books. If you’re trying to chronicle something, it makes a lot of sense to start at the beginning, as long as you provide regular readers an easy way to just read the current stuff (That’s what RSS is for, right?). No, this isn’t right for gizmodo. But it makes a lot of sense for someone, say, chronicling her experience in a 12 step program.

We need Movable Type or someone to create a simple way to create “greatest hits” pages. Not an archive, but a simple way for a new reader to read the ten posts we want them to start with, in the order we want them read, before they dive in.

A comment from Joi Ito:

I think that blogs are creating a new format that people have become used to reading. Regardless of whether it is the most effective format, people are now accustomed to seeing new posts on top, stuff in the sidebar, etc. Granted that many people are reading blogs for the first time, I think that there is too much momentum to make a dramatic shift in the way we present information on blogs without a lot of confusion.

I think that making a “greatest hits” page easier to create makes sense. I personally like wiki pages for that sort of thing, but I could imagine it being built into a tool. Another thing people do is to put a sidebar section of favorite items and permalink from there.

Or maybe there is a way to create another view that allows you to read a blog from the beginning. That should be that hard.

Linux Journal Editors’ Choice Awards

Here. Among the winners:

– Server Hardware: HP ProLiant BL20p G2
– Personal Computer or Workstation: IBM ThinkPad T41
– Security Tool: Clam AntiVirus (AV)
– Web Browser or Client: Mozilla Firefox
– Graphics Software: The GIMP
– Communication Tool: mutt
– Desktop Software: GnuCash
– Software Library or Module: Pango
– Development Tool: BitKeeper
– Database: PostgreSQL
– Mobile Device: Sharp Zaurus SL-6000 PDA

Search Strategies

The Boston Globe writes:

Microsoft is investing $100 million to enhance search on its MSN consumer Internet service alone, and millions more on multiple search efforts throughout the company. They range from improvements to its custom search offering for businesses, to a more prominent role for search in the next version of the Windows operating system, called Longhorn, to a research project, dubbed Stuff I’ve Seen, aimed at integrating searches for data and files on computers and the Internet.

”There’s no reason to think the ultimate search experience is a little box with a big long list,” said senior researcher Susan T. Dumais, a Maine native who is leading the integrated search effort at Microsoft Research.

Just as they were in the mid-1990s, when they pressed their campaign to overtake Netscape Communications Corp. in the Web browser market, senior Microsoft executives are understated in describing their initiatives, and their strategy, in the search arena.

”If we can get out and provide a better search engine, which we’re in the process of doing . . . it has a lot of upside for our business,” Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president in charge of the company’s MSN service on the Internet, told financial analysts.

The emergence of search as a key technology platform for computer users in their homes and offices, driving everything from online shopping to business research, took many at Microsoft and elsewhere in the high-tech industry by surprise. But what really has caught the attention of executives who once regarded search as an afterthought has been the recent explosion of search-enabled online advertising. Microsoft, though still only the number three player in search, saw a 43 percent growth in online advertising in the year ended June 30, enabling its MSN business to record a profit for the first time.

”Search has become the Holy Grail for Microsoft,” said Gene Walton, founder of Walton Holdings, an independent equities research firm in New York. ”No one expected paid search ads to make so much money. It’s a new trend, and it’s a trend that no one thought was going to work. That’s why Microsoft avoided it. Now they want in.”

Key to Microsoft’s strategy is embedding search more conspicuously into Longhorn, the new Windows version expected in 2006 or 2007. While company officials won’t be specific, DeBruyne promised, ”Search will be a pervasive part of the experience. A search box will be part of every window in Windows. It’ll always be available.”

The ability to capitalize on its operating system is seen as a huge competitive advantage for Microsoft in search, just as it was when Microsoft knocked Netscape from its perch in the Web browser market. Microsoft survived a long-running federal antitrust case, which focused on the tie between Windows and the company’s Internet Explorer browser, by agreeing to operate under a court-ordered consent decree. It’s not yet clear what effect, if any, that outcome will have on its efforts in the search arena. But in Silicon Valley and beyond, jaded Microsoft watchers talk of the company preparing to ”pull a Netscape” on Google.

News.com writes about Microsoft’s plans to personalise search.

Email, IM and SMS Integration

Russell Beattie writes:

I want my phone to work with every single messaging app we use here. I want to be able to send an SMS and have it alert people via IM, get copied to people’s phones, send off emails and get logged to a central blog available via RSS. I want people to respond and have those messages go back to the original user wherever they are. I don’t want to think about it either, I want it to “just work”.

SMS messages are so great because they’re 1) Reliable 2) Available to everyone and 3) easy to use. No setup, two fields to fill out (or just one if you’re replying) and off the message goes. It’s no wonder people are sending billions of the things – they’re just damn nifty. But I spend all day online at work, so I want SMS to cross that border into my PC-based world. I want it to skip the gap from my pocket into my office.

When I get a message, I don’t want to have to stop, look around for my mobile, click a few buttons and get some info that I can’t immediately copy into a window on my PC. I mean, I’m sitting in front of a full keyboard and can type 60+ words a minute… why am I click on on this damn keypad again?

I wonder if what I’m looking for is integration or remote control? I think integration. I want to step out of the office for a sec and ping the IM client of a coworker without making an effort. Yes, I have Agile Messenger and yes I have their phone numbers. But I want to use SMS as what I’m doing is definitely under the definition of “short message” and maybe that coworker isn’t particularly down with SMS just yet and isn’t sure why his phone beeps randomly at him every once in a while.

TECH TALK: A Tale of Two Summers: A Rainbow of Revolutions

10 years is a long time in the world that we live in. The past decade has seen an amazing amount of change. Weve lived through the best of times with the Internet and technology boom. Weve lived through the worst of times after the bubble burst. The Internet, cellphones and wireless networks, broadband have all happened in the past decade. Even as we come to turns with one revolution, there is another waiting in the wings.

In India, there is what I call, a rainbow of revolutions seven of them happening simultaneously: computing, as PCs become cheaper and proliferate; mobile communications, as cellphones materialise everywhere around us creating a ubiquitous envelope of connectivity; software, as open-source weaves its magic and helps construct the real-time world; broadband, as high-speed networks lurk around the corner; the Internet, as access to it becomes faster, better and cheaper; content, with everything that we need to know becoming available in a few clicks; and commerce, with the way we buy and sell coming in for an upheaval.

The developed world saw these revolutions happen sequentially. Emerging markets like India will see all of these happen in parallel, creating a marvellous amplifier of rapid change and development. The challenge is for us to catalyse and capitalise on all that we see happening around us.

The Internet brought the same opportunity in 1994. Then, it was a medium for connecting people and computers, irrespective of geography. It was a new way of doing things, powered by open standards and globally connected systems. Islands of communities and nations became integrated into a bigger, emergent whole. The Internets impact was greatest in the developed markets which had the platform with its existing base of computers to exploit it to the hilt.

2004s rainbow of revolutions brings similar opportunities to emerging markets, multiplied many times over. But whats needed is the creation of new platforms across computing, software and content to leverage the new developments. These revolutions are about creating the foundation to do good and do well. There is little in the past that can guide us to the future. What happened across a generation in the developed markets will happen between two elections in a country like India. There are no maps to navigate the future, only compasses to indicate general direction.

I am reminded of William Wordsworths The Rainbow:

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

In 1994, I was an entrepreneurial child. In the summer of 2004, I have grown. As I see the world ahead, these two summers ten years apart are uncannily joined together as I think about both the opportunities ahead. The moment in time that I stand today, linked by the rainbow of revolutions, makes the heart of an entrepreneur leap.

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