An excellent article by the Solaris boss in News.com on the present future of software:
Computer operating systems are irrelevant, or should be, to most people.
To home and office users alike, it’s the applications that run on top of the operating system that really count. To the developers who create applications and Web services, it’s the middleware–the application server, directory, and so on–that counts.
The only people who should be concerned with the operating system are the chief information officer and folks who manage network resources. They’re the ones who have to deal with questions of availability, security and scalability–the capacity to grow without adding undue complexity.
Developers shouldn’t need to think about the OS; they should be able to aim higher, at a new software category I call the “service-delivery platform.”
The aim of the service-delivery platform is to make it just as easy for developers to create a large-scale service as it was to create a single shrink-wrapped program for a standalone PC. Developers need to know that certain components are always going to be there–a directory, a network file service, an application server. Those are the components of the service-delivery platform.
Although part of the base platform, these components may also come from a variety of companies offering open-standards-based technology, so long as they present a set of core services that developers can count on–and no proprietary extensions or libraries to cause porting problems.
Exactly the way we need to think of the Emergic platform.
A Click Saved: Shortcuts Through Everyday Software:
Shortcuts are particularly handy with the modern Windows and Macintosh graphical interfaces. The icons and menus available on today’s machines may be easier to learn than the “command lines” of earlier computers, but they can nevertheless be cumbersome, requiring a fair amount of attention and hand-eye coordination. Shortcuts let you quickly dispatch frequently used commands.
Shortcuts will be important because they along with file formats are very big entry barriers in people adopting alternate operating systems like Linux. Shortcuts provide a certain familiarity to users. For the key Linux programs, it will be important to actually replicate the Windows keyboard shortcuts to break one of the entry barriers.
Spam: An Escalating Attack of the Clones in the New York Times:
Spammers are like fruit flies. They multiply. They are elusive. Worst of all, they evolve quickly. The most aggressive spammers have become very sophisticated, constantly varying subject lines, “from” addresses and body text.
Brightmail says the volume of spam it encounters has almost tripled in the last nine months. The company adds that 12 to 15 percent of total e-mail traffic is spam; a year ago, that figure was closer to 7 percent. Brightmail, which maintains a network of In boxes to attract spam, now records 140,000 spam attacks a day, each potentially involving thousands of messages, if not millions.
Spam is the biggest problem with email. NYT also has an article on tips to combat spam.
Interesting ideas from Lindows which we may want to keep in mind when we are ready with Emergic:
In order to increase the number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), system builders, systems integrators and value-added resellers taking on its new desktop OS, the San Diego, California-based company is introducing subscription-based licensing for systems builders.
Instead of the usual per-unit fees, systems builders will pay a $500 monthly membership fee, which will entitle them to install the LindowsOS operating system on an unlimited number of computer systems. Lindows.com is also stating that there will be no volume commitments for system builders that sign up to the program, and no software activation codes requiring tracking and auditing.
The company points out that according to recent figures from research company IDC, 58% of the total PC market is provided for by “unbranded” PC computer vendors. This is a market that the company is eager to tap into with its version of the Linux operating system, which is designed to enable users to run some Microsoft applications unchanged. The company is also offering system builders immediate access to software, desktop customization, hardware burn-in tools, eligibility for LindowsOS certification and access to the company’s Click-N-Run Warehouse application library.
Information Management for the Desktop: “I’ve wondered from time to time, however, how I might use the database to centralize all the information on my system. For example, I have some useful information floating around in e-mail archives, never to be read again. I suppose I could learn the search/grep commands that would let me revisit old e-mails, but that doesn’t seem productive to me. Now, if the old e-mails with useful information could be transferred to my database, I think that would be nifty. ”
Using IMAP is one possible solution. Posting important messages on to a “mailblog” can be another idea — it allows for quick scanning of messages (more than can be seen in a mail client at once glance).
Joel on Software is a must-read for anyone in software development. Here’s a small excerpt from his Strategy Letter V:
All else being equal, demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease. In general, a company’s strategic interest is going to be to get the price of their complements as low as possible. The lowest theoretically sustainable price would be the “commodity price” — the price that arises when you have a bunch of competitors offering indistinguishable goods. So, smart companies try to commoditize their products’ complements. If you can do this, demand for your product will increase and you will be able to charge more and make more.
Red Hat hears desktop Linux calling:
Cost and security issues with Microsoft’s software, combined with the arrival of the Mozilla Web browser, have triggered Red Hat’s interest in a desktop Linux.
The key to open-source software success on the desktop is to outflank Microsoft, not to clone Microsoft’s Windows and Office, Red Hat CEO Szulik said.
Combining Linux with a GNOME or KDE interface and the open-source Mozilla browser, there’s room to compete by selling inexpensive computers used only for basic tasks, he said.
“Our research and our customers tell us they’re basically using PCs for (Web) surfing or for opening mail attachments–doing very basic, lightweight work.”
Think Thin Clients and Digital Dashboard, not just Linux replacing Windows on the Desktop.
Eclipse casts shadows, writes Jon Udell in InfoWorld:
When the IBM-led consortium launched its open-source tools framework last fall, tongues began to wag…The very existence of Eclipse challenges the Sun-backed open-source tools framework, NetBeans.
What almost nobody disputes is that Eclipse is hot stuff. The Version 2.0 build we tested shows that Java can indeed produce a major-league application that is comparable to Visual Studio .Net and that is both speedy and faithful to the Windows GUI, which even most J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) developers prefer.
Could either Eclipse or NetBeans be the platform to build Visual Biz-ic?
Cloudmark, a startup, has come with an interesting anti-spam tool. Kevin Werbach: a distributed response to a distributed platform.
Walter Mossberj, one of my favourite columnists, writes this week on the type of users whom the Apple Mac is suited for. It would be good to do a similar article for Linux. That probably won’t happen, because most of the world has given up on using a Linux desktop.
There’s the world which can afford to pay for it, and then there’s the world which just pirates it. Either way, its Windows everywhere. So, the solution is not to just create another OS, but to change the game from the hardware side. Think disruptively about dramatically reducing the cost of the system on which the OS runs, and then create an OS for that low-cost hardware. That will make people stand up and take notice. That is what creates a new market. That is what we want to do with the Thin Client-Thick Server approach. That is the opportunity for Linux on the Desktop. This market doesn’t exist today, but will be at least 500 million (the current installed base of PCs and Windows) by 2007.