Archive for May, 2007
pageoftext.com, which hosts wikiclock, is only ridiculous in its simplicity. Why didn’t I think of that?
In the mid-90s lots of companies sold expensive attempts to make web development more like desktop or client/server development (e.g., by shoe-horning state, UI builders and controls and object-relational mapping into the web paradigm), when all developers really wanted was a way to reliably connect to a database from scripts running on a webserver.
10+ years later similar companies have taken a sharp turn (but not 180 degrees) and are now shoe-horning web development concepts (e.g., URLs, markup and other declarative programming) into their desktop and client/server frameworks. This is what it seems to me Rich Internet Applications are about, though admittedly I have not been following all that closely and am even more in the dark about what exactly is “in” the Apollo, Silverlight, or JavaFX “stack” than I was about the specific features of what came to be known as application servers in the late 90s.
I gather there is lots of fear about damage proprietary RIA frameworks could do to the open web. There’s plenty to be concerned about, and RIA vendors and developers should be encouraged to go open source and for maximum interoperability with the web. Perhaps I’m less than worked up because I see proprietary RIA as a rearguard action (NB web applications are complicated for open source completely independent of their use of “rich” frameworks), albeit one that may significantly improve some desktop and client/server application development.
The web can eat toolchain bait like this for breakfast. And, if Mozilla has anything to say about it, it will do just that. You won’t have to give up the web to work offline any more, or programmable 2D graphics, etc. Soon you’ll have the power of 3D and great desktop/application integration as well, via projects like canvas3d and registration of content handlers, and you’ll have it in a way that’s built on open specifications and a tool ecosystem that isn’t a monoculture. Why wouldn’t you choose the web, given its record and power and openness?
Shaver’s post also concerns a debate about whether Mozilla should put more of a focus on its desktop development platform, in addition to its applications, primarily Firefox. I haven’t been following closely, but at first glance the debate strikes me as idiotic. XULRunner is just yet another desktop application development platform. Who cares? Yes, I think Songbird is a neat application that also happens to be built on XULRunner. But the web is a far more interesting platform, and Firefox (or to a large extent, just Gecko), not XULRunner, is the client development environment for the web. If Firefox had not been built on XULRunner, how many people would care or notice?
Mozilla has the right focus for another reason, hinted at by Mitchell Baker:
The Mozilla Foundation will continue building the Mozilla platform. And application developers who have high quality improvements to make are very welcome contributors. But the idea of the Mozilla Foundation de-emphasizing applications in order to transform ourselves into a general purpose “platform” organization — giving up the fundamental focus on the human being a application focus provides, reducing our ability to help individuals directly — seems an absolute non-starter to me.
Development frameworks have no
1. LimeWire (18.63%)
2. Azureus (3.43%)
3. uTorrent (3.07%)
4. BitTorrent (2.58%)
5. Opera (2.15%)
6. Ares (2.15%)
7. BitComet (1.99%)
8. eMule (1.98% )
9. BearShare (1.64%)
10. BitLord (1.38%)
It’s a little odd to include all those BitTorrent clients, given their very different nature. All but LimeWire, Ares, eMule, and BearShare are BT-only (their P2P download component — Opera is mainly a web browser, with built in BT support). Recent versions of LimeWire and Ares also support BT, so another provocative headline would be “LimeWire the most popular BitTorrent client?”
Most recent (for surveys publishing numbers in 2007) usage share for Firefox ranges from 11.69% to 14.32%. Of course usage share is very different from installation share (compare Opera installation share above at 2.15% and recent usage share between 0.58% and 0.77%) and P2P filesharing and download clients have different usage patterns, so any comparison is apples to oranges. However, if one could extrapolate from the Opera numbers for installation and usage, LimeWire is not more popular than Firefox.
LimeWire is still impressively popular. This probably is mostly due to open source being less susceptible to censorship than proprietary software (which has a half-life shortened by legal attack in the case of P2P). Still, I’d like to see LimeWire gain more recognition as an open source success story than it typically gets.
The really interesting speculation concerns how computing (and ok, what may or may not have been called Web 2.0) would have been different had P2P not been under legal threat for seven or so years. Subject for another post. We can’t go back, but I think it’s very much worth trying to get to a different version of there.
Yes, I know about significant digits. I’m just repeating what the surveys say.
For some reason I find religious allusions, well, hilarious. Almost as hilarious as hearing people say that Jesus Christ is their favorite philosopher.
My faves from David Weigel’s liveblogging of tonight’s debate (which I have not watched yet) among A, B, and C-level Republican candidates for temporary dictator of the U.S. jurisdiction:
From the first half:
8:38 [PM EDT] – Thompson, who sounds like a corpse exhaling its Ka, defends the right of businesses to fire based on sexual orientation. Seriously, he sounds awful.
9:13 – Sam Brownback: “I think personal beliefs of everybody shape everybody.” As Brownback himself might say: Jesus Christ.
However, Toyama Koichi is the best entertainment value of all and he does it without religious allusion. I can’t stop watching this! (Seen on Boing Boing, EconLog and Reason in one monster feed catchup.)