Thinking Past Platforms

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Doc Searls is challenging the big OEMs to think outside the Microsoft PC box. It was three or four years ago that Searls observed that Linux is not a platform. Here he is back riffing on that theme...
Thinking Past Platforms: the Next Challenge for Linux

Towards the end of the article he challenges us in the FOSS community to stop thinking of and advocating Linux as an alternative to Windows/OS X. This is a very good point and one I, personally, should have thought of a long time ago.

Some years ago I was dealing with an issue that had nothing to do with computers. There was an organization that had a virtual monopoly of defining, setting the dialogue, and determining what were valid solutions. I became involved with a new organization that was advocating a new approach and formed a local meeting. One of the rules of that meeting was that we did not bash the dominate org or talk about issues in contexts as defined by that org. The point here is simple. Had we used the framework of that dominate org we would have been in effect validating their point of view and thus dragging unwanted baggage along with it. By insisting on development of a framework free of influence and fully independent of the dominate org our group could then grow and live regardless of whether the then dominate org continued to exist.

It is this strategy that led me to observe that the Mono project was braindead at birth. It is why I have a long history of being against Java. It is why I spent several weeks re-ripping my CD collection into the ogg format (and why I have essentially stopped buying music from labels that are members of the RIAA). It is why I try to find hardware that has FOSS drivers.

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The real linux challenge

Hey, thanks Ken, wonderful article.

But why are we throwing the gauntlet only at "hardware OEMs" ?

The gauntlet needs to be thrown at software engineers.

I mean hardware is all fine and everything, but software is always lacking.

What we need is "Turbo Tax - Linux Edition" sold at Wall Mart. That is a big part of why Windows dominates the (desktop) market, software, not hardware.

Throw down the gauntlet sure, but include software engineers not just hardware.

Scott Dowdle's picture

Java and Mono

I assume your reservations about Sun's Java have gone away... now that they have finally decided to free it up by releasing it under the GPL. I'm not sure everything has been released yet... but they appear to be committed to doing so.

Mono is licensed under a combination of the GPL, LGPL and MIT licenses so it is free software. I assume you object to the fact that Microsoft surely has patents related to .Net stuff, eh?

The whole patent thing is a bunch of crap anyway. It is like MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction)... all large technology companies file for patents just so they have something to defend themselves with if they are sued for patent violation. The whole patent trust that has been established by the various organizations is a good thing.

Red Hat avoided Mono until the release of Fedora Core 6 which includes it... so at some point the patent paranoid (and rightfully so) Red Hat decided that Mono was safe... mostly due I believe to the patent trust that had recently been established.

Microsoft can threaten all they want... I'd love to see them sue someone. While that might turn out to be a very long, drawn out and expensive endevor, I don't see how Microsoft could win... and in losing the source of all of their FUD would dry up.

Once SCO is six-feet under, we will have a reason to rejoice... but that is only one battle in the war.

To me, Mono is saying... yeah, Microsoft... we did it... what'cha gonna do about it now... Mr. Tough Guy?!?

To me, Mono will eventually become a bridge by which Microsoft only software vendors can cross over to Linux... but maybe we could get lucky and everyone switches to C++ and QT... or some other major OO language comes along that offers a cross platform GUI.

I'd love to see someone clone Apple's Objective C based GUI framework and make it cross platform.

Oh, I agree with you 100% on the ogg vs. mp3 thing... and hope to someday convert my video collection over to ogm format.

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