Saturday, April 07, 2007

Micro ... who?

Microsoft is Dead by Paul Graham

Read the whole thing, it's short, well written and deep. It gave me a great feeling of liberation that this is finally official, ie. that a real expert has said it. It's not a bash Microsoft article, it's just taking the current trend and extrapolating. Paul Graham predicted the main reason back in 2001, with his essay, The Other Road Ahead, that the new way is web apps, that the old way is desktop

Unfortunately, in Schools we will have to wait around for a while longer while the corpse rots. Schools lag xx years behind the times, substitute some figure between 10 and 100 for the xx

Paul Graham has his own reasons, very good ones too:
  1. Google
  2. Ajax
  3. Broadband
  4. Apple, surprisingly!
I knew some of this already (through reading other Paul Graham essays) but I think there are other reasons too, like the OLPC and the leverage that will provide for new ways of doing things, particularly the rise of free and open source software

Bill Gates has left the sinking ship and hopes to make a name for himself helping the poor


Wara said...

Thanks for that link Bill.

I'm not convinced about the Apple bit, and I see you were surprised at that as well, as I think that Linux is a huge player
that was not mentioned but in spirit the article makes lots of sense to me.

Certainly with the release of the Google
office applications
and Ajax
resulting in the potential for free access to applications for education
others I feel that we are seeing a kind of return to mainframes
and terminals
for use with all sorts of applications including graphics.

This is one of the reasons that I am so excited about the idea of the OLPC
project, especially playing with one at the moment until monday evening.
I have been reading your posts here
and here
Bill regarding this project with a lot of interest. I am not so
worried about the quality of the applications that the unit has. The
exciting thing is a tool built to be robust and for kids that has wireless connectivity (so can connect to the internet and make use of the growing plethora of web based apps) that is cheap and affordable and to quote you

"The tremendous positive potential in the deliberately designed intent of the OLPC project is shown by its core
(worth reading in full) of child ownership, low aged,
saturation, connection and free open source. By deliberately designed intent I mean all of the hardware, software and educational
political intent of the project"

The funny thing is that education departments and so on are still thinking in terms of grand software infrastructure in a climate where the focus has shifted to fat pipes and small loosely joined apps.

Bill Kerr said...

hi wara,

your last para is spot on:
"The funny thing is that education departments and so on are still thinking in terms of grand software infrastructure in a climate where the focus has shifted to fat pipes and small loosely joined apps"

I think the importance of Linux is implied in Paul Graham's article since he is mainly talking about the rise of web apps ("small pieces loosely joined") and since the internet mainly runs on LAMP (Liinux, Apache, MySQL and one of Python, Perl, PHP) then Linux is certainly part of the mix. He just didn't spell that out in the same way as he spelt out the other factors.

Possibly for Paul Graham and other developers Linux is just part of their normal background environment, so much so that they hardly notice it anymore. eg. here's a quote from another of his essays:
"Lately companies have been paying more attention to open source. Ten years ago there seemed a real danger Microsoft would extend its monopoly to servers. It seems safe to say now that open source has prevented that. A recent survey found 52% of companies are replacing Windows servers with Linux servers. [1]

More significant, I think, is which 52% they are. At this point, anyone proposing to run Windows on servers should be prepared to explain what they know about servers that Google, Yahoo, and Amazon don't."
- What Business can Learn from Open Source

In Schools, partly due to the government schools Microsoft agreement, we are faced with difficult task of trying to get rid of something that is going no-where, entrenched and bleeding us dry