It’s just data

It Just Works

Robert Scoble: What do you think? Did I miss anything in my list of 12?

Jamie Zawinski (1998) Linux is only free if your time has no value

Ray Ozzie (via Joshua Allen) Convincing case that “Internet makes software deploy at lightspeed”, is not the same as saying “Web apps deploy at lightspeed”.  He’s framing the discussion as software on the Internet, rather than thin-client DHTML.

Simon Willison: the key reason that open source development tools are so compelling: they put you in charge of your own destiny.

Scoble tosses out a softball.  I’ll bite.  As a developer, I do run a few things on the bleeding edge, so for that I agree with Simon above.  But mostly, I’m a user.  I want things that just work.

For years, I ran Windows as my desktop OS.  Sure, I flirted briefly with Netscape when it came out, but I switched back to IE because frankly it was better.

A few years ago, I noticed something.  IE was abandoned.  I was abandoned.  I didn’t like it.  So I switched first to Mozilla, then to Firefox.  Sure, tabs were nice.  But even better was the support for standards. And the lack of pop-ups and spyware.  I understand it that IE now has blockers.  And there is even a promise of a next release.  But will I be abandoned again?

Then I had my registry go corrupt.  At the same time I was being hassled for GenuineCheck and then a legitcheck when I simply wanted to download a security patch.  I had already given up two hours of productivity a week to virus scans.  I had enough.  I switched to Ubuntu.

Ubuntu boots off of a CD.  It comes with Graphics, Internet, and Office tools.  Where I had once ran AIM with advertisements and could only connect to a single service, I now run GAIM with no ads, can connect to multiple services.  And I even get spell check.

But I’m a developer.  I want more.  I want ruby.  And subversion.  And cvs.  And build tools.  Each is only an apt-get away.  There even is a convenient GUI for this.  Ray’s vision of the future, I have today.  And whereas Windows Update kept the OS and selected Microsoft tools up to date, the Debian packaging manager keeps everything up to date and in synch.  Without ever needing to reboot.

And there is more.  If I ever felt the urge to build a PBX, I’d do an apt-get install asterisk.  If I wanted to build a DVR, I’d do an apt-get install mythtv.

The latest version of Ubuntu was released last month.  The next version?  April.

Convenience.  Security.  Predictability.  More options.  Less hassle.

I like that.

Jamie’s 1998 observation has effectively been flipped.  At least for me.