With my hobbies and interests, it is difficult sometimes to keep things in perspective about my favorite tech fantasy. (no it is not watching COPS). My tech fantasy is a world where all major computer technologies are open source (free to look at, not necessarily free to use) and well documented, and conform to standards agreed on by a majority consortium. I have been using Linux as my primary OS since 2003 now, and I can say that it appears that tremendous progress is being made in that direction.
I can remember back when I opened up the Mozilla browser and travelled around the web only to find that everything looked different than in Internet Explorer. OpenOffice seemed a poor substitute for Microsoft Office, with terrible Microsoft Office format support. Configuring my networking setup on Debian was masochism at best, and I generally spent more time fixing stuff than enjoying the experience. In fairness, I have moved to easier and easier distributions, so this has helped in some areas.
IMO, a lot of necessary changes have taken place that have been essential in making the Operating System irrelevant. OpenDocument support is almost ubiquitous amoung the top tech leaders, and I have a feeling that Microsoft will catch heat with Office 2007’s OWN “openXML” spec. Proven leaders like Google and Adobe has shown that Linux is capable of running ported software with ease. Websites I have found using ActiveX are slowly being reworked to run on Java instead. Now Novell is bankrolling development in some of the areas that Linux has been critized for lacking. All of these things pale in comparison with the importance of the shift in systems running services on the machine to running these services on the web.
Couple this with the massive public relation beatings that Microsoft is receiving, and I think my fantasy is closer than ever. Below is a very informative “timeline” link from ABC about Microsoft’s problems:
And just for the record, this isn’t just a Microsoft bash. I have these issues with any company that tries to CONTROL any aspect of computing.