Richard Bucker

integration, convergence, happy desktop - what's next?

Posted at — Jun 6, 2012

I’m banging away on my development system; installing Fedora-17 and VMware tools for kicks, watching some YouTube, and skimming some emails, reconfiguring iChat, iCal, Skype, MailApp and Sparrow; and thinking about what would make a real productive desktop. Windows, Mac, Linux, *BSD, console-mode, proprietary GUI, X-Windows, is there a cloud or virtual platform that makes sense, what about ChromeOS, ChromeBook?There are just so many brands, platforms, tools, development environments, and purpose built tools that it’s almost impossible to be a user and a developer at the same time.As a user, project manager, and business person; I need access to word processors, spreadsheets, accounting software, some purpose built applications for reporting, IM.As an architect, developer, testing; I need access to the command line, the necessary desktop development tools like IDEs, access to various databases, remote systems, IRC.The list goes on and on, but the truth is that there is no one “slim” platform that offers all of this goodness of which there are 3 and a half platforms. (1) Microsoft Windows + SkyDrive + Office (2) Apple OSX + iCloud + iWork (3) Chrome or ChromeOS + Google Drive + Google Apps. (3.5) is OpenOffice.Microsoft, Apple and Google all have their own hardware platform. Microsoft tried some privacy limiting moves a few years ago and was slammed. Apple did it and people did not seem to notice. And with Google people don’t seem to care.Microsoft and Apple offer standalone apps for the different desktop apps where Google offers a virtual separate app for each function, however, they load lightning fast and they perform as needed most of the time. OpenOffice is built on Java and as fast as the JVM is supposed to be OpenOffice is just not there.But when I put on my developer hat the Google platform is more of a handcuff than a tool. Only Microsoft and Apple offer reasonable toolsets. Google will need to offer a sandbox for development if it’s platform is going to get the attention of devs.