I’ve been on vacation for the past week and a half in the Bay Area. I mentioned this on my del.icio.us but not here, since I figured I don’t update this enough to really impact the update frequency. I loved CA. I’m still decompressing (still over 2500 RSS items to read, and that’s after unsubscribing from some feeds) so this will be even more disjointed than my normal posts.
I was reading Lessig’s The Future of Ideas and he argues for end-to-end designs and dumb networks. World of Ends makes the same argument. As web developers, are we making the network too smart? Or are web applications just more ends to the network?
Do web applications side-step the GPL? If I make a bookmark manager for the desktop using GPL libraries I’m forced to release my application under the GPL, yet del.icio.us isn’t required to be open source (and I’m not arguing that it should be). I’m not the first to raise the issue but it seems to violate the spirit of the GPL, if not the letter. Perhaps a software bill of rights for web applications needs to be drafted, something that guarantees access to my data on your server, open formats, etc.
Why can’t my bank give me an AJAX competitor to Quicken on their site? Web applications are best suited for dealing with remote databases, why deal with importing my account data into a desktop program when it’s already on their server? I wonder if Intuit has some sort of backroom deal to keep online-banking stupid, the way they keep the IRS from serving people online in any useful manner.
Airlines tell us not to operate cellphones on flights because of potential interference risks. If all a terrorist needs to take down an aircraft is a cellphone then perhaps we’re better off with semaphore. Maybe the open spectrum initiatives should rephrase their argument in the language of scare mongering. Can you tell I was reading Lessig’s chapter on open spectrum during the plane ride?
More later, maybe.
Expect to see Apple very interested in the Wine project when the x86 systems reach consumers. If OS X can run Windows binaries natively then there will be two commercial desktop OSs, one that can run Windows programs and one that can run Windows and OS X programs. It’s not a shoe-in win for Apple though, also running Windows didn’t save OS/2.