Tagged: Futures

Microsoft starts to Talk about Longhorn again

Longhorn logoMicrosoft has started to talk up Longhorn again, so they must be getting more confident as we move towards the release of the beta.  Here are some of the main articles and interviews, and my extracts and observations.  My overall observation is that these articles show a very feature driven view of Longhorn.  Not at all the experience driven vision that was presented at the 2003 PDC.  Hopefully this is just because Microsoft are only talking about specific features they feel confident to discuss right now.  As the whole Longhorn wave of Operating System, Office tools and third party applications begin to be talked about we will see a real step forward in the user experience.  However I don’t think we will really see the vision until we see the client and server vision coming together and by that I mean.

  • Longhorn Client and Longhorn Server
  • Office Client and Office Server
  • WinFS Client and WinFS server and a WinFS integrated SharePoint Server
  • Longhorn Client Security integrated with the federated and peer group security features we see glimerings of with ADFS and Groove
  • Office Communicator and Live Communications Server extended with Groove like peer group collaboration
  • Groove like capabilities built into …

Could Microsoft Kill Linux?

I have speculated before on the subject of Microsoft’s options concerning competing with Linux, but it seems to receive little serious debate, so I thought I must be off track, either technically or commercially.  In my view Microsoft would extend its Services For Unix product to comply with the Linux Standard Base requirements and would therefore support Linux applications.  For many corporates this would be a dream come true, access to all of the Open Source applications that support either Windows, Linux or both, and of course it would also benefit both users and developers.  However Microsoft have told me they have no interest in doing this (but they would wouldn’t they).  So in that context it’s interesting to see this article by John Dvorak, How to Kill Linux, where he says:

The immediate usefulness of Linux running under Windows is obvious. You can use all the Windows drivers for all the peripherals that don’t run under Linux. Drivers have always been an issue with Linux as PC users have gotten spoiled with Windows driver support. Today’s user wants to grab just about anything and not worry about installing it and making it work.

That said, there is no …

RSS and the benefits of a standard format

I have evalgalised for a while the innovation that is unleashed in clients and servers when a standard format exists for passing information beteen them.  RSS is a great example of this, and Dare makes the point strongly in this article, a snipit from which reads:

RSS is a wonderful example of the higher level of interoperability that can be built upon XML formats. Instead of information sources using various incompatible mechanisms for providing information to end users such as NOAA’s SOAP web service and the Microsoft.com web services which each require a separate custom application to consume them, sites can all standardize on RSS. This standardization creates an ecosystem of applications that produce and consume RSS feeds which is a lot larger than what would exist for each site specific web services or market specific XML syndication formats.  Specifically, it allows for the evolution of the digital information hub where users can view data from the various information sources they care about (blogs, news, weather reports, etc) in their choice of applications

He goes on to point out that RSS goes one better by allowing domain specific extensibility whilist still allowing standards based readers to consume feeds:

Additionally, RSS is extensible. This means …

Way to go Adobe!

Adobe Acrobat v7 release is really quite astounding, with most if not all of the key infrastructure functionality from the full V6 product now bundled into the new version of the FREE Reader.  It’s a perfect split of the features needed by content creators and content consumers/reviewers.  Microsoft look VERY VERY hard at this and learn the lesson that Adobe is teaching you here and OpenOffice.org will teach you when they build X/Forms support into OOo, and make OOo an essential part of everyones desktop Infrastructure and destroy the market for InfoPath and possibly MS Office XML documents in general.

Way too many portals

Its seems that everyone has a solution on the way for inter-enterprise collaboration.  Use their portal and only their portal or application!  The problem is that OpenText, Microsoft, IBM, Groove etc all want you to use their solutions, for example:

Workplace creates a unified front end for technologies facing suppliers, customers, and employees, according to Larry Bowden, vice president of the Workplace division at IBM. Each of those users has different roles, but they are tapping the same back-end information sources through Workplace, he added. ?Collaboration among peers within an organization is moving toward organizational productivity, which shifts toward [collaboration] between organizations,? he said.

Well that’s not my vision of collaboration!  I want something more along the lines of POP3, RSS and Trillian (a bit of a mix of standards and products I know but hopefully you get the idea).  All you enterprises out there can use whatever collaboration solution you want, but when I connect to you and integrate all your portals into my Personal Knowledge Management environment I want to aggregate you using bog standard protocols and the clients of my choice.  Of course these enterprise portal applications could be aggregated by portlets as well for people who don’t have the …

Simply does it

Adam Bosworth has posted a nice talk on the importance of simplicity:

I gave a talk yesterday at the ICSOC04. It was essentially a reminder to a group of very smart people that their intelligence should be used to accomodate really simple user and programmer models, not to build really complex ones. Since I was preceded by Don Ferguson of IBM and followed the next day by Tim Berners-Lee, it seemed especially wise to stick to simple and basic ideas. Here is the talk

I could not agree more.  One of my observations is that simple protocols used to access well defined services lead to explosive innovation.  HTML/HTTP, POP, IMAP, RSS etc are all great examples.  Hopefully someone will figure out how to achieve the same innovation when things get just tht little bit more complex.  For XML/Web Services in general we are not there yet – too complex – and we are still waiting to see the widespread adoption of innovative clients and servers hopefully that’s where tools like the Infopath/Office XML/Longhorn Shell/WinFS, Indigo and Haystack  and OOo/XForms etc will come in.

Many layers of virtualization!

I have mentioned before how much I like VMWare and how I have been using it not only to support my Labs requirements for years, but also as a secure client to my company network, ala VMWare ACE.  I have also been looking at other application Virtualiszation technologies and Server Based Computing approaches, so it was nice to see a couple of the ideas nicely presented in this article on using VMware ACE combinted with SoftGrid, here is an extract:

What is perhaps less well known is that VMware can also provide an important service for desktop hardware. This is partly because its desktop capability is still evolving. The VMware desktop capability, VMware ACE, is currently in beta release. It provides a standard virtual hardware configuration for the desktop, including the OS, web browser and all the applications – all of which are distributed from a central point. VMware ACE solves a major desktop support problem by enforcing standardization and thus making local software installation of any kind unnecessary. It is not the resource utilization that is the issue here, but manageability.

However, on its own VMware ACE does not solve all the support issues. This is where Softricity’s SoftGrid …

Jonathan does it again

Yet again Jonathan Scwartz continues his policy of openly and very clearly describing Sun’s strategy for all to see.  I have never seen the like of it before, although I can only commend him for it.   As always I strongly recommend that you read his blog regularly, but here are a few snipits from his latest post which I liked:

On his positioning of the role of Linux today:

But let’s be clear. Do I expect an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs to pick up the Java Desktop System? No. No way. He’s not our target demographic, not a route to make 120 million into 1.2 billion. A call center in Bangalore, a factory in Tennessee, a generation of kids that care more about ringtones than Win32 legacy? Dedicated internet terminals in shopping malls, touch screens in phone booths, the world’s academic environments? There’s a market calling.

Which I found interesting because many of these applications are best served by embedded or thin client approaches rather than a full Linux distro.

Why is music download on phones measured in the billions of dollars (vs. the paltry music download business on PCs, even with iTunes)? Because phones are authenticated (with a …

Microsoft – Inremental innovation as well as integrated innovation

Microsoft has made much of its “integrated innovation” value proposition.  But for many enterprises its incremental release of feature packs is probably of more interest.  This is evident when you look at both XP and 2003 Server, but 2003 server is the more impressive of the two. 

So far Microsoft have released the following feature packs:

Automated Deployment Services (ADS). Available as a download, ADS for Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, includes a new set of imaging tools that enable you to automate the deployment of Microsoft operating systems.

Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM). For organizations that require flexible support for directory-enabled applications, ADAM is a breakthrough in directory services technology based on the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).

File Replication Services (FRS) Monitoring Tools. A number of tools are available for managing FRS, the replication engine that keeps Distributed File System (DFS) shares synchronized, including both continuous monitoring tools, such as Ultrasound and Sonar, and snapshot troubleshooting tools such as FRSDiag.

Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). GPMC simplifies the management of Group Policy by making it easier to understand, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot Group Policy implementations.

Identity integration. Identity Integration Feature Pack for Microsoft Windows Server Active …