Unintended Audience

Nov 3, 2005

In looking at my site statistics this morning, I noticed that my previous post on Google and OpenOffice actually made it to NewsForge. That was surprising to me (albeit a pleasant one), but I certainly didn't expect such a wide audience for my thoughts on the matter. Had I expected such a turnout, I would have put a little more thought into the post before actually publishing it. As such, I'd like to clarify a few of the points I made.

My ultimate point was that, in my opinion, the office application battleground is likely to see more cut-throat action in the short term than operating systems are. I certainly cannot support this claim with fact. But operating systems seem to me to be a much more difficult problem to solve, simply because they are bigger, more complex beasts. As a result, it seems like it would simply take longer to create an excellent OS than it would an excellent application.

I also believed I oversimplified my stance on the Linux community. The points made by Greg Raiz in his recent article on Linux are exactly how I feel. Linux is certainly poised to encroach on Microsoft's territory. But desktop users need to have a reason to want to switch. As Mr. Raiz pointed out, a unified environment, where there's One Way to do things, would appeal to many people (particularly "newbies"). Apple was heading down that very road before they made the switch to a UNIX base.

A unified environment, where the user interface paradigm is the exact same for every application would be awfully appealing. I would certainly consider switching to such a solution. I want Linux to succeed. The more developers can weaken Microsoft's iron grip on the market, the better the universe will be for everyone. But there's a long road to ride down before we reach that point. Let's get to work!

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