In my utopian dream world (something along the same lines as the one dreamed by Gene Roddenberry), when an abundant free energy source was found and we no longer driven by commercial concerns, everyone and everything would just work with each other to make the world (and space) a better place.
Standards would be open and adhered to. we would all use the best operating system because that was the one that everyone used and worked hard to make better. It wouldn’t matter if it cost more to produce because everyone would benefit in the long run.
Applications would talk to each-other and devices would too without the encumbrance of competing formats and incompatibilities – there would be one document format, one image format etc. and if a more efficient way was found to store data THE formats would be updated accordingly for the good of all.
It is the reality of microsoft and apple’s control of the marketplace that is forcing us all to look to the open world of the internet for our next paradigm in computing.
The cloud (as it is known) is the next battleground in the format war with Google taking an early lead but Microsoft preparing to exert its will on the net with Office Online. MS have previously had difficulty with their transition to an internet company (with the exception of hotmail of course which was already immense when they purchased it for $400 in 1997) and the industry is waiting to pass judgement on the new product.
Apple too seem to be preparing for an assault with the purchase of a massive new data-centre to host it’s cloud offerings (me.com was just the start) and the (apparently) imminent launch of a web tablet device.
The iPad (or whatever they will call it) will be reminiscent of Mr Roddenberry’s star ship bound devices but once again market forces are restricting the usefulness of the applications to be found there on because unless we all pledge allegiance to the fruit, we are again left with a choice between Apple’s OS, Google Android, MS Windows Mobile, Palm PreOS, Symbian and the many others. None talking to each other, the wealth of applications from one unavailable to others and the underground market of un-sanctioned applications confusing things further.
Even the much lauded Android is still owned by a commercial concern with restrictions on use built into it’s Ts and Cs.
It is the next generation mess caused by the same old companies. It sucks.
So much for capitalism, so much for the free market economy – at the end of the day the user communities suffer and the biggest corporate wallets win.