followups on my guadec posts

I got a ton of feedback on my guadec posts. Some thoughts, and related news bits:

  • Scoble posted yesterday on the coming platform wars between Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and eBay. What is free software’s answer to that? Obviously the ‘spend billions on centralized servers’ approach won’t work for us; we likely need something P2P and/or semantic-web based. AllPeers is an example of the P2P approach, we’ll see how it pans out. I suggest semantic web because there is no reason that flickr couldn’t use the same open-garden model as technorati does for blogs, if the right standards were developed and widely deployed. Those are more complex solutions and need people to start on them now, not after Google, Yahoo, and MS have already won.
  • Steven O’Grady has an excellent piece on not caring about platforms in the future. Go read the whole thing, but in a nutshell, he wants his data to float transparently and not have to worry about a lot of the stuff we currently worry about. Great thinking about how improvements to data flow can help users kick ass without worries. Cote also has a similar great post about web v. desktop, and data interop. Punchline, for me: “What most desktop applications lack now-a-days are features that are fully web-enabled, in a bi-directional sense.” Exactly. The desktop framework of the future must have web integration built in in order to win. (Tangentially: all three of the Redmonk blogs should be required reading for everyone serious about the Big Picture in Free Software; they are providing excellent analysis that normally we’d have to pay gazillions for.)
  • Steven also pointed me at, which looks like a great starting point for some services. An order of magnitude more expensive than I’d like (compare their $1.80/Gb/month to S3’s $0.15/Gb/month) but based on open tools (rsync! ssh! webdav!). Someone partner with them and let me point f-spot at it. Quick. :)
  • ‘Who owns the platform’ is a common question about .gnome (or .free, or whatever you want to call it.) I really don’t have a good answer to that one. It seems possible that Novell will not embrace anything that comes from Fedora; Fedora possibly wouldn’t embrace anything coming from Ubuntu, etc., etc. Would a third-party company be embraced by all the players (including and especially the community?) I really don’t know, and it seems like this might be a critical question. The obvious ‘solution’ is for the Foundation to get entrepreneurial, raise the money, and set up everything in a way that makes it obvious that the community is the beneficiary of any profits, but I would worry that that puts all eggs in one basket and excludes real competition, which benefits all of us.
  • The thinking about our platform and .gnome is not ‘gnome v. web apps’, it is ‘any application that is either all desktop or all web is likely to be sub-optimal.’ Every great app needs both. A great dev platform must make it easy to integrate the things that can only be done with the web (trivial cross-platform sharing, for example) and easy to integrate the things that can be done best with a rich client (search cross-tool integration, for example.)
  • Mike Linksvayer responded to one of my posts with a post about ‘Constitutionally Open Services‘. It needs a catchier name, but his thinking is dead on- we almost definitely need a server/service-oriented list of freedoms which complement and extend the traditional FSF Four Freedoms and help us think more clearly about what services are and aren’t good to use. (See also, tangentially, flickr’s potential decision to grant zoomr API access in a GPL-like share-and-share-alike way.)