Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Microsoft die, die, die!

AppleMatters posted an interesting article a few days back which argues that Windows Vista will be the last operating system Microsoft ever produces. It's been sitting at the back of my mind ever since, and I think they have it right, but for the wrong reasons.

Russell Beattie had it right,
If someone's using a PC to demo the next big thing, then it's not the next big thing... - Russell Beattie
The future is in mobile computing, ubiquitous computing and location based services. If you're building something that even requires a desktop machine to access you're not looking very far ahead.

All my mail is stored on a remote server, I access it via IMAPS and I can have multiple clients connected to my mail, all seeing the same thing. My calendars reside at .Mac, although Google Calendar is starting to look good because as well as iCal import/export support they provide a decent web interface, and .Mac still doesn't. My pictures are on Flickr and my bookmarks are on del.icio.us. My source code is stored on a number of remote servers in CVS repositories, and my data is mirrored between my desktop machine and my laptop. But the data itself could just as well be on a remote server somewhere. In fact that would be preferable because at least I'd know where the master version was, sometimes I get in a muddle that rsync has trouble sorting out.

I travel a lot, and internet access is almost ubiquitous now. I spend more of my time interacting with remote services than I do poking around my laptop's local file structure, without the internet my laptop becomes a rather overlarge paper weight. The arrival of services like Amazon S3&trade is making me think about whether I should be changing the way I work entirely. We'll always need servers, but is the desktop finally dead?