Linked by Perry Helion on Fri 15th Mar 2013 18:20 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Ubuntu has come under a decent amount of flack over the past few months, particularly over their decision to use the 'Dash Search' to return results from Amazon by default in their most recent release.
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RE[3]: Picking sides...
by hhas on Mon 18th Mar 2013 12:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Picking sides..."
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The problem is getting universal adoption.

Oh, I totally agree - it's often much easier to create a completely new, disruptive technology and get people to jump on that than make them accept non-trivial changes to an existing one. A classic example: look at what happened when Apple finally acknowledged it had lost the PC war, and instead set about massively redefining what "personal computing" actually meant. Much as Apple won by selling people a slightly better telephony solution, then waiting for the penny to drop as users start asking themselves "Hmm, wonder what more I could use this for?"

This is why I also suggested figuring out how to get the cloud to work right, because that would then eliminate the need to "fix" existing email or build a new ground-up architecture to replace it. Since ordinary operations on shared documents (read, write, share, notify, etc) could do everything that email can do, plus a whole lot more (trust, security, robust history, etc), why not put all your energies into ironing out that system and ensuring it achieves its full potential?

Users are already using the current [ill-defined, shlonky] cloud for basic non-sharing tasks (e.g. backing up personal files). So it's just be a matter of time before they naturally slide into sharing activities too: making photos available to family and friends, popping up a document tagged for attention of someone else on their contact list saying "what do you think?" and getting a notification back when the other person's annotated it with their thoughts, and so on. The trick is make the whole experience polished and seamless, so that it's quicker and less painful for folks to start working this way for everything than continue with the gnarly old ways (emails, chat, Word attachments, etc).

Once the network effect takes hold, you're well on your way to superseding the entire email architecture without any need to build a completely new technology, since all the relevant operations can be expressed as ordinary cloud interactions. Put your feet up and relax as traditional email usage eventually fades away. Result: not only have you gotten users onto a much better system, you've actually managed to consolidate and simplify[1] a decent chunk of the whole damn internet as well. ;)

And that's the sort of crafty lateral thinking that the FOSS world could do wonders with, if only they had a bit more of vision and boldness. Cheers.


[1] Not directly related, but always my favorite story on simplification:

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