Editorial Archive

Guardian: “Mad for Macs”

Jason Walsh, in an editorial for The Guardian, wonders if the kind of fawning devotion that Mac users have for their computers could persist if the Mac were to achieve more widespread use. For example, fans of the ill-fated Cube and Newton are fanatical, but is it really cool to love an iPod, now that everybody has one? It's a timely question, with the spectre of a low cost mac on the horizon.

Apple Is Up the Market Without a CPU

"Despite its current misadventure with Linux, Sun isn't in the generic desktop computer business. The Java desktop is cool, but it's a solution driven by necessity, not excellence. In comparison, putting Mac OS X on the Sunray desktop would be an insanely great solution for Sun." read the rest macnewsworld.com

File Systems and Databases

The topic of combining a database system (usually a conventional relational db system) with a file system to add meta-data, a richer set of attributes to files, has been a recurring discussion item on this and other sites. The article published last week, Rethinking the OS, under the heading "Where Is It Stored?" talks about the ability to locate a file without knowing the exact name or location.

Opinion: Thanks, Microsoft

Though Microsoft is the behemoth that everyone loves to hate, the computing world actually owes a lot to Bill Gates and co. And though it's possible that someone else would have blazed the trail to "a PC on every desktop," in our world, it was Microsoft that did it. Update: Now with page breaks! (My fault -- David)

What alternative operating systems need to learn from Microsoft

I just spent the last several days reading the lengthy essay "Ying and Yang of Security" which explores the origins of security on the personal computer and explains why the current models are outdated. It seems to argue that security systems designed to keep the system safe are relics of the days of mainframes when the system was more important than the user, but for a personal computer the user is more important than the system.

Opinion: Learning The Basics

A couple of days ago, I read an interesting article by Kevin Kostis about how complex computer systems are and how they have a long way to go. I have to partly agree with his assessment, however a lot of folks don’t take the time to learn about there own investment.

Regarding High Level Computing

The IT sector today is a complete mess. The end-users rarely understand this, but most insiders reach a point when they realize that things should be different. The problems are numerous but they all reduce to a basic principle. IT and consumer electronics companies are interested more about money than helping people solve their problems. Of course companies need to make a profit and nobody denies that. They should however make money by helping people and not by creating more problems for them.

The Software Industry’s Identity Crisis

The software industry is undergoing a gradual transformation, and consumer fatigue is at its root. The licensing model that has formed the basis for the modern software industry is facing challenges on many fronts, and the industry is scrambling to keep its footing. Where this period of change may lead software producers and consumers isn't quite clear, but some trends are emerging. Since the proliferation of the internet, unauthorized redistribution of digital goods has become rampant. But although software sharing probably won't kill the software industry, the reasoning behind it shares some pedigree with the customer revolt that promises to transform the way software is sold.

Basic Lesson #4: Can You See It?

In this lesson in the Clueless Computer User series, Ed Hurst will discuss more about stability and interface issues. A popular buzzword these days is "interface". That's just a fancy word implying that two or more people are face to face. In actual practice, it usually means anything but face to face. It's a means of interacting with another. You are said to "interface" by some means. So it is with computers.

Open Sourcing Infoware with Distributed XML

Tim O'Reilly has spoken often over the last year about how to apply the ideals of open source with the slow and eventual shift from dependence on software to dependence on information. The new software is 'infoware'. In Applying Distributed XML toward The Open Source Paradigm Shift to Infoware, I propose that we can preserve the freedoms to innovate with data and to fork infoware by working with locally hosted xml files like we do with RSS.

To be Backwards for Compatibility

Lately posted on Slashdot, an article written by Joel Spolsky mentioned the trouble through which Microsoft went to make each version of Windows backwards compatible. In one case, for the game Simcity, they even changed the way memory handling was done when running that application. You can find additional stories of software tricks that recent versions of Windows have to perform in order to run these bug-dependant applications on the web. After reading the story, I discussed with a couple of friends how weird this was and how Free Software completely avoids this problem.

Free Can Mean Big Money: The Open Source Economy

I read something in one of the comments for an OSNews posting a couple weeks ago that sent me thinking. It wasn't an original or profound thought. In fact, it's a rather commonly-held opinion that happens to be quite misguided. It's an opinion summed up by the "open source = communist" meme that gets thrown around in thousands of flamewars all over the internet. In this essay, I will explore why this idea is wrong and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of economics.

Building The Next Generation, Part 4: Usability

Computers are complex systems but it's a mistake to assume they need to be complex to use. However, usability is not as easy as it may first seem. It is a different discipline from software development lacking the strict logic or having a "right way". There are only differing requirements and differing collections of guidelines. Making things easy is difficult.