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Nice piece. While I agree with most of it, I don't think I follow your (4) note. To me we are not in need of less disk space, but much much more. The difference might be that now it is not necessarely the hard disk on your PC. Lots of info is on the internet, or in your company's intranet and accesible remotely, or on your home server's disk or your DVD hard disk, or on your ipod or.... There's more and more data everywhere that needs storage, only the storage is found in more places than before thanks to the persistence of the internet, broadband connectivity and lan networks (in the office and at home).

Now, coming back to your reflection, what's the best way to access all that dispersed data? Microsoft's tell me the disk and I'll tell you where it is? or Google's type in the keywords and I'll tell you where to find it?

Thanks :)
I agree with you.

I think the local hard will be replaced by differents "nomad" storage (USB key, iPod, Photo, etc...) and an online "backup disk".

This is not a good news for MS and Intel : you don't need windows anymaore - you just need a webbrowser to access your online datas everywhere.

Concerning the future of music and video, I thing that streaming will repalce the downloading. With ADSL and broadbad, you can store you "life" on the net.

It's also a bad news for Apple.

Obviously your point of view is going to depend on the average ADSL speed offered at reasonable prices on your country, which right now is like 512k to 5Mb if you compare Spain and France.

Is reasonably priced connectivity going to grow faster than your capacity to collect ever growing amounts of data (video included)? In the meantime there might be as well a space for home networked file servers.

Regardless of where the storage is, I still see a Google like interface as the predominant point of access.

The future of broadband might be wimax. This solution offer easy connection especially for the emerging countries.

Can't have all you guys patting each other on the back, now can we? ...so here's a contrary position.

Firefox is irrelevant. A small percentage of the population will always use it, just like a small percentage will use the Mac. The web browser has been the new desktop since 1998 when Windows 98 took the componentized IE and plugged it into everything including the email system, file manager, help system, control panel, etc.

Microsoft doesn't need to bankrupt anyone. They just need to keep shipping Windows, with it's multitude of APIs and very good development tools in order to win.

It's not enough to prove that you can live without Microsoft. To generate a wave of support for a non-Microsoft solution it's got to be better by a factor of 10 at least. Firefox is a good David and Goliath story, and the press will lap it up... but what's the 10x strategy to win? I don't see it.

Very nice piece, I wish I has written it as a former Netscapee.. It's true that the vision layed out by Netscape starts to be true with applications like Google Mail, like Blogs, like Flickr, Bloglines, delicious or like Wikis...

Who needs desktop tools anymore except the browser ? Not many.. Well maybe those desktop tools that connect to web services.. As Laurent points out, Firefox includes a cross platform API to build rich applications using a new generation of open standards which has triggered already a big amount of extensions (Bloglines, delicious). Maybe the desktop tools you can get for free like OpenOffice or GIMP..

I remember the time when my family bought a computer and asked me for software and the only solution was either to copy illegally software or send them to spend some additional money for this software. Now just install free software for the basic stuff and train them on the web browser, by far the most important thing.

But as Alec points out, Micrososft is strong and even if Firefox makes a lot of noise, Internet Explorer still has a global statistic of over 90% and Microsoft was able to overturn the 80% lead by Netscape thanks to bundle tatics with Windows.

Now I do believe there is a chance of history not repeating and this browser to have a chance to change things. Why ?

- Firefox is currently really a better browser, popup blocker, tabbed navigation, right button search and many many others.
- First because there are signs that "prescriptors" are already using Firefox. Most webmasters, most technologist, most bloggers are using Firefox.
- Firefox is spreading fast using word to mouth methods. The prescriptors are fed-up with IEs problems and supporting other users so they direct these users to Firefox.
- Microsoft has done nothing on IE in the past 4 years (or more) and is caught as usual in the protection of its desktop monopoly. The technology community is aware of that and knows that it is not a partner to be trusted to solve the community's needs but only to take care of Windows. And the community's needs are pretty clear in the technologists mind:
-- standards, standards, standards
-- interoperable web technologies
-- no dependence on hardware and operating systems
-- upgrade when you need and not when the vendor wants
-- upgrade things separately and not all at the same time

Because of this vision, most projects are staying with standard HTML, introducing Javascript and CSS in a limited fashion (because of interoperability difficulties with the current browser having 90% of the market). Technologies like Flash, Java haven't found their users because they didn't meet all the needs although they met the "rich client" need. The community has shown that the other criterias where more important. This is also partly why .Net has very limited success. The ideal solution would be to see the advanced web standard proposed by Firefox being implemented by IE and Apple Safari. But Microsoft has never been interested.. So the community has stayed on interoperable web based technologies and introduces cross platform solutions as they come to do more. Otherwise they just say "no".

- Microsoft can do nothing against Firefox because Firefox has a stable model based on the open-source community and donations. The only thing Microsoft can do is catching-up technology wise and this would be a great win for the project.

So the conclusion is.. Firefox can take back the web and it is important that all of you participate in this challenge. It is important because Microsoft cannot allow Firefox to go over 50% market share otherwise they will really loose the web. If the market share of Firefox goes up, Microsoft will have to enhance Internet Explorer again in a interoperable way and everybody will have better tools.

So CEO Bloggers if you don't do it because your company gain productivity (tabbed browsing, popups) and reduce costs for management (viruses, upgrades), do it because you will help build a web that's more productive and innovative. This will be a win for your company in the end because your infrastructure costs and web strategy costs will reduce and/or the benefits from a web strategy will increase..

Take back the web

Thanks ludo :)
Nothing to add ;)

I mostly disagree with the article because it looks like just another rant against Microsoft and just another piece of Microsoft bashing without much merit.

- As a Firefox user, Firefox is better than IE.
- Firefox is not soooo much better than IE, it is just better.
- When IE was the best browser, Mozilla was still being developed. Mozilla recently caught up with IE in technology.
- IE is still a very good browser.
- From a developers' perspective, IE is the best platform to build applications on. Firefox is just a browser.
- Firefox is not completely standards complaint, and standards doesn't mean much to people.
- Standards are there for developers to folow, not for users to care about.
- Users care about whether your page shows properly or not in the browser they are using.
- Users also care about the quality of your site and or application.
- If you are a standards zealot and design a web app without using any javascript or any other technology because they are not standards, you might lose users to other sites which offer better features to their users. Users matter more than anything.
- "Standards" zealots will appeal only to other "standards" zealots.
- "Standards" zealots have nothing to do with real standards. They usually define their own standards, like not using a table tag, which is actually a standard in W3C.
- Zealocy will always lose with users and anybody associated with it lose with them.
- Netscape lost the war because they did a poor job in software development. I had installed netscape 5 or 6 I believe, several times because it was piece of crap and I just couldn't believe it. That software came from Netscape.
- Microsoft didn't improve much in the recent years, because it didn't have to. Nothing new is there for browsers. Firefox renders the same page, just like IE renders. Firefox simply has better features that I like, such as tabbed browsing. I have tried maxhton too, but I liked Firefox better. Firefox as a browser engine is not any better than IE's rendering engine.
- From security point of view, IE is better, because Microsoft has built-in security policies. Everybody knows how Microsoft is dealing with security problems, whereas I have seen Firefox fixing a two year security problem, only when it was published in one of the security mailing lists.
- The security problem was about the shell protocol, where IE5 was asking user for permission, firefox was executing it as it is. Firefox developers have admitted the problem, though firefox advocates and Microsoft bashers had accused Microsoft for their own security problem. That's scary and just a very strong proof that you should never ever trust Mozilla about security.
- There are tons of programs other than the browser. We still need those programs. Spending more time on the internet didn't diminish their values. We are still using them, we just spend more time on the internet.

Overall I think, we caught just another Microsoft bashing article, rather than a meaningful claim.

The assumption that we shouldn't use Microsoft office, or windows is only true for Microsoft bashers, not the average user. Only Microsoft bashers are trying to avoid using a Microsoft product. The majority of users out there are fine with Microsoft products, and they do trust Microsoft.

I think Firefox market will be limited. I have converted some of my friends to Firefox, some of them did like it, but most of them didn't even try it and refused to try. I am a Firefox user, but I love every other Microsoft program I am using, including Windows XP and do not plan to use Linux as a desktop.

My recommendation to CEOs, stay away from Microsoft bashers, they are not responsible when you make the wrong move and your company loses money. Their whole goal is to hurt Microsoft, not to help you. There is a huge difference between to goals. Be aware of what they are trying to do.

Given all the security holes that Windows and IE have, if one was to go back to 1994 and expose this to the public, I don' think Microsoft would be this big. But, not to worry, Linux, Firefox, and Google will right what is wrong (microsoft). I estimate it will be about 5 years until MS is irrelevent.

I envision Mac OS X re-capturing some market shares from Windows within the next 3-5 years. It is an exceptionally superior UI-centric O/S with a much more secure kernel than that other dreadful spyware infested O/S known as W XP.

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