Microsoft risks alienating web developers with their unwillingness or inability to conform to standards and their secrecy surrounding Internet Explorer 8. I must admit to some amazement that they got to version 8 without web developers realizing that this is SOP for Microsoft and something they have done from the beginning. It seems that the only time you can really expect any openness, is when they are coming from behind and need some traction. When defending monopoly market share, they don’t seem to be able to do more than talk about interoperability, standards and the like. (ODF anyone?). Luckily for us, due to the ongoing success of Apple Safari & Mozilla Firefox, not to mention the growing range of Linux PC’s and laptops sold by giants like Asus and Walmart, Microsoft’s monopoly of the web browser is rather quickly being whittled away. That is great news as the Internet was designed to be useful to everyone, not to be held hostage by a commercial entity seemingly concerned with nothing but their own profits. (There is nothing wrong with being concerned about profits, as long as the actions stemming from such concern doesn’t prevent everyone else from striving to the same position.)
In other Microsoft news, apparently their hardware is just as vulnerable as their software has proven to be over the years. Using a Microsoft wireless keyboard can get your machine and all passwords used on it handed over to people some distance from you. Worse your machine need not even be connected to any network to be vulnerable. Apparently all you need do is use a Microsoft wireless keyboard and you are vulnerable.
In hardware news, Western Digital has released a fashionable range of external (and NAS) hard drives called “My Book”. They look cool, but apparently Western Digital has assumed that you want to pay them to police your files on your network. The client software (WD Anywhere Access) for the drives will not let you share a wide range of multimedia files on your network. Apparently you are to pay them handsomely for the privilege of the software you purchased presuming you are a criminal.
Lastly, could this finally be the time for of Desktop Linux getting widespread adoption? First we had Tivo running Linux, now we have a range of Linux PC’s showing up in huge shopping chains, then Google makes a bid to have Linux become the standard in mobile communication Operating Systems. Linux seems to be popping up everywhere. The majority of the top 500 super computers are running Linux (including #1) and now it’s going for the low end as well. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of Windows, Linux or Apple, this is good news, because it means that Microsoft and possibly Apple will have to lower prices and compete when Linux gains widespread acceptance from the newbie crowd. In addition, everyone is looking to a future where software runs over the Internet, and for the underlying Operating System to be less and less significant. For that to happen no one company can be allowed to steer the direction by using existing market share. The rise of Apple, the growth of Linux and the innovation of Google are going to see that the future of personal (and mobile) computing is not steered by any one company.