Jon Levell – eightbar Raising The Eight Bar Tue, 26 Jul 2016 09:38:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 It’s Coming Sat, 12 Nov 2005 15:02:55 +0000 Continue reading ]]> At the moment almost nobody uses Linux on their desktop; even in Hursley. Windows is everywhere but in the short time that I have worked here (~ a year), I have noticed a difference! Linux desktops are definately increasing in number.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend that most people install Linux, Windows is (in my opinion) currently better for the average desktop user. If you split computer users into four broad types then I would suggest that some of them might look into Linux:

  • Complete Novices: This type of user is going to need some hand-holiding and what they use should depend on what their friendly “expert” is comfortable with. If my Gran got a computer, I would install Linux – I’d set it up for her and have a couple of icons on the desktop. She would use those and not dream of changing the setup or installing new hardware without my help – Linux would be ideal, I wouldn’t have to worry about viruses etc. and I’d be comfortable answering questions because I’d be intimately familiar with the system.
  • Normal Users: The largest group of users and, at the moment, I think they should steer well clear of Linux. My Dad uses Windows, he might buy a scanner or a new camera, plug it in an expect it to just work. Windows is still way ahead in this area – hardware manufacturers often don’t support Linux, the market is too small and installing drivers can often be fiddly. Windows just works. Linux (currently) doesn’t – there is no competition yet (even the CEO of Redhat agrees).
  • Experts: These are people who know and understand computers, but are different to my fourth category (geeks) because for them the computer is a tool. Most of this group of people use Windows, it’s easier to setup and certainly in the past would have made them more productive but I think that is on the cusp of changing, I’ll elaborate on this in a minute.
  • Geeks: The difference between a geek and an expert is that geeks fiddle with computers for fun. Basically the only people who currently use Linux as a desktop OS fall into this category. Many geeks currently use Windows but have played with Linux on and off. I think many geeks will soon ensure they have access to Linux because I think this is where computers are changing most quickly. Even when innovation happens on other platforms, it quickly comes to Linux as well. Because Linux is evolving so fast little, tiny ideas are appearing that might take a while to appear on other platforms.

So although some geeks have been using Linux for a while, experts haven’t. For them it is all about the applications. They are arriving… Fast!

Applications, applications, applications

Total Cost of all these applications? 0.00

Given that people here at Hursley are either Experts or Geeks, I hope a few more might take a look at Fedora, Ubuntu or one of the other Linux distributions that include the majority of the programs listed above. There will be some initial setup pain but I think some people at least will never want to go back.

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What Working Group? Tue, 11 Oct 2005 17:23:38 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The web evolves quickly; not so long ago AJAX was the hot new thing and now it is increasingly main-stream. Predicting the next big thing is very hard but I think one new development in particular is not on people’s radar in the way that I would expect. The WHAT-WG (Web HyperText Application Technology Working Group) is coming up with a set of specifications that should allow Web Apps to be richer and faster to write. Importantly they are ensuring that new features degrade gracefully in older browsers (primarily IE6) so authors don’t have to wait until the internet population as a whole have upgraded from legacy browsers before using cool new technologies.

The group is backed by Mozilla and Opera so we shouldn’t have to wait too long for browsers that take advantage of these new features (Ian Hickson, the spokesperson for the group, has worked on Mozilla/Firefox and Opera and has just been hired by Google). These new specs – if done right – will make all our lives easier so I encourage any reader who is experienced in writing web applications to check out the draft specifications and to suggest any good ideas that might spring to mind. This working group may define the web of tomorrow – the more useful input that it gets today, the better!

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