I'm Michael Suodenjoki - a software engineer living in Kgs. Lyngby, north of Copenhagen, Denmark. This is my personal site containing my blog, photos, articles and main interests.

Updated 2011.01.23 15:37 +0100


The Universal Desktop #1

I'm not hiding the fact that I've been a developer which mainly have developed for the Microsoft Windows platform. That is what I have learned and used throughout the years. That's a fact.

However at the same time the fierce debate over the desktop platform has battled. At one side (what I call the right-wing side) we have the liberal, conservative/republican flock of companies, exemplified by companies such as Microsoft, Adobe and Apple, which are in the market to earn money. And they will do anything to do just that. Google is to some degree also part of this. At the other side (what I call the left-wing side) we have the social aware, democratic, regulatory, open-source kind of movements which want us to standardize and democratize the world for the common benefit.

I know this is a kind of naive view of the matter. The world is more complicated. But I believe that both sides know that each have a point. And we, as the "voter" and "user", want them to cooperate to bring us what we want. Namely something pragmatic, cheap and useful.

Let's for the sake of fun extrapolate a bit into the future. Would it be utopian to imagine that standardization would lead to the development of the universal desktop? A desktop operating system that you as developer could develop to using your programming language of choice?

To some degree I think it is a utopia. However some work (e.g. Ubuntu) are already started on the the open-source desktop operating system. The "browser application" is also a sign of this, i.e. making the browser the desktop. This is the left-wings work.

The problem is that a lot of the development is made my developers which today already are placed on different sides depending on where they earn their money. Every developer know it is a problem if a customer want to use the "other sides" products (because they offer something different). Then we have a problem.

To some degree the managed programming languages (aka JAVA and C#) are being used as hostages for the universal desktop. With neither you can develop so that you get a "good"  user experience on every of today's desktops operating systems.

I find it a shame that we must choose program language depending on the target desktop operating system. It shouldn't be that way. JAVA is today the only programming language which seriously can be used to offer minimal development to "all platforms". C# and .NET on the other hand have some very cool features, which you cannot use to build on other platforms than Windows.

The future will not be battleless. Every company on the right-wing will always want to distinguish themselves with unique features that makes people buy their products while the left-wings want us to come into common ground - to standardize. And both have a point. So cooperate, please. And don't take the programming language as hostage.

Links (will be updated if relevant topics are found):

All installments - the series of blogposts about the Universal Desktop: