Re: [dev] Interesting post about X11

From: David Tweed <>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 03:59:08 +0100

On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 2:56 AM, Will Light <> wrote:
>  i only take issue with the notion
> that web-based applications will somehow "replace" desktop apps
> entirely.
> for some use cases, sure...i mean, if somebody only uses facebook and
> gmail on their netbook, then yeah, why the hell do they have more than
> a web browser installed?  but the notion of a browser-based terminal
> for a local machine just seems ridiculous...and that's a mild example!
>  a browser-based music sequencer or video editor, for example, is so
> far off that it's just impractical.

Weeeeeelllll... It's difficult to discern what will take-off in the
future either technologically or sociologically. But one of the key
use cases that I think might work with the web are those which are
BOTH primarily data-based tasks (rather than getting your computer to
"do" something) and which you don't really do that often. This is

(a) there's a big class of data which, with appropriate security
safeguards, you're happy to be on someone else's server. For example,
I'm happy to have my home photos stored in the cloud because in the
worst case they're just a bit naff but having someone else take care
of making reliable backups works for me.

(b) for occasional applications I really prefer not to install the
application on my PC (if nothing else, from the "minimal attack
surface" security viewpont). Ironically, I can't imagine why anyone
would want to use a web-based word-processor because it's something
that you use so frequently that having a local version seems better
for all sorts of reasons; likewise a browser-based terminal doesn't
seem to make sense because if you use one at all you use it all the
time. But I can absolutely imagine using a _performant_ web-based
music sequencer or video editor just because I'd only use them once a
year at most. (A professional musician would get more benefit from a
locally installed app, but for a dilettante like me a _performant_
web-based application would be great.) Time will tell if Google's
Native Client technology combined with intelligent caching will make
actually having web-based music sequencers and video editors feasible
in the near future.

I've actually spent a bit of time thinking about this, precisely
because applications in my field tend to suffer from issue b: with
conventional installed software you have to be pretty sure you want to
use the application to install it (particularly since I generally
worry the uninstall won't actually remove all the crap it installed or
will remove stuff shared with other programs) whilst with a web
application you can try it and if even if it's behaves heinously or
isn't useful, the only thing you need to do is not visit that site

In this respect I think that HALF of "Google's Chrome OS" program is a
good idea for users: making effective web applications available is a
brilliant thing; it's the "web-applications will be the only
applications available on Chrome OS" that I'm not sure about.

cheers, dave tweed__________________________
computer vision reasearcher:
"while having code so boring anyone can maintain it, use Python." --
attempted insult seen on slashdot
Received on Tue Jun 15 2010 - 02:59:08 UTC

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