Monday, 17 May 2010

It's the browser stupid...

A few months ago I wrote that the imac I recycled into a linux desktop had reached the end of its useful life and, at the same time, my $83 linux desktop had died, and as a consequence I'd gone and bought myself a Dell laptop running Windows 7.

At the time I was slightly wary of the experience, having moved away from Microsoft as a result of some of their more monopolistic practices, and also I never quite felt comfortable with Vista and XP didn't seem show much progress beyond 2003.

Well three or so months using Windows 7 I've found that as along as the operating system is competent, you don't care.

Windows 7 is competent.

It runs what I need well. And increasingly all I need is Firefox and a Skype client. being able to run Firefox means email, Google Docs, Google Reader, Twitter, and a calendar. Productivity has moved to the cloud, so that I have the same desktop at home on my laptop that I do on my work laptop - a MacBook - or within some limitations - on my Asus netbook.

And this is interesting. Well into the middle of the last decade the operating system you ran controlled the applications you ran, so the operating system with the richest software base won out.

This isn't the case. And while there are some nice tricks I can do on windows 7, such as using Gladinet to mount my windows skydrive, none of them are showstoppers.

And if for any reason I need a heavier weight office application I can run Open Office, which runs equally well on Windows, Mac and Linux and does everything I want professionally.

Running browser based applications means one becomes agnostic as to platform, and equally frees oneself from having to always carry a particular machine. The combination of dropbox and the Google ecology means I don't have to take my laptop home unless I want to, and with a little bit of forethought can preload documents and material on my netbook to save the continual hassle of carrying a full size laptop through airport security

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