Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Browser as the Platform

I just read something on Slashdot today that got me thinking...

If you wonder why you're not using Netscape and maybe not using Java, and why you've probably got Windows underneath your Mozilla, it's because it became obvious to lots of people that Netscape+Java was a sufficiently powerful and easily ported environment that the operating system underneath could become nearly irrelevant - so Microsoft had to go build a non-standards-compliant browser and wonky Java implementation and start working on .NET to kill off the threat. It wasn't that conquering the market for free browsers was a big moneymaker - it was self-defense to make sure that free browsers didn't conquer the OS market, allowing Windows+Intel to be replaced by Linux/BSD/QNX/MacOS/OS9/SunOS/etc.

It almost makes me angry, not only to think of all the man-hours that are wasted trying to get web pages to work correctly on all the browsers (due to IE's complete disregard for standards) but also what could have been. Imagine being able to write a program that worked on *any* computer (PC, Linux, Mac), and didn't have to be installed - just load and go! That's what we could have had, but Microsoft soon put a stop to it.

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