IT Dreamscape: Did Om Malik just enter Bill Gates' nightmare?

IT Dreamscape: Did Om Malik just enter Bill Gates' nightmare?

Summary: The movie Dreamscape is based on the premise that if you die in your dream, you'll die in real life. So, the bad guys send hitman Tommy Ray Glatman (played by David Patrick Kelley) into the President's (Eddie Albert) dream to kill the President but Alex Gardner (played by Dennis Quaid) enters the President's dream as well to stop Glatman.

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TOPICS: Apps
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The movie Dreamscape is based on the premise that if you die in your dream, you'll die in real life. So, the bad guys send hitman Tommy Ray Glatman (played by David Patrick Kelley) into the President's (Eddie Albert) dream to kill the President but Alex Gardner (played by Dennis Quaid) enters the President's dream as well to stop Glatman. The story ends happily (well, not if you're Glatman). To this date, it's one of my favorite sci-fi flicks.  

So, is Om Malik the hitman in Bill Gate's dream? In a Business 2.0 piece headlined Microsoft's big nightmare: free online apps, Malik writes:

If you're a developer or startup, you are suddenly free to write a browser-based application and quit worrying about which operating system, chip, or device your consumers are using.

It's a scary thought for anyone who built a business around proprietary formats. But for the end user, this is the kind of future that Andreessen on his best days - and maybe Gates on his worst - had envisioned. 

Update: I just realized that in the IT version of Dreamscape, Dennis Quaid plays the part of Ray Ozzie

Topic: Apps

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19 comments
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  • I think the "2.0" guys can keep dreaming

    It's more of a dream that web applications will replace everything than a nightmare for the rich application developers.
    georgeou
    • You are ignoring all of the advantages of online applications.

      Consumers do NOT like paying for desktop applications, installing, updating, patching, backing up, etc. They do like their documents available everywhere, and instant sharing.

      It is really a matter of when, not if.

      The best MS can do right now is try to make as many online apps as possible to depend on Windows.
      DonnieBoy
      • All those advantages can be ported to desktop applications

        Rich applications can be free with OSS software. The can be installation and cost free like uTorrent. uTorrent 1 time download is faster than javascript perpetual download time. Rich applications can add webstorage capability. Rich applications are richer and faster and use less resources.
        georgeou
        • You still have to install them, patch them, update them, and pay for them

          in the case of Microsoft. This is about the MS nightmare you know. And, you are not mobile with them either since you can not count on them being installed everywhere like a web application.

          You can count on a browser you know.
          DonnieBoy
          • Ha.

            "You still have to install them, patch them, update them, and pay for them"

            Applies to browsers too.

            'Nuff said.

            J.Ja
            Justin James
          • Wow, you are brilliant, browsers have to be patched and updated too!!

            And I suppose that people using desktop applications will not need a browser??? And, last time I checked, all browsers are free, do you at least don't have to pay for them.
            DonnieBoy
    • Maybe they should license the name 'Mickey Mouse' ...

      ... and use it to brand their apps. :-)
      P. Douglas
      • Mickey Mouse would be having to install, update, patch, and then pay for

        applications that are available online and do everything you need. The average home user just needs to write simple documents, and a simple spreadsheet now and then, check email, etc.

        Myself, I still use OpenOffice, but I imagine there will be a point where the online aps get enough better, and network connections become a lot more reliable, that I will switch. Just a matter of time . . .
        DonnieBoy
  • I disagree

    With the exception of "operating system", the .Net Framework does this. And change "operating system" to "particular version of the JVM" and this applies to Java. And this works for Perl, Ruby, and many other languages as well.

    In fact, JavaScript and HTML are more sensitive to the user's environment than any other coding techique, with the exception of low-level C or ASM code that I have dealt with! A C++ app compiled to native Windows code doesn't care what version of Windows you run it on... from Windows 95 through Vista, unless you are using some upscale Windows API. The same Web app will work differently on identical Windows machines, if the only difference is their Web browser.

    Sorry, but Om Malik is dead wrong.

    J.Ja
    Justin James
    • You can download the most recent version of Firefox for any platform.

      And, that is another of Microsoft's fears is that since Firefox is easy to download, and available on all platforms, web developers will start targeting Firefox, since they get 100% coverage that way, and that will drive Firefox adoption.

      If we get a few killer web applications that need Firefox, that could put Firefox on nearly 100% of desktops, similar to flash.

      Of course there will probably be some cool web applications that requre Windows as well, so you still would need Windows to run everything.

      Exciting to watch this unfold!
      DonnieBoy
  • Not sure where the tipping point is, but there are many advantages to

    online applications. Consumers HATE installing, patching, updating, and backing up. That all goes away with online apps. Lets not forget about the money part either, they don't like paying for applications either. Users also love instant sharing, and being able to close a document on one computer, and pick up later on another.

    That said, Microsoft may very well figure out a way for many online applications to depend on Windows.
    DonnieBoy
    • Just because it is online

      ... does not mean that it is free!

      "Lets not forget about the money part either, they don't like paying for applications either."

      Why do Web 2.0 folks keep thinking that everything is free? Writing and distributing a FOSS app has relatively low costs for the developer; throw it up on SourceForge and let them worry about the bandwidth bill if it becomes too popular to host yourself.

      But an online app? That requires a continual outlay of cash. Look at YouTube, their bandwidth bill is like Joan Rivers' makeup bill. Web sites tend to be free because they are ad supported. No self respecting business with more than a few employees uses ad supported software. Period.

      Ads are really the only way to monetize an online app, because you can't make money on a one-time fee (bandwidth bill quickly grows for a heavy user) and a perpetual fee quickly costs the user more than a traditional shrink wrap app.

      Wherever this fantasy that online apps are "free" comes from needs to be eliminated. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

      J.Ja
      Justin James
      • It's really just dotcom craze 2.0

        When the VC money runs out and you can't get bought by Google, it's time to turn out the lights.
        georgeou
        • Interesting, you call yourself a journalist, and you don't give any

          arguments. You did try in one post with the offhand claim that we can add all the advantages that web applications have to normal applications, but failed to detail one by one how you would do it.

          I would like you to explain how desktop applications will install themselves, update themselves, patch themselves, and how the app you have on YOUR desktop with be available on ALL internet connected desktops.

          Well, we don't expect anything coherent from the Dan Quayle types.
          DonnieBoy
          • Here are some ways...

            In the Microsoft world, you have a few options:

            * SMS makes it easy to automatically deploy patches, installations, etc.
            * Applications written with the .Net Framework have the "Click to Run" system.

            In the non-Microsoft world, it is fairly easy to write a cron job to do these updates, and I am sure that a search will quickly cough up a sample script or two.

            95% of what you and Mr. Berlind have against traditional desktop applications is actually a problem with current package management systems, not the paradigm itself. It's like confusing the actions of Kenneth Lay with all Enron employees. It doesn't work.

            J.Ja
            Justin James
          • Patches may be rather simple, but you still have to install and update

            those desktop applications, and PAY for them (including updates) if they come from Microsoft.

            The point is, many will be happy with the functionality of Internet applications, and will be happy to avoid buying MS Office, and the headaches of installing, updating, and patching. Not to mention all of the vulnerabilities with MS Office.
            DonnieBoy
      • The Google apps are free and likley to stay that way, since bandwidth and

        storage are getting cheaper as we speak. The cost to deliver, upgrade, patch, etc, is going to zero on a per person basis, and that can be easily supported with ads.

        Yes, there will be premium online apps that you have to pay for too. So what?

        And, again, in the YouTube case, bandwidth is falling fast and Google will do everything they can to keep it free, maybe charging for premium services.

        Of course there will be all sorts of players other than Google.
        DonnieBoy
        • Where are they?

          "Yes, there will be premium online apps that you have to pay for too. So what?"

          These are insanely rare. Google, the main purveyor of online apps with any sizaeable usage (let's not call Flickr an "application") still doesn't even offer the choice to pay for an ad free version. Maybe if more online apps actually had a paid, premium, no-ad version I might consider using them, but until then, I am more than happy with sticking to traditional desktop apps that are either FOSS or require a one-time fee.

          J.Ja
          Justin James
          • I would imagine that Google will offer ad free versions of their apps

            the your domain program, and eventually to end users. But, I can't imagine web companies not trying to make a little extra money through premium versions.

            I did use the future sense!
            DonnieBoy