Blog Archives

From Internet to Oligarchy

The recent announcement of Microsoft’s intention to buy Yahoo! is, in my opinion, marking the end of the short, initial period during which the Internet was populated by different subjects. During these initial 15 years, the proliferation of different subjects, all fighting against everybody else to gain market share, was allowing independent producers to break in and to find niches not yet occupied by the principal subjects (which were too much busy in fighting….).

The Yahoo! acquisition will, at the end, create a de-facto oligarchy. The two actors (Microsoft and Google) will split their dominance on the world of the Internet thus, de-facto, preventing independent forms of content production to flourish.

The fault of this lays, in my opinion, on the weakness with which the Business and Political worlds accepted the enormous power of Google.

  • It is very sad to see that, instead of facilitating more democracy and competition (and, thus innovation!) by forcing a split of Google or by empowering a non-profit organization for managing the “Internet Search” business, the lack of governance of this fundamental aspect of the modern world (the Internet) allowed the creation of this oligarchy.
  • It is sad to see that, from now on, opposing to Google would imply choosing Microsoft!
  • It will be interesting to understand which effects this new situation will have on IT departments and on the “providers of IT departments” (editors, consulting firms, outsourcing…)
    Will a more safe dominant position in the Internet area (with all the cash flow that could happen from that) change the way in which Microsoft will approach and will be approached by IT shops?

Dreaming of Hiding the Complexity

Whilst the software products are geared towards making people executing things in a more effective way and allowing people to execute things that were not possible before (I agree, this is not always something good… we would live better without some of the software creatures…), I have always thought that the goal of the technology behind the software results (i.e. the technology that allows the production of software) would be to allow the artists (i.e. the developers) to do their job in the best possible conditions.

I remember how much I loved the VMS operating system (from Digital), the powerful CASE environment that was implemented on that operating systems (ah, Language Sensitive Editor…) and the Common Language Runtime.
I also remember how easy and natural it was, a life later, to develop distributed Service Oriented applications in the Forté environment (where Service Orientation and scalability was built inside the language framework itself). The motto from Forté was “Hiding the Complexity” and, indeed believe me, they couldn’t have been chosen a better motto!

Today I have read one of the “2008 predictions articles” and I was hit by the last item:

13. The next big thing. Software development will change to a wider use of code generators. Forget about heavy frameworks, regardless of what programming language you use.  In a simple case, use some XML style sheets combined with the metadata that describes your application objects to automatically generate the code for these objects. On a larger scale, the entire application may be described using metadata and XML, and an appropriate code generator will do the job. So programming will change from writing tedious code that requires lots of coders to describing the metadata and writing custom code generators.

I know, this will remain a dream: Rubik's Cube GameWhy steal the pleasure of fighting against the complexity of building a program that would let the author being proud of the many hours he spent in debugging it and in having a presentation that looks likee what he would have wanted ….?

 

Hiding the complexity and allowing the artist to express his creativity in addressing the solution to a problem (instead than in debugging, in challenging multithreading or fighting against the geometry manager) would be something nice to dream.

P.S.The Author has, also, some interesting observation on Java, AJAX and Flex/AIR.

Googlenomiks (or Googlesaurus)

So, I had been late on commenting on other attempts of the big octopus, but I cannot refrain from commenting on this.

Google officially announced a Wikipedia killer: it is called KNOL. Under the seducing title of Encouraging people to contribute knowledge, Google is, actually, directly attacking Wikipedia.

I have never been a big fans of Wikipedia, also. 
I just think Wikipedia is useful and is something that is important in the panorama of the Web; but I still think that I prefer to know who is providing me the information. As I often say, I try to teach my children not to get the free press, because behind the fact that they do not spend money for getting it, some hidden messages can be delivered. And I am using this same argument in my posts against Googlesaurus…

Now, KNOL actually proposes something that I consider interesting and, in principle, more robust and accountable than Wikipedia:

The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors… We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content…

…We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a good thing.

Knols will include strong community tools. People will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on. Anyone will be able to rate a knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information.

A way in which people will sign what they write; a system where there will be competing opinions. And where people can comment on something that has a signature. I like this!

But:

A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content…

…At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads…

…Once testing is completed, participation in knols will be completely open, and we cannot expect that all of them will be of high quality. Our job in Search Quality will be to rank the knols appropriately when they appear in Google search results. We are quite experienced with ranking web pages, and we feel confident that we will be up to the challenge.

Ok. Once again, behind the seducing sentences of “We are very excited by the potential to substantially increase the dissemination of knowledge” or “Google will not ask for any exclusivity on any of this content and will make that content available to any other search engine“, the Googlesaurus shows its aspect and its intention: Wikipedia is out of its control and is, potentially, an incredible source of revenue! It cannot be left there as it is, like an unexploited goldmine.

And, once again, a Big Brother (Google Search Quality) will rank for you what you better read as your primary source of information.

Sorry. The idea is good, but it will turn to be another arrow that will make Google more powerful and, all of us, less free.

I think that some parts of the Internet will need some control. Leaving control to Google is not good. Leaving control to other may not also.

Let’s say NO TO GOOGLE and to its enormous ego! Internet search is too important to be left in the hands of a private company.

P.S.See the Read/WriteWeb article for more information

Java on the desktop is already here!

I have been surprised when I read this article: James Gosling (Sun) : « Java sur le poste client n’est pas à la hauteur aujourd’hui ». It is in French, so I translate the title here:

James Gosling (Sun) : « Java is not ready today for the desktop »

Strange, isn’t it ? The “father of Java” who, 15 years after, makes such a big statement!Well, the reality is different, as we all know.
Eclipse is there and it is there since sometime now. Eclipse is no more only an “open development platform”, but has become ‘a platform for building and deploying rich client applications”: it is called Eclipse RCP. Many people are developing rich Java applications for the desktop (and for the mobile market also) based on Eclipse RCP:

And, not least, IBM is building the new generation of its products based on Eclipse RCP!

The Universal Managed Client for SOA, called Lotus Expeditor. A platform for building enterprise applications and enterprise mashups that bring the power of SOA towards the desktop and devices

The new Lotus Notes 8 client, which brings the possibility of building Composite Applications centered around the collaboration tools

Lotus Sametime, which provides a new frontier for Unified Collaboration and Communication

Sun may not be ready. But the world is not waiting in order to make Java evolving! And Java is bigger than a trade symbol.

The Ministry of Truth

Thanks to TonyBlog, and his article How difficult is to be the fastest growing internet company in the world, I discovered a long but very interesting video on Google’s dominance.
I share the video here also for the ones who want to see it from here.

I was hit by several things:

  1. the “Ministry of Truth” thing that happens at the end of the video
  2. the reference to the media monopoly situation that is happening in some parts of Europe (Italy, for instance) and that is scaring lot of people
  3. the fact that the VPs that are interviewed do not show concern about the power they have in their hands.
    They consider that power just from a technology point of view and they came out with statements that look like the following ones (I do not quote exact words…)

    • if we were able to do what we did, everybody can do also.
    • Why would we do something evil?
    • the possibility of beinbg evil is inside every job…

No, I think that we need to come to some action before it is too late. Internet Search is too important to be left in the hands of a private monopoly: Internet Search should be property of no one. The temptation would be too big.

BEA wants more money. And Sun ?

Few years ago, when I left Sun, I thought that the medium term scenario would involve some “fusion” between Oracle (Applications + database), BEA (middleware) and Sun (hardware).
In this way, the new entity would be able to compete against IBM and against MSFT (well MSFT+Dell or MSFT+HP, according to the situations).

I am reading these days that BEA just refused a friendly buyout offer from Oracle because the proposed price was seen as undervaluating BEA (I have issues understanding which evidence would support this statement… but this is not the point)! So, BEA is asking Oracle to make a better economical offer.  There is not opposition to Oracle’s initiative.

And this seems logical to me.
The scenario is simplifying.

So,  would next step really be Sun ?

Trading Java ?

I could not believe it when I read Jonathan Schwartz‘s (Sun CEO and President) recent post about changing the trade name for Sun Microsystems from SUNW to JAVA.
I hear that most of the comments are hostile to this. Some of them loose even time in going in the semantic of associating the slowness of Java to a rapidly declining company.
There is some summary of the most interesting entries in Sam Ruby‘s blog.

What I think of this story it is that it is just another example of abusing of addiction (see my post on gBrowser here).

  • If Java is what Java proponents always say “an open technology”, how could it become the identifier of a private company?
    This is a great mistake in my opinions. It will benefit the ones who oppose Java, such as Microsoft…
  • this move shows no respect for all the companies (and individuals) that built the success of Java.
    Java did not become widely used for anything that Sun did. Sun’s Java products are trailing everywhere and their marketshare is far from being predominant.
    The success of Java was built by the IBM and Oracle and BEA and Open Source….
  • Given this, I fear (or hope) that this move could lead to a diaspora on Java, where at this point everybody will feel free to abandon the Logo and to perfect (wow…) the platform according to its own customer needs.

So, it is very sad to see someone counting on the popularity and addiction on something … to steal the attention of the community and impose himself as the gatekeeper (or keymaster… both of them were no so nice characters in Ghostbusters, right?).

Having a pony-tail does not equate to have all the rights!

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