May 13, 2009

Kill the clients.

Heres a trivia for you all. Whats the single thing that creates most of the problems in an enterprise setting and what is it that demands such high level of conformity on the workstations? Why is it so hard in getting Linux into a organisation built on Windows technology?

 Its not security, management or  costs that makes corporations spend silly sums on certifying workstations and images. Its all about making various clients for databases work on the computers. Most clients are no more than very simple logic ontop of a database. Still very many of the client software demands a specific OS, a specific version and a specific level of patches. Add to that a good likelyhood that another client application demands another set of patches and your in for some really fun game of minefield.

 If more corporations would demand web applications (not .exe files disguised as web apps like .net or ActiveX) this problem would go away pretty fast. It would also solve the problem as old as the computers themselves, how do i access my stuff from outside the office, at home or  from abroad? A web application demands nothing more of the connecting computer than a browser if done right.

 The "problem" with Linux in most corporate enviroment isnt Linux itself at all. Its that it doesnt support the client applications.  The same goes for using any other OS for that matter.  Netbooks, smartphones and pretty much any gadget with a browser is out of the question without serious money poured into a ported client application to that perticular gadget. We are prisoners to our own networks more or less and cant really use all the various new exciting technology at all. The apps keeps us ten years back in time.

 Killing the client software is essential in freeing our networks and i strongly suspect Microsoft has long since realised this. The moment the database in the backend is decoupled from specialized client software and instead coupled to a webserver the race is more or less over except for games. 

 Nobody really wants policies, profiles, patchlevels, .msi packages and the living hell it creates but its just not possible making things work with the current model of connecting to our backends.

 What we in the open source community can do to better this is to not fall for the local client model and build all our services for the web. Things like Evolution, OpenOffice Base and Thunderbird should be  thrown in the dust bin and replaced with excellent web interfaces instead. Why would we want to create the same mess thats already rampant on the other side?

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