mPulse

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Does the browser really matter?

Last fall it was Chrome. Now it's Safari 4 Beta. Soon it will be Firefox 3.1 and IE 8.

Each browser has its harsh critics and fervent supporters. But in the end, does the browser really matter?

The answer to this question depends on who you speak to. Developers will say yes, because browsers make their lives hell, as none of them subscribe to the same set of standards for display, rendering, or code processing. I would bet that if you asked any developer, they would prefer that only one browser existed and was used by everyone.

The people at the end of the browser chain, you and I, don't really care either. We only care when the browser drops an unexpected rendering surprise on us, or doesn't work because the Javascript functions were designed with Browser A and B in mind and we use C and the submit button on our purchase doesn't work.

The question isn't Does the browser matter? but Why does the browser still matter?

There is no reason to have five large browsers out there. There is no reason why they should all behave differently, render pages in their own unique way.

And while people will say that having multiple versions of multiple generations of uniquely developed browsers drives innovation and prevent stagnation in Web development, I say enough is enough.

There is no reason to have yet another browser. The browser doesn't matter.

The content matters.

And when you switch the perspective around to that view, you should easily realize that the browser, any browser, is simply a window into the content being created for and by us. It should not matter to anyone that I use Opera, Safari, Firefox, IE, Camino, Chrome, or Lynx.

What does matter is that the content can be delivered to me the way I want it. Not the way the browser wants it.

What we need to realize is that browsers no longer matter. They are software. They are portals into what we are trying to do and say.

The browser is not the application; the Web is the application.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Geekery: Install an OS on a Fujitsu B-2131 without a CD, Part Deux

Well, it's done. After a week of trying this and that, I finally got DSL (DamnSmallLinux) rolling on the Fujitsu B2131 last night.

To remind folks what the challenge was (and is for some of the linux dev teams out their who claim to support older platforms): Install a fully-functioning OS on a laptop machine built in 1999/2000 without a CD drive.

DSL has a great boot floppy image that works with their embedded version of the OS installed on a Flash drive - ok, the flash drive made the challenge less problematic than originally described.

However, I lay the challenge out to all of the Linux distros: Create an across the INTERNET (not that crazy PXE boot stuff) install that can be started with boot floppies.

The B2131 has a large enough hard drive and enough power to run Xubuntu, but installing it easily (i.e. my 10 year-old son could do it) makes modern linux distros completely unreachable for people trying to easily make old machines go.

So, linux geeks, think you can do this?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Geekery: Install an OS on a Fujitsu B-2131 without a CD

A co-worker gave me an ancient Fujitsu Lifebook B-2131. I want to turn it into an ultra-portable netbook thingie.

The catch? No cd-rom.

Apparently the world has forgotten the world of the boot floppy and internet installs.

Well, almost everyone.

Turns out that if you have a floppy drive, and 5 spare 1.44MB disks, there is a way to install Ubuntu over the Internet! [SEE HERE]

We ran out of time and floppy disks today, but this looks like a cool father-son project for this week.

Further updates as they are warranted.