“Rent-an-app” indeed.

Most of the time, the focus at leBUZZ is on what’s going on in the Haiku community, but sometimes I indulge in a little editorializing on what the world outside looks like to a Haiku insider.  One thing that’s on my mind today is companies that adopt the increasingly common “rent-an-app” approach to software distribution.

Microsoft does it with Office.  You don’t buy Office anymore, you rent it.  You pay a yearly fee for the privilege of using it, like a tenant in an apartment building.  Adobe does it with Photoshop, except you get access to lots of other programs too…building supposed value so they can jack the yearly rent up to something nearer to the price of buying Photoshop afresh every 365 days.

I don’t love Office and do very well without it.  I do love Photoshop.  Fortunately for me, the last lifetime-licensable  version they offered has more capabilities than I’ll ever take advantage of.

They say, “never say never,” but I think I can safely say I’ll never let a company force me into renting their software.  There’s something so impermanent-feeling about using software that’s going to expire.  I just can’t get comfortable with the idea.  Am I the only one who finds the “rent squeeze” approach to software sales deplorable?

 

Hey Windows, Welcome Back.

smallbee2 I always wear pretty much the same style of clothes I’ve always worn.  Occasionally I’m back in fashion, which I think is pretty funny.  Maybe that’s what I like about Haiku.

For anyone who might have been concerned that Haiku’s approach to the desktop was too “Windows 98’ish” for modern-day users, consider the journey Microsoft has been on. Windows been through at least a half dozen iterations in the past 16 years.  It’s been fluffed…it’s been puffed…it’s been metro’ed.  And now, it’s going back.  The latest version, which, curiously, skips a version number and will be called “10” (maybe to avoid being thought of as one version back from the Mac), retrieves much of the classic look of desktop operating systems we’ve used ever since Rover was a pup. 7ebdce9f-7ed1-401f-bb9b-8a242dabd28c-460x276-1

Once again, by default, there’s a fast bar and a start button (flat in appearance, no longer 3D), floating windows, desktop icons, and a trash can.  You can still get to the “metro” stuff from the start button, and a touch environment will appear when Windows detects that no mouse and keyboard are present.  But there’s no escaping it:  Microsoft realized they had sent users down a blind alley with 8, and they’re going back.

Suddenly, Haiku’s look, especially when users swing its Deskbar into “across-the-bottom” mode (which I prefer), is  en vogue again.  Are there things that could eventually be done to modernize it further?  Absolutely.  But in the meanwhile, Haiku’s comfortable, classic, mainstream appearance is certainly legitimized by Microsoft’s latest move.

An EASY Way to Help Haiku

smallbee2

If you’re not doing it yet, I’d strongly encourage you to set up an account with GoodSearch and make it your browser’s default search engine.  It’s so much like Google that you won’t really even notice a difference, and every search you do results in the donation of a penny to the charity of your choice.  Haiku Inc. is one of the available charities.  A penny might not sound like much, but it’s amazing how fast it adds up if you do a lot of searches every day.  Multiply that by hundreds of participants, and suddenly we’re talking about serious bucks.

In addition, there are lots of online companies you might already be ordering products from, NewEgg for example, who are willing to donate a portion of the sale to your chosen charity through GoodSearch’s “GoodShop” program.  At TuneTracker Systems, all parts ordered for their Station-in-a-Box systems result in donations to Haiku.

Many hands make light work, so the more people we get participating in GoodSearch and GoodShop, the more it will help advance the Haiku operating system!

http://www.goodsearch.com

To choose Haiku as your cause,

  1. Go to goodsearch’s homepage
  2. Click the “Choose a cause” button
  3. Enter “Haiku” in the search box.
  4. Select “Haiku (Saddle Brook, NJ)”

Being ready for the “next great exodus”

smallbee2

This week, Microsoft cut the tethers on Windows XP.  No more support, no more updates, no more patches, no more security.  And millions of users are asking themselves, “what now?”

A survey of current XP users suggests the majority will just keep using Old Faithful, or move to Windows 7, which frankly is the only Windows-based alternative that’s remotely like what their used to.  Windows 8?  Forget about it.  More XP users plan to move to Linux than to 8 or 8.1.  Strangely, just a sliver, 1%, plan to move to the Mac, which I find astounding given the quality of that operdownloadating system and the halo effect I’d expect it to have due to the popularity of Apple’s portable devices.  After Windows broke my heart one too many times, I moved to the Mac and never looked back.  It’s a great environment.  But I digress.

Here’s what I was thinking today:  Imagine if Haiku had been farther along right now.  Suppose its fast, stable, silky-smooth interface was already complemented by a full array of standard desktop necessaries such as a viable office suite, calendar and appointment apps, and a web browser closer in capabilities to the big three.  In other words, what if Haiku was as far along as Linux right now, and had begun to get some of the same credibility and name recognition?  What if people realized they could have a well-equipped windowing desktop environment faster than Linux, and infinitely easier to use?  Where might Haiku have shown up in the pie chart on the right?

The fact is, about a third of all Windows XP users are staying right where they are, for now.  That’ll change in the next few years, as they realize they can’t hold on any longer and have to move to something else.  Wouldn’t it be cool if, by then, Haiku was firing on all cylinders?  It’d still be a bit of a reach to expect more than a tiny percentage of the Windows user base to cross over, but a tiny percentage of tens of millions of people is nothing to sneeze at.

Here’s hoping efforts continue to bring credible office applications to Haiku’s desktop.   It’s not ready for the current exodus, but who knows…it might be ready for the next.

 

 

Post-PC world, Zaranthos’ take…

Buzzer “Zaranthos” had a comment on the Post PC world story good enough that I thought I’d put it up here as its own article…

Get out of my head. :P
You’ve echoed my feelings on Windows 8/8.1 Office 2007+ (ribbon bar). As much as they want to make things trendy for the smart phone generation it doesn’t make real work easier, in fact it makes it harder with a learning curve for people who once knew how to do something and suddenly no longer do. What has this unneeded frustration gotten Microsoft? Dismal Windows sales even as they proclaim the death of the aged Windows XP which they’re attempting to bury alive still having a larger installed base than Windows 8.

For a time I was able to use BeOS in a commercial work environment at least part of the time and I long for Haiku to reach maturity to give me alternatives to the madness being forced on us now. Nothing would please me more than to be able to slap Haiku and LibreOffice on an old XP computer and tell my customers they didn’t have to live with the annoyances of Windows 8.x even with band-aids like Classic Shell.

Do you follow?

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If you’ve just stumbled upon leBUZZ, let me encourage you to follow the action here.  Just click the “Follow” link in the upper left and you’ll be notified every time a new article or post is added to leBUZZ.

And let me ask you to help be my eyes and ears.  If you hear about developments for Haiku that relate to audio and video, I want to know about them.  Be sure to contact me with any leads or information you have, and I’ll be glad to follow-up on them.

 

Post-PC world, my catukas

smallbee2

I know what he was up to.  He was a powerful man seen as a visionary, and was using his influence to try and force a self-fulfilling (and self-serving) prophesy.  But years after Steve Jobs boldly proclaimed us to be living in a post-PC world, it still isn’t so.

Not that I haven’t tried along with the rest of the world to prove Jobs right.  I joined the throngs who purchased an iPad, and marveled at its capabilities.  But just try and type on one.  Sure, you can add a keyboard, but the combination of keyboard and touch screen just doesn’t work all that well:  as soon as you incorporate a keyboard, the tablet, by necessity, needs to be farther away to accommodate two-handed typing, and the touch screen is moved out of comfortable range.  The Surface, which is in even more need of a keyboard, has the same problem.  A pointing device becomes necessary.

Suppose you do add a keyboard, and a pointing device.  There’s still the screen size to contend with, and this is where I’m going to say something I haven’t heard others say yet.  It needs to be said.  You can only get so “cute” with a user interface.  Developers have tried to overcome the dinky screen problem by using clever hidden or nested user options that make learning new programs a royal pain.  Every time you get a new app, you have to figure out where the devs have hidden everything.  I hate it.  We already have enough menu fatigue these days without having to contend with dozens of apps that each have their own little cutesy feature symbols and buried functionality.  But even if they overcame that somehow, and all got on board with a common menu structure, the physical size severely limits the kinds of things you can work on.

I have the perfect solution, though.  It’s a tablet that will do it all.  Add a keyboard and a pointing device, and make the screen bigger,  give it a consistent user interface across applications, and call it…oh, that’s right, it already has a name, doesn’t it.?

Tablets are great for what they’re great at, such as using the Internet, reading, specialized workplace applications, and hunt-and-peck e-mailing.  But when I want to get down to  business and get some work done,  give me a laptop or a desktop PC every time.

When people criticize Haiku for being a desktop environment, I just chuckle, because I’ve used the alternatives.  We have a great desktop in Haiku.  It’s snappier than most other desktops, works with big screens, fast keyboards and  good old, user-friendly optical mice.   Now we just need some solid applications for it.

(NOT sent from my iPad)

UPDATE

The hype continues.  See the article, and then read the comments.  The media isn’t convincing real people with all their hyperbole about the death of the PC.

http://www.cnet.com/news/new-microsoft-vp-consigns-the-pc-to-irrelevance/

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