software: misplaced Linux desktop angst, just make HTML5 great

Linux users and developers bemoan the few apps available for their desktop. Where are the app developers? is a typical lament. But every commercial next-gen platform going up against Apple/Android — BlackBerry X, Tizen, even Windows — has figured out how to deal with low developer interest: run HTML5 apps. Only the tiny Linux desktop community persists with the fantasy that “if we had better docs, or easier development tools, or less fragmentation, we’d get developers.”

Here’s my response to that particular post (damn site won’t accept OpenID responses):

You’re correct to identify Mozilla app store as an open alternative, but then you return to “Gnome apps”.  Focus on making Gnome an outstanding environment to run HTML5 apps, inside or outside a browser. Cheese, GCalctool, GCompris, Gnucash, Tomboy — anything not a hardcore system tool — are all going to fall behind HTML5 apps using the newest web APIs. Which is fine so long as those apps can run offline, don’t leak privacy, can interoperate using open file formats, etc.; so get ahead of the trend and encourage the HTML5 apps that adopt open source values, even though there’s nothing tying them to Gnome.


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One Response to software: misplaced Linux desktop angst, just make HTML5 great

  1. Taryn Fox says:

    It requires OpenID, actually, although there may be an issue on either the provider or the receiver’s end (I know Blogger’s finicky about accepting my Dreamwidth OpenID sometimes).

    And I actually agree! Which is one reason I praised Mozilla’s initiative so much. The web is in many ways the most democratic and open-source platform, and the one that it’s best to write for in nearly all cases IMO.

    It’s just that I’m being paid to write GNOME developer tutorials ~.^ And besides that, I honestly like GNOME. I like how it works on my desktop, and I like learning about it and sharing my enthusiasm with others. And while I’m using it, I often prefer native apps to HTML 5 ones.

    I hope they improve GNOME’s support for HTML apps, especially by tieing it into the Mozilla Marketplace somehow. It may be awhile before I can use Boot to Gecko as a laptop operating system though, and in the meantime I’ll be using GNOME. Mozilla’s actually one of the companies funding the Women’s Outreach Program (i.e. writing my paycheck), so I guess they see some use for it at the moment.

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