Tag Archive for 'tech'

I’m excited about the future of the web

Here’s what you can do today if you decide that you simply don’t care about 68% of the browser market:

Look ma, no images!

Doesn’t look like much, you say? Sure. It was just me screwing around while writing a throwaway prototype application. But what if I told you that what you’re seeing is pure HTML and CSS? There are absolutely no images involved in that entire layout. The tab even animates up and down, and the gradient fades in and out — with no images, and not a line of JavaScript.

It’s an old drum that’s being beaten to death, but this is why IE needs to either get with the game or go away. IE8 is at least a huge improvement in terms of respecting rendering standards, but with the gaping release cycle that Microsoft has IE trundling away on, they can’t possibly keep up with how quickly amazing features like these are coming along.

Just how quickly, you ask? Here’s what you can already do in the latest version of Safari/WebKit (even on the iPhone version!), with nothing but CSS, and JavaScript to push it along (source):

This has been proposed to the W3C. Everything you see is hardware-accelerated. I am stoked.

Expect a second edition of this post in a couple of days.

Case-sensitive HFS+: What a Mistake.

Alternate title: Come on, Adobe.

Having once had serious issues with filename capitalization in a Java project that resulted in a lot of headache and a small army of mv‘s, when I reformatted my computer with a new hard disk two months ago I chose to use the case-sensitive version of the HFS+ filesystem.

And besides one trivial and easily-fixable issue with an AdiumX theme package, all was fine.

That is, until I tried to install Adobe’s CS4 suite just now.  Instead of the friendly OS X installer app, I was greeted with the following message:

wtf adobe

So.  Now I get to reformat my entire hard disk again.  Just because Adobe is too damned lazy to get with the standard that every other OS X developer – even Microsoft, which didn’t officially support case-sensitivity as of a year ago and typically produces the shoddiest OS X applications; even the free software Indie developers who toil for hours without pay on their works – has flawlessly followed.  This is unbelievable.

What’s worse, apparently this happened with CS3 as well, and even after a small riot about it on their blog, they still couldn’t be bothered to fix it for CS4.  The difference between CS3 and 4 is small enough that I already couldn’t believe CS4 needed to exist; could they not be bothered to fix some filenames?

Changes in Vista SP1

So they’re restoring the Vista logo on startup in SP1, among other things. I wonder what happened to the hilarious “we shaved 3-4 seconds by removing the logo!”

Here lies SCO…

For those who have not heard, SCO has recently just been set back significantly, perhaps permanently, in their effort to systematically disable the entirety of the Free and Open Source Software community. Their slimy move to acquire the license and patents to UNIX for the sole purpose of turning around and suing those who benefit from its free descendants, both for profit in consulting and for free in use, was despicable, and was only compounded by their evident lack of actual respect for the technology, giving up any attempts to actually do any good with it after only a handful of half-heartedy, feeble starts.

The point has been brought up, of course, that SCO is right in its claims. That the case is a landmark for the future of Intellectual Property rights, and that the precedent set could set an entirely alien course on the entire software industry as we know it. There is some truth in the argument, but there is also a great deal of fear, uncertainty, and doubt being slung around. While it may or may not be true that in their recreation of the UNIX platform, the GNU project stepped beyond the bounds of the haven of reverse engineering, I think it’s quite honestly several steps too far to infer that by any means this case will open the floodgates for a deluge of stolen intellectual property.

The case of UNIX’s descendants is a very unique one. There are very few cases in our modern world of computing where such a feat must be accomplished to create a viable free alternative to an existing or entrenched commercial standard. OpenOffice.org has reverse engineered Microsoft’s Office document formats for the sake of compatibility, but there is absolutely no point to be had in fully duplicating the entirety of Microsoft’s Office – indeed, if such an effort were to be attempted, it would probably never see the light of day given how counterproductive and impractical it would be. In fact, Microsoft is releasing the new OOXML (Office Open XML) format as a standard; this is a step towards convergence, compatibility, and choice, even if Microsoft’s true intentions are suspect and indivinable at this juncture.

I think that whether SCO is right or not, there is something to be said for the greater benefit of technology and humankind in having a fully functional, viable, and free alternative in Linux. It’s a very solid fact in today’s technological world, something that’s done and said and is here to stay, and to challenge its existence for profit alone as SCO is doing is purely malicious. Even if the FOSS community gains significant traction and uproots the current model of the commercial software industry, it would be an absolute lie to say that there is no money to be had in open source software.

The future is now. It’s time to start living in it.