Tugger the SLUGger!SLUG Mailing List Archives

Re: [SLUG] Linux on the desktop predictions

> Danny Yee wrote:
> But isn't web serving already mostly done by dedicated (thin) servers?
> And that includes most community hosting, I think.

Yes, but I can see that as telcos start treating access to the Internet as
'nothing special' (like access everywhere, through phones, everything),
'non-essential' services for personal use - such as web hosting - will be
neglected. Email and ISP-based instant messaging (cf. Jabber) will still
thrive, but some things will really only be targeted for big business.

Now, that doesn't take into account the idea that the web itself will
disappear, and become a distributed information storage medium. If that
happens, no one will really care, because their stuff will be made publicly
readable in their data store.

There are a number of good arguments as to why the web will - or even should
- cease to exist.

> (Geeks may run the sites, but usually on web-hosting services rather than
> their own desktop machines.)

Yes, I didn't really define that well. Geeks will be the only ones
interested in having machines capable of performing those tasks, desktops or

> > WIMP and CLI will be looked at as user interface oddities. 
> Hmmm... WIMP might go, but CLI will always be with us (though possibly
> driven by voice recognition rather than a keyboard) -- languages have
> an expressive power other interfaces can't match.

"And I won't let go until you pry my stiff dead fingers from the keyboard!"
;) I think that you've probably given the best argument for the death of CLI
right there - languages do have an expressive power other interfaces [have
not yet] matched.

Command Line Interfaces will just look sillier and sillier as alternate
forms of input appear. Where's the lowest point of bandwidth in
human-computer interaction? It's the input - from the human into the
computer. We've come up with lots of snazzy ways of getting really wild
output from these monstrous things, but slacked off working out new ways of
increasing our 'input bandwidth'. One of the reasons why I hyped the use of
a tablet to Rodos was because they increase the input bandwith (some would
argue the troughput too, but not in the first week or so!)

Remember what CLI stands for - Command Line Interface. Talking to your
computer is not a command line interface. Introducing your computer to your
great aunt is not a command line interface.

As we up our input bandwidth capabilities, 'shallow' input methods such as
CLI will seem quaint, much like... Switches on the ENIAC.

> All the permanent storage may be in the fridge, the interfaces may include
> webpads and remote-style controllers and game stations, and there may
> be a lot of wireless networking going on, but I think the traditional
> desktop (keyboard + display) will have a place -- for stuff like email,

Not when I can do it on the train on my webpad, in the car with my speech
recognition agent, or in the bathroom with my echoing cistern of

> desktop publishing, accounting, and so forth.

Sure, but I see those as specialised workstation tasks. Less so accounting,
because it requires a lot less work (from the computer's perspective!) than
DTP. Thin-client accountants boxes instead of software packages like MYOB?

- Jeff

-- jdub@xxxxxxxxxxx ----------------------------- http://www.slug.org.au/ --

              linux.conf.au - coming to Sydney in January 2001

      Installing Linux Around Australia - http://linux.org.au/installfest/