We are at an interesting time in consumer software again, after a long
hiatus. The next version of Windows promises much, but is two
years away. The two year old Windows XP is left holding the fort.
In the meanwhile, Linux is rapidly evolving a friendly face. For the first time,
it seems to really be a viable option for computer-literate users. It is not quite
there yet, but two years is a long time in computer years.
Internet Explorer 6 is the end of the line for the world's most popular browser.
The next level of the IE experience, will only be available integrated into the
upcoming Windows, two years from now. Web technology is among the most
rapidly evolving, so using IE going forward means being tied to obsolete tech-
In the meanwhile, Netscape is no more, but its offspring do it proud. Mozilla
Firebird is already far and beyond a better browser product than Internet
ExplorerWeb standards compliant, privacy aware, and with a great pop-up
The next MS Office is expected by year end, but the pretty new icons in the lat-
est beta test versions don't really present an interesting upgrade story. Sure, the
new XML capabilities will find takers in special applications, but that doesn't
help you write a better letter. If it sticks to schedule, MS Office will make anoth-
er attempt at tempting us in a couple of years.
In the meanwhile, solutions such as OpenOffice.org come nowhere near MS
Office in feature count or polish, but they get the job done for free.
Open source applications have been following an erratic path to usability and
effectiveness. In recent times, a lot has changed. And with all of the major
Microsoft products holding off for two years, this may be the right time to dip
your toes in strange waters, and feel the currents of change.
Even our President would approve.
"For the first
time, it (Linux)
seems to really be
a viable option... It
is not quite there
yet, but two years
is a long time in
computer years "
A Time for Alternatives