Mitchell Baker finally blogged about the Mozilla Foundation and the “Thunderbird situation.” I replied to her blog, but it’s pretty lengthy, figure anyone that cares about my opinion will more likely see it here than there, so here is what I posted there (mostly, I had the full thing in my clipboard, but replaced it without pasting over the copy I’d made in progreess).
I agree that things are going to get really interesting with the web and what it can do. I think we might be missing the boat if we think it’s all going to happen within the browser. All the talk I hear about “the web is the future!” sounds like Firefox as OS, and maybe it’s my lack of vision, but I just can’t see that working out well. If everything is going to be “on the web” then where does a browser separate from the operating system fit in? Will it be like PowerDesktop, an alternative file exlorer?
I think there is a serious underestimation of how much people want their data *off* the web as much as possible, especially in North America. What will happen for those users? I guess Firefox would save their data to the HD and tell the server to delete it, and then the web interface would be able to read the mail again? Or Firefox would display it without sending it back to the server? Isn’t that another suite?
I think my biggest problem with all this is I don’t know how far in the future all this is, maybe it’s next year, and so it’s *Really* happening, but is it really? What’s the timeframe for this? Are we really somewhere with standards that it can happen so soon? 5 years maybe?
So while everyone’s really excited about what’s coming down the tubes, I’m sitting at home wanting to use an email client, and a calendar manager, and I like not having to go online to check stuff (*my* internet is up pretty much 24/7 and I have unlimited bandwidth, but pretty sure that’s still the minority). Especially on my laptop. Yeah there’s mobile phones, too, but seriously what is the security like? Hackers are just beginning to get into the market and will phone providers and manufacturers really have the experience to close the holes quick enough to keep people’s data safe in the near future?
All this R&D is great, but I’m a user and I exist *right now* and my data could use managing *right now* and *right now* I don’t care how many apps I have to use to do that, that’s what my operating system is for. I care that things like Thunderbird, and Sunbird (which is an alpha I might add, it’s amazing) work. really. well.
If the technologies are going to converge, then fine. But why so much bet hedging? Why not let it happen organically? Innovate the current products and UI. I mean web based or standalone the UI that people like is going to be the same. Isn’t that what the foundation is supposed to be doing anway? Nurturing things that are good for people *now* and seeing where they can go?