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A third approach to software

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has an article in ZDNet, They're killing the PC, about the rise of the app stores, "Software as a Service" running under Google Chrome, IOS, etc., and the corresponding decline of interest in computers running traditional operating systems. He isn't the only one to notice this trend, and I think he is right about it.

firefox-osI've just been thinking though that there is a a third approach, which is for software developers to create applications that run in a browser, that are installable on one's own computer as a local service, on one's own server via the web, or hosted services. I think that this is a likely trend, which will only grow as browsers and code become more sophisticated and capable. Software created for the browser runs on any operating system. If there's something worthy of support, it is open source browsers such a Firefox, rather than proprietary browsers like Google Chrome. We should support efforts like Firefox OS on mobile phones, and perhaps one day on PCs.

Linux distributions have many such applications available in their software repositories. Hosting services offer many one-click-install possibilities, usually under CPanel. Such software services can be set to upgrade themselves and backup automatically.

The advantage is continued independence from the likes of Apple, Google, Amazon and the rest, and the ability to retain control of one's computer experience, without much of the hassle associated with installing and maintaining software on traditional operating systems.

Update:  I see that Google is developing a Chromium framework for HTML / Javascript apps that work outside the browser and offline by default. Apps will be hosted on GitHub.  So this provides additional support for the argument made here.