Shock as Microsoft Evangelist Robert Scoble Recommends Microsoft Technologies

Monday May 10th, 2004

Much has been made in recent days about Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble and his comments about how Mozilla can take advantage of the new technologies introduced in Longhorn, the next major version of Windows. Scoble's thoughts on how Mozilla Firefox could be enhanced via features such as Avalon, Longhorn's new graphics layer, and WinFS, the enhanced file storage system, prompted InternetNews to conduct a follow-up interview, sparked a discussion at Slashdot and caused MozillaNews to quote almost enough to stretch the definition of fair use.

Which is interesting, as nothing Scoble said was particularly surprising. The fact that a Microsoft employee even mentioned Mozilla was a shock to some but it should be noted that Scoble, who was an established member of the weblogging community long before taking a job at Microsoft, was speaking for himself and not Redmond. Furthermore, Microsoft have recently started encouraging their employees to maintain weblogs, launching initiatives such as and Channel 9. In addition, while some media outlets reported that Scoble was offering advice to Mozilla, in reality he simply was recommending technologies whose widespread adoption would benefit Microsoft. At its core, this is a simply case of a Microsoft evangelist evangelising Microsoft. Nothing particularly surprising about that.

So far, the reaction from the Mozilla camp has been cool. While some features like WinFS and Avalon may be embraced in time, any evaluation is unlikely to take place until much closer to Longhorn's release. Meanwhile, technologies such as XAML (which, to be fair, Scoble is not advocating Mozilla adopt), have been met with outright hostility, with leading Mozilla figures viewing the proprietary XML user interface language as a threat to the freedom and interoperability of the Web.

#3 while MS is evil... but necessary

by buff

Monday May 10th, 2004 8:27 PM

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While Microsoft is evil, I think they are actually helping the refinement of desktop linux. Looking at modern linux distro's like Fedora and Mandrake it reminds me how far linux has come as a desktop alternative. Sure, XUL was very useful in making cross platform compatibility but the development time of XUL was high and costly (remember Netscape?) and I haven't seen too many applications that were useful based on it other than Firefox and OEOne desktop. So, it makes sense to possibly look at incorporating XUL into Gnome and KDE so developers can write cross-platform apps. I know people are working on this right now and it is exciting to see the possibilites for GUI development on linux. Possibly even the long fabled GRE might actually surface and be taken seriously as a run-time engine standard.

The competition that Microsoft brings is actually helping push the development of a standard XML based toolkit for Linux. So while we all like to complain how evil Microsoft is embracing and extending current tech., we might actually have them to thank for spurring the open source community on.

I am a linux desktop user myself and the linux desktop still needs plenty of help. Ever try and install a palm USB on Redhat Fedora? Create symbolic link to /dev/pilot, run pilot-xfer from a terminal, install Jpilot, etc.; a royal pain in the butt.