Salon: The Browser as Middleware and Microsoft's Missteps

Friday November 12th, 1999

Salon Online has an interesting article in their Technology section, "Do the paranoid survive?" which delves into the paranoia that caused Microsoft to go after Netscape. Although the author discusses the idea of "the browser as middleware" -- the idea that the browser could function as a platform upon which other applications can be developed, in effect commoditizing the Operating System -- he neglects to mention that as a direct result of Microsoft's actions, Mozilla has sprung up and has been quietly developing a browser that actually embodies Microsoft's paranoid delusions. With 95% cross-platform code (expected to be 97% by release) and a user-interface built from XML, scriptable via JavaScript and C/C++, and rendered via HTML/CSS, Mozilla has more potential as a middle-tier base for cross-platform, Internet-ready application development than Netscape's offerings ever had. The Mozilla team is forging ahead into a new era in Internet applications (the Nokia/Intel Internet appliance is only the beginning) and even if it can't surmount IE's lead in the desktop browser base, it will indelibly change the face of the Internet, just as the first GUI browsers did. And Microsoft will once again be playing catch-up.

Thanks to James Keller for the news.

#4 StarOffice

by james_keller <>

Friday November 12th, 1999 11:25 AM

You are replying to this message

I thought I'd also mention my agreement with Mark Gimein's assertion that it's Microsoft Office (not MSWindows) which has tied people so completely to the Windows platform. I've been using Office since.. well.. since I first started really using windows, and every company I've worked at has used Word/Excell/Outlook/etc. Now I know there are some companies that don't, but still..

Recently I've started using staroffice (<>), and it's quirky, but it's cross-platform-ness, free-distribution and open-source-ish licensing is definately one up on microsoft. The biggest plus, of course, is that it reads MSOffice files, so the upgrade was relatively painless (well, ok, I encountered this weird "missing soffice.ini" error, but I found the answer on some newsgroups).

I realize there are other alternatives than StarOffice, but I just thought I'd relate my experience.