18 March 2011

How Can Open Source Survive in a Post-PC World?

We are entering a post-PC world – or so we are told. But is that good or bad for open source?

The open source world has been fixated so long on the “Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop” that it runs the risk of failing to notice that the desktop is no longer the key platform. That's been evident for some time in the developing world, where cost and power constraints mean that big, expensive PCs are simply impractical for most people. But with the rise of smartphones like the iPhone and Android devices, many people in western countries are also ditching their desk-bound systems in favour of powerful, more pocketable ones.

On The H Open.


Paul L. said...

In the short term, bad for open source. Ironically I think one of the main reasons is due to the nemesis of Open Source - Windows. Windows malware fouls up the experience so badly, the whole post PC fondle-my-tablet intimacy thing combined with "just works" sand-boxed applications, has made a rather bigger impression on Joe public than it otherwise might have done. The open-source world eschewing the shift in focus due to closed app-stores etc. has been left a little flat footed. Also I think the appStore ecosystem is probably proving quite attractive for small development teams. I don't have any data one way or the other, but I do wonder if any dent has been made in hours spent working on open source projects.

glyn moody said...

@Paul: the point about malware is interesting. It suggests that once we start seeing some malware on tablets - as we are on mobiles - that might change.

The point about Mozilla's Web apps is that it wants to reproduce the attractiveness of the appstore ecosystem but using HTML5 and open standards. With luck, those same small dev teams might move across...