Ray Ozzie on Longhorn & Groove Networks - Page 3

Sun and Linux versions of Groove">

SG: Hows the Mac version coming?

Ozzie: [laughs] The Mac version is great. I am so happy that Microsoft bought Connectix. I dont have a good answer for you there, Steve. I just dont have customer demand right now to fund a native port. I would love to do it. I would really love to do it. I just dont know how to fund it.

SG: Given the direction that Longhorn is moving with XAML and Avalon, separating UI calls from business calls or the rest of the code, do you see that as an opportunity to move, if not the actual client, then the Groove services over to other platforms -- the Mac, Linux, Sun?

Ozzie: Let me answer a question with a question -- and Im not trying to evade – I just think this is really the higher-level question that we should be asking as an industry: Linux-- and to a smaller extent the Mac because it is OS/X, a Berkeley derivative -- is reliant on the fact that the OS layer is stabilizing and becoming a commodity. That is, it would be great for both the Mac and Linux if nobody could make money on operating systems anymore because it was all generic and all the same and it all looked like 1970s 80s-ish Unix.

Now what if, as has happened in applications, the core abstraction of what is in a contemporary OS moves up by many notches? What if APIs become frameworks? What if a file system becomes more like a database? If higher level service-oriented architectures are in the underlying infrastructure as opposed to just generic standard C library runtime calls?

As a client side developer, I really want to take advantage of that stuff. It lets me be a whole lot more productive. But the more I do that the more I rely on higher-level infrastructure being around. So what I would ask you is the following: Are the Linux community and the Mac community prepared to step up their client-side investments to build higher-level frameworks to make it easier for me to code like a Microsoft is doing?

SG: Or Sun, whos given a fairly strong indication that they are going to match – certainly not the dollars – but the investment in an uber-OS of the type youre talking about.

Ozzie: On the server side I think I see that theyre investing like that. I dont know that theyre doing that on the client side. Maybe Im not well versed enough.

SG: There seem to be three basic groups attempting to marshall that transition: Apple; Novell with their investments in Zimian and Evolution –- and now with SuSE,; and Sun with its Desktop System, and Looking Glass –- which is not coincidentally a somewhat Mac-oriented OS/X interface in the same way that Microsoft seems to be borrowing some of Os/Xs glass look and feel.

Ozzie: Restating the obvious, but at a high level, the good news is: As an industry, of all the players that youve talked about, were all agreeing on the wire. A service-oriented architecture – objects on the client, services as a way of dealing with servers--were all agreeing on that. Its looking good for the customer, in that respect, because it doesnt matter whats on the client and whats on the server, were all going in the same direction. The client is still about moving from a world of APIs to a world of objects.

To the extent that, through Mono and through various things like that, there is a uniform object abstraction that a client programmer can use between the systems, life is good for a developer. To the extent that there are different object models on the client, its going to bifurcate the camps – and that isnt what you want because you want my program… sorry, I would like you to want my program on the Mac.

I havent seen Apple making overtures that its going to try to unify the object model with the future object model that would be the Windows platform. Id love to see that happen. But if compatibility was tough with GUI APIs we aint seen nothin yet with respect to the world of object models. The level of service offering and complexity to emulate is tremendous. As developers we want that intensity because it saves us time. Its going to be interesting to see how things evolve. Im really looking forward to see what Novells angle is.

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