One thing I will never miss from my days in the PC repair business was having to explain to a client that their PC was no longer. The matter goes from bad to worse when there are concerns regarding the expense for people on a fixed income. It can be heart breaking when these individuals use their machines for such things as keeping in touch with family and no longer have that ability. I have donated my own time here as there comes a point where you refuse to leave a person in that position hanging – anything less than providing a solution, even at your cost, is the only moral choice in my opinion.
But sometimes it becomes clear that a platform switch is indeed, in order. Yet trying to get people to switch to a platform that would have prevented the issue in the first place remains extremely challenging at best. Today, I found myself recommending a new Vista box due to specific software needs that would not have been addressed with OS X or Linux. And to be totally honest, while VMWare is helpful for a geek, it tends to lose most people rather quickly as it not a true native running solution. To most people, an application is an application. Trying to set them up with virtualization on the home front is still a ways off.
How I yearn for the day we can get to software being about the user and not the platform. Web based, closed/open source, whatever – let’s make it about the end user and less about which stupid platform we are being herded into for once. For the first time in a very long time, I am becoming disgusted with installed, localized applications and find myself hoping Web based apps can pickup where traditional software vendors have failed miserably. But alas, it is not as simple as providing packages for all three popular platforms. Often times providing options for Linux and Mac do not make the same economic sense as it does to provide software Windows. I get this, I genuinely do. And knowing this, beginning today, I am going to be putting extra emphasis on Web apps and will be working to ensure that cross platform solutions gain the recognition that they deserve. It may not be the ultimate solution, but in all honesty, it is proving to be our best hope as security issues and viability challenges continue to be ironed out.