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.comment: Good Idea or Wacky Fantasy? - page 2

Linux is Not Windows. Good.

  • December 4, 2001
  • By Dennis E. Powell

As I think more and more about such a system, the chief concern I have is that it would involve lots of contentious meetings and very little getting done -- we've seen this kind of thing before. It could well be that a completely universal plug-in interface is not possible -- that the standard would be so broad as to be meaningless. But surely the file filter standard could be achieved, and more easily than each project writing its own filters to a point short of completion, as is the case now.

A second concern is that it might put application developers in a position of having to chase Windows applications around, feature-for-feature -- if you have those revision marks, you also need to be able to do something with them.

I do think that the day is fast approaching, though, where code reusability is going to be a truly important issue, when the desktop is essentially one application that loads code as needed for the particular task to be performed, without loading code not needed for that task -- fundamentally, plug-ins. Applications would be desktop-independent, with the desktop of choice providing widgets and eye candy and certain behavioral conventions, but without any rewriting of code needed. This would be a tremendous aid to productivity.

It has been attempted before with varying degrees of success, but never taken all the way. Microsoft wants to do something like this, but with them you'd have to rent the plug-ins online. A good response would be to do it better, sooner, and with everything residing on the local drive.

But that's still down the road a piece. Unifying plug-ins, at least to the point of universal file filter standards, could be done well, and quickly, and would be another step in that direction. And nothing, I think, would better promote the use of Linux on the desktop.

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