Open source, Ipad e mondi chiusi

Di   9 Aprile 2010
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Via Fabrizio Capobianco

I played with the device for days, brought it on a plane, used it on the couch, the bed, out in full sunlight. My conclusion is the same of when I first heard about it: it is a home desktop replacement. Something that makes total sense inside your home. The future of computing for the non-geeks, the other 99% of the population.

It is phenomenal for entertainment. Videos are great: I both rented a movie and “found” one divx movie online, converted and synced. Photos look awesome. I bought a book and it is nice to read in bed, without turning on the light (my wife appreciates it). It is the ultimate gaming machine: we downloaded WeRule and my daughter is still harvesting crops, every morning. I read the NYT after breakfast and I do not miss the paper a bit (heck, I finish reading and my fingers are not black from ink, that should count).

Overall, the iPad is a platform with enormous potential, and definitely the future of home computing. It is going to have a large market, moving from niche to niche.

Now, here you have the second part of the week: I got depressed… We could not develop anything on it. We have a contacts app, which is kinda useless standalone. We could not have access to the calendar, because it was not in the API. Or the pictures. Apple blocked access to everything that matters to Funambol. I had the future of computing in my hands and I could not develop anything useful on it.

Problem solved (the community has already developed a calendar sync app, it just works only on jailbroken devices), life is good. We can build the transparent cloud syncing service for the masses, including all those iPhone, iPod, iPad users. How happy does it make me? Very. I got lucky. Again. Someone somewhere seems to be cheering for me.

Or maybe, it is just the power of open source at work. It has happened before, it is happening now. You get three open source products competing with you, and they force you to change. Apple could not alienate developers any longer (I was alienated, my team was alienated, we were all cheering for Android ;-) Just when I felt they were about to lose us for good, they got us back. It is not an open source platform (yet), but it is open enough. Let’s build on it.