Microsoft might be right about the concept behind .NET - and that irritates me. OK, so MS has a good idea, that's happened before. Yeah, they'll use it to do things I don't like, like expose my information to insecure systems and collate information I don't want harvested. OK, ok, they're planning for the future.
But why is it that the very thing I'm obsessing over is at the core of Microsoft's strategy? Are they that good? Am I that unlucky?
Basically, my problem is that I use a stringently controlled computer at work, a Linux box at home (which also boots into WinXP for games), and I just added a Mac PowerBook running MacOS X 10.2. So that's three computers, in two locations, with four operating systems. And I want seamless access to email, bookmarks, calendar, addressbook ... heck, I'd like to be able to develop my church's web site from anywhere as well. (Which means emacs and perl and mozilla, BTW.)
Maybe my solution is using my Linux box as a server, and ssh-ing to it when I need terminal access. But what about everything else? Even if I use my own box, how do I set up email access & contacts & bookmarking of websites? I can't ssh from my work box, it's pretty obvious that I can't get to my linux partition from the windows partition of the same box. In fact, unless I get myself another computer, the only way that hosting my own solutions would work would be if I was using my powerbook. Sigh.
OK, I'm complaining. I know. But this doesn't really seem like "Ask Slashdot" material, and I don't even know where to start searching for all of this. Well, not quite true. I've looked on Sourceforge for bookmarking solutions, and tried to find email solutions there as well. But I'm not really a programmer (I'm learning perl, but I'm just beginning.), so making sense out of the where the projects are, or what they actually do (as opposed to what they say they want in the description), or how easy they are to use, or how robust ... well, I'm looking at a lot of 'solutions' to each seperate problem I listed, but nothing seems appropriate.
I've thought about rolling my own solution to the bookmarking problem, and I could probably do it in a month or so. But that's just the most obvious symptom to my underlying problem - I want continual access to all of my data, no matter where I am or what kind of computer I'm using. And, to complete the circle, that's just what Microsoft is planning for .NET. They say that I'll be able to get to all of my info, my settings, my data, from anywhere. Great. Now, just let me do that without giving up all of my personal information, or exposing all of my data to crackers, or tying me to one particular platform. If Open Source / Free Software is going to continue to be some of the best software in the world, we (Yes, we. I want to make this happen, and I want to work for it. Even if it's only testing/documentation.) will have to address the problem of letting people access their data from remote locations.
Well, I'm off to look for what's been done in the "alternate .NET" world. Maybe I'll find it and be happy. Or maybe I'll make it happen. Or maybe I'll just remain unhappy and unmotivated.