Visionaries II - Eric Kidd's "The Missing Future"

Eric Kidd wrote an article on June 22, 2003, entitled "The Missing Future". I was searching for a linux solution to a linux problem and accidentally stumbled upon the article. I read the title and was immediately captivated. I found myself reading all the way through, which is rare these days given that the Internet today is a big big goo.

I said to myself, "Hey! This is not another guy who wrote about the future, yesterday. This guy is living it." He is a one in a million of factors that play in the whole equation - an equation that not many can comprehend, an equation that silently plays amidst the background news of all that is new and old - and ultimately, an equation that will probably decide the future of the computing world sometime in the near future.

He speaks of his love for programming, his future as one, and which road he should take in these times of rapidly changing technology. It's unique in a manner that not many programmers must have thought the same back then. It offers a unique point of view on the rivalry among software developers, open source zealots and independent developers.

He speaks of three possible futures. One is the Microsoft Future, a possibility most likely dominated by:


"A single, unified platform for writing software, with officially blessed tools and technologies."



In this future, he says that as a programmer he only has to write his software once - a solution brought by not having to wrangle with the intricacies and quirks of multiple platforms. Write once, sell to billions, that is the motto. This future is a convenient one, but also frought with serious implications:


"...as Microsoft's competitors die off, Microsoft will squeeze everybody harder and harder. We'll all be forced to switch to a subscription model, and to pay for our software again and again. Our computers will include unbreakable Digital Rights Management--which means that our computers will serve Hollywood and Microsoft, and not us. And if Microsoft's hand gets too heavy, our only hope will be government regulation of software."


I strongly urge you to read the original post to appreciate and grasp the depth of Eric's analysis. Besides, I only gave the first possible fork of the future.

You'd have to remember, he wrote this in 2003. Now, the year is 2006 and we have Web 2.0. The question, is Web 2.0 a fork of this "Missing Future"?

The Missing Future