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Thin Clients/PHAT results - Are we there yet?

Jon maddog Hall (maddog@li.org)

Mainframes to Time-sharing to PCs to PDAs, thirty-seven years in the industry with the same promise:

"Computers are going to make things easier, faster, better."

Yet if it was not for me, my father would still not be able to send email.

I have a Master's degree and thirty-seven years in the industry and I still spend way too much time trying to get my system to work. If I want to do this as a computer geek, that is fine. But when I need to get "real work" done, I need to work, not fool with some system. Now amplify this by 900,000,000 present day "personal computer" owners. Worse yet, amplify it by the 5.5 billion people that have not chosen their operating system yet.

If we keep going down the current path, we will be in trouble. 5.5 billion additional people all using 350-500 watts of power every hour trying to send email, but not knowing how.

For ten years I have been patiently telling people that "mass production of software does not scale" and "It is not the cost of the software, it is the value." Some people have listened and understood. Others have been stupid.

What we need is a radical vision, a radical change. One funded by private resources, that creates jobs where everyone makes money, so it is sustaining and motivates people to change. An "Open" solution, so people have choice.

I am 57 years old. I am approaching the end of my life expectancy. Fortunately my family has a long lifespan (my parents are both in their mid-eighties, and my paternal grandmother died at 97), but that is no guarantee that I will live to see more than the barest promises of computing fulfilled.

This talk will be one vision, brought to you by the guy who in 1994 said, "I think there may be some commercial value to this 'Linux thing.'"

I am running out of time. Please help me.