brand new day?

Microsoft seems to be flaunting a new attitude, one that says "Yes we're evil. Now let us try to become good". Rob Scoble is almost 100% of the time using this as his basic evangelistic premise; new language technologies ASP and .Net support unix-friendly PerlScript; and the open-source-like pre-pre-pre-alpha release of Longhorn is full of this apparently positive approach.

I noticed this ad on Sourceforge (a VA Linux website, which goes to show how hard they're trying) that openly admits how much Frontpage sucked. Note I say "sucked" in past tense because I myself am quite impressed with the new rewrite of Frontpage. They are really doing a good job at cleaning up their act - atleast on some fronts. However, the cynical unix zealot in me takes this attitude with a pinch of salt. These guys control almost the whole of the PC market. Is this a genuine attempt to improve, or just another monopolistic maneuvere that's trying to lock in users? For example, look at Microsoft Internet Explorer - it was created to kill the Netscape browser. And they did an awesome job at it: IE4 was a landmark in application software, and its subsequent versions eradicated Netscape from the market, thus keeping the whole World Wide Web in Microsoft's pockets. However, it becomes evident that all this was done with the sole intention of market capture when you read about the company's lack of enthusiasm to improve their software. So is this new Frontpage, an honest attempt at making good authoring software, or just a Dreamweaver killer that'll plateau once it's taken over the world?

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About the author:

Arnab Nandi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. You can read more about him here.

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