Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mozilla Gecko Embedding and fresh air

I'm so stoked to see Chris Blizzard resurrecting Mozilla Embedding with full force!

I used to manage the Mozilla Gecko Embedding team several years ago, and it's been fun to see how things have progressed, and how much focus and energy the API is being given. We were a killer team back in the day, and everyone is still doing great things.

I spoke at a San Diego, O'Reilly Open Source conference on the topic, right when we were trying to formalize things. Chris' notes from a recent Moz Embedding discussion in Mountain View a few weeks ago would have made for a much better presentation.

We initially fired up the effort to make sure Gecko could be integrated into a schlew of AOL products. Remember AOL bought Netscape/Mozilla. We kicked ass in roughly a half-dozen products AOL had, including the Windows AOL client (which was the only one not to see the light of day; long story... over beer... in a word "politics"). We went so far as to try and brand Gecko w/ Netscape as well (see post image). Ahhh, good times.

Go Gecko embedding!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Brad Feld effect

Brad Feld linked to a page in my blog last month, from his blog. The significant, temporary, traffic impact was comedic.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

SPOFs and Clouds

I'm really excited about the Cloud computing frenzy in the marketplace right now. So many under utilized CPU cycles within large corporate data centers (eBay, Amazon, Google, AOL, Microsoft, others) are begging for communal use. Amazon leads the pack by far right now, but I'm anxious to see how IBM plays out. They feel like the sleeping giant in all of this.

While we all benefit from near zero hosting costs in existing Cloud scenarios today, I'm concerned we're building a deep dependency on a fragile backbone. Amazon's AWS outages have tremendous ripple effects already, and exemplify my concerns.

The winning scenario is one that provides virtualization of arbitrary images (Google's current, albeit early preview, release only allows uploads of Python apps), in a highly distributed network of data centers. That's one of the reasons I think IBM wins this in the end. They'll let the higher level players like Google and Amazon vet the functionality, feature set and APIs, then swoop in with the ideal multi-data-center topography.

Service Level Agreements are going to become increasingly necessary for apps to rely on this kind of virtualization, and that's another reason why I think IBM will pull this off in the end. They have decades of experience pulling these kinds of commitments and SLAs together.

I can't justify building significant web infrastructure apps on such an immature framework. Either I need more financial pressure to drive me into the risky Cloud, or the model needs to settle into a reliable state.