Continuing from yesterday’s post on the Role of the OS on the desktop, two comments really brought out the vision of what Scott Lowe calls "application agnosticism", although I suppose more properly it should be called "OS agnosticism."
Have Windows software but prefer a Linux desktop environment? No
problem. Have one Mac application you love but use primarily Windows
applications? No problem. The desktop OS will evolve to include the
technologies (virtualization, primarily) that will make this possible
so that users can use whatever they prefer without the headache of
figuring out if their system is compatible.
In the end, I think the winner on the desktop will be whoever succeeds
in making the experience most seamless for a user. When virtualization
allows desktop users to click an icon and run applications, without
opening a new OS environment, desktop users will sign on
wholeheartedly. VMware Player and Workstation have saved my sanity for
running certain applications that only run under Windows; if I could
run those applications in the OS of my choice without having to visit
another OS environment, it would be another major leap forward.
And Kimbro touches on a few different topics (read the whole thing), but also chimes in on the desirability of the OS-agnostic desktop and the different requirements for a virtualized desktop that aren’t there on the server:
With that combination, you can run all your Windows software, all your
Linux software, all your Solaris software, all your BSD software and
all the incredible Mac OS X software at the same time. That’s a pretty
compelling advantage and something that just one year ago simply wasn’t
possible. However the idea of not having a real OS like Mac OS X
running on the hardware seems hard to imagine at this point. I clearly
see advantages to it, but at the same time there are a lot more
hardware access issues on the desktop than there are on the server. So
it’s really hard for me to see replacing Mac OS X with a hypervisor,
unless that was an Apple designed hypervisor that’s heavily optimized
for the sharing of hardware. Today that doesn’t exist, but just a year
ago, neither did the possibility of running Windows at near native
speeds on your Mac.
With everybody in violent agreement, I’ll stop here, but here’s a question: are you running an OS-agnostic desktop today?