A new front?

Google's new “My Maps” is one of the coolest new web technologies I've come across in a long time – I love it! But this, combined with an off-hand remark in a blog, got me thinking: where are all the free web apps?

This is only going to be a short (very short) post because it's the holidays, which I'm enjoying(!), but I wanted to leave you with some thinking to do during your time off. Google, the champion of free software in the off-line world, with projects like Summer of Code, are not even coming under any pressure to release the source code for their on-line applications: G-Mail, Google Apps and Calendar are just three examples.

There are some fantastic examples of free web applications like Wordpress, Drupal and Mediawiki; there are even some signs of real innovation coming from Red Hat's Mugshot website which, with its off-line client, is trying to further integration between our desktops and our on-line social “networking” persona. None of these, however, are targeting the same functionality as Google's suite of apps which to me is vital functionality: I can't afford to run my own mail server, even if I could there aren't any free software web mail systems that can match G-Mail, or Yahoo Mail or Windows Live Mail.

Maybe it's time to try and apply a bit of pressure to these companies? Maybe it's time we started pointing some of the spotlight at the on-line world?

License

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

With thanks to Fremantle Counselling to keep FSM editors sane.