The Mine! Project

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Chrome OS and the Mine!

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My friend Jim wrote, regarding Google’s Chrome OS:

It’s an interesting idea – a distro where the only app is the browser – but it’s not really anything new; it’s just another iteration of the thin client idea. Of course, it might be the right iteration this time.

It also rather goes against a lot of the ideas people like Alec and Adriana are coming up with – ideas of owning one’s own data are rather scuppered by every application running on some anonymous server somewhere. Maybe, after a while, users of Chrome OS will start to buy UI-less home servers to run their apps on and store their data.

Maybe we need a UI-less distribution of Linux, running Apache (or whatever) and a whole bunch of open source webapps – word processing, spreadsheets – and, of course, a Mine! server.

…and I responded in the comments, but alas his homebrew blog software ate my formatting:

ideas of owning one’s own data are rather scuppered by every application running on some anonymous server somewhere

Unless it’s yours :-)

I’m not worried by more and more browsers; I am watching my colleagues realise that all the blogs they have on blogs.sun.com are rather a single point of failure and that their continued publication is at the whim of Larry Ellison. Suddenly people are really really interested in the means of exporting and transporting their blog to another platform, which would not be an issue was the software under their control. I’ve had three people say they now understand why I’ve always been blogging elsewhere…

As a counterpoint, go browse “Opera Unite” which is really interesting; presented as a way for you to take back ownership your data, it is in fact a truly remarkable way for Opera to host (read: “cache and serve”) your data on the Web in a way that gives them a degree of control; as an Eminence Grise for the “empowered user” it would present an interesting attack on Google’s stranglehold of free services and cloud data.

All theMineProject seeks to do is go a step further and expunge the middleman.

a distro where the only app is the browser

Anyone here remember HotJava? :-)

I like the idea of more browsers. The browser is the new end-user platform – anyone who’s not realised this yet has not been paying attention.

The important thing is to maintain diversity this time around, and not let a single vendor take 90% of the installed base.

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6 Responses to “Chrome OS and the Mine!”


  1. alecm
    on Jul 8th, 2009
    @ 4:58 pm

    ps: regarding headless Linux servers: see http://is.gd/1rfe2


  2. Tomas Kohl
    on Jul 8th, 2009
    @ 8:29 pm

    Agreed, esp. the point re: Opera Unite. But what the heck is HotJava? :)


  3. alecm
    on Jul 8th, 2009
    @ 9:26 pm

    since your hacker-fu is strong, i shall point you only to http://www.euroyellowpages.com/exhibitn/javhwhat.html in the expectation you are pulling my leg. :-)

    the goal of a browser fully implemented in a portable language (java) and runnable inside a sandbox environment, and thus inside dedicated thin clients – set top boxes, phones, dedicated browser systems – is still attractive, is still being pursued, and it may always be so…


  4. Jim
    on Aug 18th, 2009
    @ 8:58 am

    …so an ideal home setup for J Random User would be a desktop and/or a laptop running just a browser (and any antediluvian apps that are still actual native apps, like – oh, I dunno – media players and games), and a teeny little always-on server running their Mine. Which would probably be the only thing it would need to run, ever.

    That right?


  5. alecm
    on Aug 18th, 2009
    @ 9:58 am

    >Which would probably be the only thing it would need to run, ever.

    An amusing image; but that’s not what I am seeking, not at all.

    This is *not* a zero-sum game.

    We’re not trying to replace the whole of computing with a bunch of webservers – that would be madness, and also would go against my belief of the cyclic incarnations of IT technologies (http://blip.tv/file/422428 — old, but still relevant)

    What we’re trying to do is give the generation who use blogs and social media an *extra* tool, one which gives them the ability to participate on the web / in the net in a *new* way, and on their own terms.

    I wonder whether the inventor of the telephone was told “Ah, we see, you’re trying to displace books and newspapers! Ha!” — well, in the end, it sort of has done… but that wasn’t the point.

    The point was that it was something new; and we think the Mine is something better than a telephone, because it’s your service, not Ma Bell’s or BT’s.


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