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The People's OS for mobile?
By Dave Winer on Friday, December 09, 2011 at 3:18 PM.

A picture named bankLarrySergey.gifWhen I think of scripting, I go back to the shell scripts I wrote when I was learning Unix in the 70s. That was the great thing about the OS, compared to the Apple II which I used next, and IBM mainframes which I used before. You could tie the apps together with little programs you wrote yourself that moved the output of one app to the input of another. That meant it was easy to print to a file or a printer, or pipe the output of a program to something that would transmit it somewhere else. And when it got there another script could take it and move it through an app on that machine (maybe a mail gateway) and on its way it goes. You could set up all kinds of gadgets. Back when our computers didn't do very much you actually had time to get things Just So. #

Just So might be what scripts are all about. It's about making your environment yours. Somewhere along the line we lost our way with scripting, and now our newest systems aren't even scriptable. That is even if you had the time to tweak them up (no one does) you can't.  #

The place where we actually have the time now are the newest platforms -- mobile devices. Because they are used in places that heretofore we weren't able to compute. They aren't good for writing (not much at least, not for me). But as you're leaving who wants to spend the time to set them up Just So, so that all the stuff we want there is there when we are far away from our desktops. But if you could do it once, and run it forever, that might just work. #

The script on your desktop would ask over and over -- Is the mobile device here? Is the mobile device here? Is the mobile device here? When it is, shake its hand and do your thing. And over on the other side would be a similar script saying Are we home yet? Are we home yet? You write both of these, so you control what happens when they touch. #

What it takes to really pull this off are better tools and really free environments. Ones that are so free that no one is commercially interested in them, for a while -- so no one can screw them up. I know Android has scripting, but I don't trust Google. I think if we ever get anything good going there, they'll swoop in and correct us. They work for big companies, so they figure they know better than us common folk.  #

So maybe that's what the open source release of WebOS will come to mean. Maybe it will be the People's OS for mobile. Maybe it'll be out of range of a BigCo to mess up. Or maybe they just took it for a ride in the country and forgot to bring it home? Could be that too.  #

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