Don’t be a sharecropper


Bray explains]1 what it means to be a sharecropper in the sofware

development world.

“If you develop server-side software that runs on Unix (by which I

mean any platform that runs bash and creates processes with fork(),

which includes GNU/Linux, Solaris, AIX, and many others), you’re not a

sharecropper. They’re not 100% compatible, but they’re enough alike

that you can move around and nobody really owns the turf.

You’re not a sharecropper if you’re building around the Apache

webserver and the increasingly-large suite of associated software.

Nobody owns it, and it runs on anything; nuff said.”

Then goes on to argue that applications running in a web browser are

more usable that those running on the desktop.

“These people have forgotten that all user interfaces used to be

“richer environments,” which the users abandoned by the millions, in

favor of the browser, the moment they got a chance. I said millions

and I meant millions: tens of millions, hundreds of millions of

browser downloads from the Netscape that was, and the software vendors

fighting the rearguard actions to defend their “richer,” “more

responsive,” “higher-performance” client software; and losing,


A significant reason for the mass migration to browser-based apps was

not that the browser was intrinsically better or more usable, but

instead because there was suddenly an abundance of apps, and most of

these magical new things ran only in a browser. Although I do

think that web-based apps are simple and consistant, making them

easier to use than many of the so called “rich-client” apps out there.