"Early in January, Intel announced plans for new Intel-branded
Internet appliances that would run on Linux. (The press release is
here.) They also showed and demonstrated some of these at their
booth at CES--the Consumer Electronics Show--in Las Vegas. It was
there that I got to play around briefly with two devices: a
computer-like thin client, sitting in an ersatz kitchen, and a TV
set-top box in an ersatz living room. Both were beyond impressive.
They were scary."
"The web box had a display that seemed to have more in common
with an airport kiosk than a computer of any kind. Fundamentally,
it was a browser. A Mozilla browser, in fact, but without the usual
windowing features. It was simply a window on the Web, with a set
of other handy features: e-mail, sticky notes, calendar and so
forth. It was equally open and proprietary: on the one hand, it
used open-source software (Linux and Mozilla); on the other, it was
a closed and therefore proprietary box. It was, literally, an
"The set-top box looked like, say, a DISH or DirectTV box, but
with one important difference: when you thought you were looking at
just another proprietary cable company display, you were looking at
a browser rendering HTML. Intel had webified The Tube by putting a
browser (again, Mozilla) interface on all the potential choices a
user might face. It had even moved some of the directional buttons
(e.g., forward and back) from the browser window to the remote
control. Again, it was that strange mix of open and closed."
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