Ran across this article, “IBM Goes Silent On Linux Desktop Effort” over at InfoWorld. It appears IBM’s much publicised attempt to shift all of their internal desktops to Linux by 2005 is not going as smoothly as they hoped. An excerpt from the article that appears to highlight their biggest problem (my emphasis):
“Though IBM volunteers have set up an internal IRC (Internet relay chat) channel where Linux problems are discussed online, users may experience problems running ibm’s internal web applications. most of those applications are written for the internet explorer browser, which has not been ported to Linux. Internet Explorer is the only browser supported by IBM’s internal support desk, according to another IBMer.
I believe there is a lesson in this for web developers everywhere. One of the reasons it is oftern talked about for moving to web applications is that they are accessible from any platform using any web browser, thus avoiding being tied down to a specific platform. As the web becomes the dominant application deployment platform, it is critically important to write web apps in such ways so that multiple browsers can run it from the same code base. As a result, if the decision is ever made to switch platforms or browsers the most it will require is a bit of minor tweaking, making future migration to a new platform as cheap and easy as possible.