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Opera Unite - Dawn of a new era?
Although still in its infancy, Opera Unite could start a big shift in how we use IT.
Some years ago, I wrote about a second PC revolution in which PC users create outward-facing services and offer them to the world as easily as they currently create spreadsheets.
That vision has come one step closer with Opera Unite.
Opera handles the networking. Instead of other people accessing your PC directly, they access a public URL (something like http://computer.yourname.operaunite.com/web_server), which the Opera servers then forward to your PC. You can use the service to run web-based applications without configuring servers, domain names and firewalls, even from behind a corporate firewall.
From our technical perspective, it's easy to dismiss Opera Unite. It isn't hard to set up a web server on a PC, or to use an addressing service such as DynDNS.com to provide an address to it. And of course running web applications from inside a browser on a PC is architecturally inept.
But we dismiss this new direction at our peril. There are many reasons why Opera Unite is significant:
If Opera Unite is successful, and if similar features are built in to more popular browsers, we in IT risk losing control as users abandon centrally controlled IT and take matters into their own hands. We can see this as a threat, or see this as an opportunity, but I do not think we should ignore it.Next: Internet Explorer 8 - time to upgrade
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