Developer Week in Review

Apple's iOS 4.2 approaches, OpenOffice loses contributors, IE's share drops slowly, and here come the Chrome netbooks

Here’s your weekly helping of developer info:

The sudden but inevitable Apple news

Several pieces of news on the Apple front this week. First up: the Gold Master seed (which either sounds like something you plant to get nice apples, or something out of a bad SF eugenics novel) for iOS 4.2 dropped, signaling the green light for iPad/iPhone/iPod developers to submit 4.2-ready applications to the App Store. Traditionally, the pre-release to developers is followed about a week later by the general release, and is identical.

Meanwhile, continuing to muddy the waters about what is and isn’t allowed on the iPhone, Adobe gave a sneak peak of a tool that converts Flash movies into standard HTML5 movies, thus making them viewable on iOS devices (and HTML5 browsers without Flash installed.)

And evidently the iPhone will be coming to Verizon in 2011. I’m sure you’ve already heard about it, I just didn’t want to be the last journalist on the planet to report it. Is there such a thing as a secret at Apple anymore? At this point, if Apple had been in charge of the D-Day invasion, the Germans would have been waiting on the beach with gift baskets.

Motivations behind Oracle’s Sun acquisition get clearer

So far this year, Oracle has sued Google over Java on the Android and pretty much killed off OpenSolaris. So what’s next for Larry & Co.?

The answer came when 33 contributors from the OpenOffice project jumped ship for LibreOffice. Evidently, Oracle appeared to have little interest in putting much effort into OpenOffice. Decoding the corporate-speak from Oracle’s PR department, the reaction to the defections so far might best be summed up as “Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out.”

As former Sun projects acquired by Oracle drop like flies, it becomes possible to deduce what Oracle really bought Sun for simply by listing what’s left: mainly MySQL and Sun’s hardware business. Bets, anyone?

Is IE slowly heading toward minority status?

No one browser can take the credit, but Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to slowly lose traffic share to Firefox, Chrome, and the other hungry young punks nipping at its heals. Now down to 59.25 percent of total browser usage, IE is a far cry from the heady days of 90-plus percent dominance. For all you AJAX and HTML5 developers out there, it should serve as a signal that the days of “This website requires Internet Explorer” need to be laid to rest for good, unless you like alienating 40 percent of your potential user base.

Another week, another platform

So, you say that developing for OS X, Windows, Linux, iOS, J2ME, HTML5 and Android isn’t enough diversity to keep your mind occupied. Now you can add Chrome OS to that list. Vendors will soon release an onslaught of Chrome-powered netbooks, smartbooks and notebooks. Conventional wisdom is that the world doesn’t need another notebook operating system, but conventional wisdom said the same thing about Android, and now everybody laughs at him at the water cooler at work. In other words, ignore Google at your peril.

That’s it for this week. Suggestions are always welcome, so please send tips or news here.

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