Live Mesh: Microsoft's Theory of Everything
In the world of theoretical physics, the Theory
is a long-sought, hypothetical model that would elegantly
explain and link all known physical phenomena, from the minute and unpredictable
world of quantum mechanics to the vast energies and scale that define the still-evolving
study of cosmology. It would finally bind gravity into the same system as the
strong nuclear, weak nuclear and electro-magnetic forces. Our whites would be
whiter and our brights would be brighter.
But like so many things in life that seem almost too good to be true, the Theory
of Everything has proven hard to achieve. The area of research has even had
its own Cold Fusion moment when a paper written by erstwhile academic physicist
and now semi-employed surfer dude A. Garrett Lisi drew attention for its exceedingly
simple effort to solve the Theory of Everything.
As it happens, Microsoft is chasing its own Theory of Everything in the form
of Live Mesh. The effort
could help Microsoft break through long-standing boundaries that have prevented
users from freely tapping their data and applications on PCs, appliances and
devices of every stripe.
As RDN contributing editor John Waters reports
from the Live Mesh announcement and demo at the Web
2.0 Expo this week in San Francisco, Live Mesh is a cloud-centric data synchronization
and collaboration services effort that offers a consumer play on Microsoft's
accelerating Software + Services (S+S) strategy.
"In a nutshell, Live Mesh allows individuals, their devices and their
data to become aware of one other, and establish networks to permit file synchronization
across all of it," industry analyst Neil Macehiter told Waters after the
Live Mesh has been two years in the making and is widely
credited to the hide-and-seek visionary genius of Microsoft Chief Software
Architect Ray Ozzie. In fact, this launch may end up being remembered as the
true beginning of the Ozzie era at Microsoft, when the company stopped talking
about open systems and interoperability and really did something strategic about
Notably, Live Mesh promises a cross-platform development environment. Developers
can craft Live Mesh-aware services and applications in Java, Flash, Ruby, Python
and numerous other non-.NET languages. The Mesh Operating Environment that undergirds
Live Mesh services hews to standard fare like the Atom Publishing Protocol,
JSON and RSS. The universe of supported devices and hardware is expected to
be diverse, as well --though today, support is limited to just Windows XP and
But let's not get carried away here. Developers can expect Visual Studio, .NET
languages like C# and VB.NET, and rich Internet application (RIA) platforms
like Silverlight to emerge as first-class citizens in the Live Mesh universe.
What's more, as RDN
columnist Greg DeMichillie writes in his latest column, which will appear
in a future issue of RDN: "Once a developer builds an application
on top of Live Mesh, they are beholden to Microsoft in perpetuity."
Obviously, it's very early in the Live Mesh cycle yet, and in the months to
come we'll see expanding platform support. But I'll be looking forward to hearing
a lot more about the direction Microsoft intends to take with what amounts to
Microsoft's Theory of Everything.
What are your impressions of Live Mesh and what are some of your biggest concerns?
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Michael Desmond on 04/24/2008 at 1:15 PM