E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


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Salon turns 10

Ten years ago today was the public launch of Salon (as salon1999.com, not salon.com, but that's another story). I can't say that I'm surprised they have lasted, because their work has consistently been excellent.

Through Salon's connection to the Well I have gotten glimpses of how hard they have worked over the years, and I'm glad that it has continued to pay off in terms of editorial quality and reader respect, if not guaranteed solvency. (I know that predicting the hour of Salon's demise is a fixation for some -- mostly people who read second-hand accounts of SEC filings, as far as I can tell.)

In 1998 I wrote a piece for Salon titled "The Little Browser that Could," about an upstart web browser that was challenging Microsoft IE and Netscape Navigator -- which were just about neck-and-neck. In my review I said:

To call it a David and Goliath scenario is optimistic. Opera Software, an unknown Norwegian company with only 11 employees, has pitted itself against Microsoft and Netscape in the Web browser wars. But the upstart's only weapon is a browser that lacks support for several key Web standards and costs $35 more than its free competition.

Today, seven and a half years later, Opera has surpassed Netscape's market share. I'll grant you that they are both in the, ah, low single digits. But the point is that Opera Software held in there, continued to improve their excellent product, and have prospered despite skeptical looks from some quarters.

There are definitely limits to the parallels one can draw between software products and publishing enterprises. And I'm sure the Salon folks would rather be, say, Firefox than Opera. But my point is that quality and integrity do sometimes win out, and for that we should be glad. Happy anniversary, Salon, and thanks for hanging in there.

Sunday, November 20th, 2005
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0 comments pending approval
Comment from Jonny Axelsson , 2 days later

I remember that article well, it was after I started reading Salon but before I joined Opera. It was one of the early reviews while Opera was still fairly obscure for most.

Opera Software too celebrated their 10th year a few months back. Few, myself included, expected it to last for long in the beginning, let alone a decade. And thereafter I have seen many more The Imminent End Of Opera claims than I care to remember. All things end eventually but most of those commentators are poor judges of when and why.

Comment from Paul , 3 days later

Jonny, thanks for the comment -- and congratulations on the 10 years.

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