Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Decades have passed, and I still have the same problem as a leisure-time hacker. Imagine I put together some little cute diversion: for the sake of this example, imagine I make an app that has a dancing chicken animation and plays a chiptune. If I want people to check it out, I still can't just send it to them and have them run it. Not on Linux + GNU + X + Gtk + GNOME + Alsa + PulseAudio. It is slightly less bad on the non-free desktop OSs like Windows because I can statically link something together, but there are still VC and DirectX redistributibles to worry about.
I could do that on FreeDOS, but, not to many people run FreeDOS.
But I can still create a portable diversion on the web. A browser downloads my HTML/CSS/JS and handles the glue between my code and the computer's capabilitites. Or there's Flash that accomplished the same thing.
After the jump, I rant a bit about why it is still hard to deliver a little desktop app. I know that I'm wrong and that my argument is poorly though out. Please tell my how and why and what I'm not seeing.