Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

The best thing since sliced bread?

When Amazon was awarded their ‘one-click’ patent software, people the world over cried foul, and rightly so. There wasn’t anything in that patent that warranted protection because of either an absolutely brilliant and special advance of the state of the art or lots of research. Personally, I think that it should have never been awarded on the simple grounds of being utterly obvious. If you can sell in 10 clicks, you can sell in 5, as well. The minimal, optimized version of that is selling in one click and eventually everybody would have reached that stage, with or without Amazon. Besides that, it was a patent on a method of doing business, a category explicitly barred from having patents issued.

I’m one of hardest to convince people that new technology is somehow revolutionary. To call me skeptical would be a huge understatement. Amazon’s patent certainly didn’t qualify :) But every now and then, there is something that is not obvious, and that does advance the state of the art.

And sometimes all that really takes is a single click.

Enter Bushido, a project by Sean Grove. What Bushido does, is nothing short of revolutionary, and I don’t like to use words like that lightly, because they’ve been totally overexposed. Bushido could bring a one-click install to pretty much all of GitHub, more than half a million people working on almost two million repositories.

When I first saw it, I nearly fell off my chair. Never for an instant had I realized that this could be done at all, much less that it could be done today, and that it could be made to look so easy. The (no doubt very large) amount of complexity behind the scenes is totally hidden from the user.

Great ideas don’t need much in terms of explanation. Bushido simply gives you instant application level access to one of the largest (if not the largest) repositories of software on the planet, and it does so by giving you an install button. That’s it. Paste the repo URL, click the button, and your software will be up and running in a few seconds or minutes (depending on the complexity of the installation), with no or very little interaction from you.

Theoretically, you could have the install link right on the repo page, but of course, that would require some cooperation from GitHub.

It doesn’t get any simpler than that. An install button for the web, who would have thought it was even possible?

Right now, Bushi.do is Ruby only, Sean and his partner have only four hands, so likely other languages / platforms will have to wait for a while, but what works for Ruby/Rails, should in principle work for other languages and platforms as well, all it takes is the time and the effort to actually do it, this is merely the first iteration, the ‘minimum viable product’. And that makes me very curious to follow the bushi.do story to see what else they have got in store for us.

Congratulations to Sean for having a truly original idea and for executing it well, some ideas really do change the world.

If you want to play with Bushido, here is a sample link that will install and configure the Redmine bug tracker. Within a minute or two you’ll have a Linode instance up and running with Redmine installed and accessible via a public URL. Pretty awesome, what?

Afterword: Wow. It looks like I jumped the gun a bit, I never thought of asking Sean if he had sufficient capacity to deal with major exposure. Apologies to Sean and co-worker, I never meant to blow up your server, I was just very happy to see the project live.