> Odds are it Just Won't unless you only
> render in IE with high security privileges and abuse ActiveX with
> reckless abandon.

A client's WindowsXP machine, for the purpose of running a Rails-based
app, will have Firefox running and invoke the app with
http://localhost:3000, which will be serviced by WEBrick,  a Ruby-based
web server, supported by a publicly available database like MySQL.  No
ActiveX nor security risks.

> As I'm generally not a fan of the heinous crimes commited in the name of
> Ajax, I'd have to see the result for that to happen.

I'll have an example on my website in a month.  Send me an email
inviting me to contact you when it's ready if you're interested in
seeing it.

> Most of the
> in-browser desktop mockups make me ask why not use Java Web Start /
> ClickOnce / Flex anyway?

IMHO, Ruby + Rails is a far superior way to build both desktop and web
apps.  Java is, too my taste,  a lousy C++, which I felt is the most
elegant programming language ever.  But I've come to see that Ruby is
the most economical yet powerful (in terms of programmer effort)
languages ever.  Of course,  I'm not really qualified to make such
judgments, despite 40+ years of professional programming experience
with IBM mainframe assembler, Fortran, and Cobol to desktop Visual C++.

I see by your disdain of some aspects of the current state of affairs
that you've thought a lot about some of these issues,  so I'm
interested in knowing whether you're more sanguine about the
Ruby-Rails-WEBrick-MySQL environment.

Best wishes,
Richard Muller