A great deal of this mess comes from the drive to use the Web browser as a "platform" for applications ― in effect, an operating system, rather than a document viewer. (I'm sure I've said this before.) The most positive thing I can say about this is that it strikes me as a truly boneheaded approach to the problem of cross-platform compatibility!
the web being a platform, being available for all kinds of people to make anything & get it online & accessible in front of other people, has been world changing.
i hear such heartless "the web should have stuck to static documents" comments all the time & it hurts so much to think people would insist online media constrain itself, limit itself to some narrow preconceived definition & not flourish, not enmesh itself more with computing & develop.
Is what you're describing actually happening? If so, where, & in what way? I'm seeing lots of people creating "apps" for the iPhone & Android walled gardens, & other people creating interesting software for one or another desktop operating system, often with help from the packaging systems built into several of the major *NIX distributions ; but most of the interactions I have with a Web browser, that I actually want to have, involve viewing documents.
"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko