I'm not really a programmer, but I play one on the internet.
Today, there's a chance to create this new way — to build a new platform for cloud applications that will become as ubiquitous as previous platforms such as Unix, HTTP, and the relational database.
(Did you read the whole thing? In the last paragraph, they use the word audacious too. It's warranted.)
In my humble opinion the Meteor team is well on their way to accomplishing their mission.
Meteor is built on the idea of "Smart Packages." It's not a complete replacement for the wonderfully useful frameworks out there such as jQuery, Handlebars, or Bootstrap. Instead, like my friend James says, "Meteor is kinda like the glue" that binds those useful resources together. It then intelligently handles data transfer between the user facing site and the servers. Once you get the hang of a few snippets of the magic Meteor brings to the table, you are free to use a framework you're already used to. (Note: I said "data" transfer, not "entire rendered HTML transfer.")
Based on nosing around their Google group and their documentation, it appears that part of the Meteor team's plan is to offer a full blown end-to-end development universe including a PaaS for cloud apps. I saw in at least one place the service was referred to as "Galaxy" (fitting, no?). That said, you're not locked in to using their service. But being able to simply type: "meteor deploy myapp.example.com" without needing to first configure any servers in order to test your latest idea live almost makes it not a choice. It's just so easy! (Let's see if I change my tune after they figure out and announce pricing).
Overall, I'm excited about Meteor and optimistic about them achieving their audacious goals. I really appreciate the direction the Meteor team is going and wish them well.
So, what do you think? Is Meteor a big deal?