Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Feb 2008 15:26 UTC, submitted by Robert Kratky
Opera Software Opera Software's CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner explains why they will not release the Opera browser as open source, arguing that open standards are more important than open source. Von Tetzchner also talks about the company's antitrust complaint to the European Commission in which it accuses Microsoft of abusing its dominant position by tying Internet Explorer to Windows.
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More miscellaneous ramblings
by SReilly on Thu 21st Feb 2008 21:39 UTC in reply to "Miscellaneous ramblings"
SReilly
Member since:
2006-12-28

I'm very much in agreement on what you're saying. Open standards are, at least for me, the IT holy grail. For a user to be able to use whatever product combination suits their particular need, be those products open source or not, sounds just dandy to my ideal of personal freedom.

The thing is, more of a given product does not necessarily translate into open standards. Take the proprietary Unix scene of the '80s and '90s as an example. Unix today is considered by many to be the embodiment of open IT standards, but back in the day it was anything but the case. Yes, to an extent the systems themselves are open all the way down to the individual binary applications (obviously the binaries are just as open in the case of Linux and the BSDs) but inter Unix communication, hell even the divergence of the run levels and filesystem hierarchies, made cross platform interoperability, not to mention development, a nightmare. The last remaining relic of this era is arguably NIS+.

It's only really in recent years that the *nixs have started to really play nicely together and only because MS took the wind out of the sails of their workstation market with NT, not to mention the fact that, against all odds, BSD lives on. Hell, Linux eating into the Unix server market has done more to open the eyes of the last remaining proprietary Unix vendors then the lost market share due to NT's encroachment.

And there lies my point. In the end, the big boys figured the only way they where going to continue being able to sell their *nixs, products they have poured vast amounts of both time and money into, was to not only market they're obvious power and versatility, but also they're flexibility i.e. the ability to be able to swap one vendor's system for another with a minimum of infrastructure change.

Customer choice due to the utilization of open standards, something customers could already get from the free *nixs, was what enabled the big Unix vendors to keep their customers by letting their systems compete on a level playing field, at least in my opinion. For that to happen, open standards are a must.

I doubt that anyone can successfully argue against the good that choice in general does for the consumer, but the granularity of that choice is where open standards really shine. Yes, we all have the choice not to use a given PIM application, but if the choice is between using that PIM application, and having to change the PIM server, that's no choice at all.

Mind you, that's just my two cents worth.

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