[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Standards: Open or Propriatory?

  I'm so confused I don't know who wrote:
  >> That vision is now threatened. I am faced with the very real
  >> possibility that in a year or two's time, if I want to host an easily
  >> accesible FAQ on a web site somewhere, that I must shell out
  >> thousands for MS software and extra hardware.
  That, I would guess, is also where free market forces will
  once again backfire against MS. Does anyone remember when
  MS first responded to the Internet with their own MSN? All
  the uproar over the "Sign up with MSN" icon that came with
  Win95 right on the desktop? Don't you know now that now MSN
  is a pretty dismal failure, along with MS "Bob" and many
  other MS products that just didn't fly? 
  To create Internet content, like 'channel definition format'
  (and I don't see why Netscape couldn't come up with a
  browser that did that as well, altho it would put then on
  the innovation defense rather than offense) that's only 
  viewable w/ a MS product runs a very real danger of becomming
  another MSN - IF the people vote w/ their pocketbooks and
  browsers, not govt. mandated regulations, not MS or Netscape.
  If people stick w/ Netscape like I do, and independant sites
  like pathfinder.com or quote.com try out CDF only to find 
  out their hits are way down, you can bet they'll drop it like
  a hot potatoe (did I spell that right, Dan?)! 
  There actually used to be laws before the 'eleminate govt'
  crusade mandating a distinction between broadcast/receiving
  equipment manufacturers and content. What we're facing now
  is a possibility that, say, the Sony corp. will own TV 
  stations that broadcast a signal the can only be received 
  on Sony TV's, or a Panasonic owned and operated FM station
  w/ enhanced audio or some 'improvement' over current FM
  that can only be received on proprietary Panasonic Radios.
  That's a very common technique companies use to 'privitize'
  open standards, they comply w/ open standards, but 
  'improve' upon it w/ 'standards plus' or additions so that
  it'll only work w/ their own products and lock out 
  competing products. MS products may comply w/ SQL, *BUT*,
  a programmer is enticed to use proprietary 'enhancements'
  to SQL that are only supported by MS products. They are
  doing the same thing w/ Java. They support java, but they've
  'improved' it in such a way that it can be made to only
  work w/ MS products.
  This is a very different tech evolution than, say the days
  when TV went color. The developers of color TV were (don't
  know if voluntarily or forced) very careful to create a
  color TV signal that was compatible w/ older B&W sets, so
  that someone w/o a color set could still receive a program,
  but someone w/ a color set enjoys an enhanced picture, and
  it was probably a compromise. Had the developers then been
  able to completely start from scratch they probably could
  have created a much better color picture but lose 
  compatibility (and thus a large market share) w/ older B&W
  In a rapidly growing, evolving field like computer software,
  for the govt. to coerce adherence to a fixed albeit open set
  of standards is tantamount to 'halting progress' (maybe
  that's what people want). Some ingenious person may come
  up with a better way to do things, but would be prohibited from
  marketing his or her innovation becaused it doesn't comply
  with the fixed standard. However, in a country with a rich
  tradition of encouraging progress in the arts and sciences,
  a lot of so called 'innovation' is not much 'better', just
  different - I don't want to do it 'your' way, I want to
  do it 'my' way! - and whether one is 'better' or not is
  largely arbitrary.
  So, in Sum, the question is, should adherance to standards
  be voluntary or coerced? I could probably set up a market
  where people trade flax measured in 'bills' and use
  cigarette butts for currency, but if I'm going to do business
  with the US govt. I'd have to weigh it in pounds and price
  it in US dollars. And should those standards be set by
  a central comittee, or by market forces?