12 June 2008

Trop de Tropes


the world is not so simple as “open” or “closed.” Most software has both open and closed elements, and thus falls along a linear spectrum of being more open or more closed (or proprietary). But politicians, we know, will often eschew nuance and speak in simple rhetoric. And what rhetoric it is! No citizen should be forced or ENCOURAGED to choose a “closed technology” — this is more befitting of the Free Software Foundation or any NGO, just not a government’s chief antitrust official.

The point is that openness is not a business model: it is an engineering model. It benefits everyone: users, developers, suppliers. Kroes was (rightly) advocating such a level playing field, since it allows everyone to compete on the same terms - something that closed technologies do not.

This trope of openness being "just another business model" is a favourite of Microsoft's, alongside "we need more than one standard for a given area, to promote choice" - when what are needed are *implementations* of a single standard. These rhetorical siblings are rather desperate, if amusingly Jesuitical, attempts to use words to gloss over the reality.

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