19 April 2007

Not One God: No God

A strange post here from the usually perceptive James Governor:

One of my current hobby horses is that we the industry needs to move beyond good vs evil, manichaen black vs white, beyond the single answer to a problem. Our monoetheism does us no favours. A more polytheistic sense, of using the right tools for the job, and being in mastery, bringing a more distributed spirituality into our technology saturated lives. And document formats seems an obvious place for that kind of thinking. One true format? What do we need that for and what god are we worshipping? What are the problems we’re trying to solve?

Well, how about breaking lock-in in the Office market? How about trying to create a level playing-field so there are lots of solutions - not just one, as now (that's monotheism)? How about creating a truly open standard that is not controlled by one company, and that can grow according to the needs and desires of users?

And saying, well, let's have two standards, doesn't cut it for purely pragmatic reasons. Unless Microsoft's monopoly on the desktop is broken, it will continue; unless ODF becomes the single, global, open standard, Microsoft's pretend open standards will continue to exert their vice-like grip on the market, sustained through sheer inertia from a time when there was no alternative. Now there is.

ODF in itself is nothing special, except that it is truly open, and backed now by enough users and companies to be viable. Its main function is to create the conditions for competition and network effects to kick in. It is not so much a god that has to be worshipped, as a landscape in which things can be built.

Not one god, not two gods, but no gods.


Anonymous said...

Yea, I thought this was an odd post by James, too. I wrote about how he seems to parrot the same argument structure of many of the Microsofties who essentially say: "Would you ODF people please shut up and go home now? We want, no demand, that MS-OOXML be the standard. ODF can be 'a' standard, as long as ours is also a standard, got it?"

For that particular post, James seemed to be ill-informed on the issues.

Glyn Moody said...

It's particularly odd because generally he is so perceptive. Bad hair day, maybe?

PS Good to see we Proustians thinking alike....