Open vs closed
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When having the “open vs closed” debate regarding a technology platform, a number of distinctions need to be made.
Last year, when we were finalizing an academic paper tracing the history of public software institutions over the last half a century, Flash stood out as somewhat of an exception – a proprietary solution in the web development world otherwise dominated by open source. Flash’s banishment from Apple suggests that this exceptional position may not last much longer. It also highlights one of the main drivers behind open source – the economic phenomenon known as “the hold up problem,” which is a central point in our research. The surprising aspect of open source is not its existence, but its success. People do things for free all the time.
by Joel Spolsky
The Open vs. Closed debate, which we’re covering as an ongoing series on the GigaOM Network, continues to bubble and boil around Facebook and the social networking site’s attempts to extend its “social graph” out into the broader web. Is this move by the company truly open, or is it a cynical attempt to co-opt the rest of the web and aggregate value for Facebook — or could it be both?
“ That is the sound of inevitability… “ I’m reminded of this quote from The Matrix as I read headline after headline around the blogosphere about how Facebook and Apple and their (at least relatively) closed ecosystems are going to destroy the fabric of the web as we know it. Me?
Updated A group of investors argued heatedly about the value of open versus closed technology on a panel today at Google’s I/O conference in San Francisco. Dave McClure (pictured), who oversees the seed investing program at Founders Fund , kicked things off with a provocative statement: “Open is for losers.” McClure was answering a question from moderator Dick Costolo of Twitter, who noted that one of the big values celebrated in the tech community is openness, yet one of the hottest platforms, the iPhone, is completely controlled by Apple. In fact, McClure couched his answer by saying he was “channeling Steve Jobs.” He said that it’s important to have open standards as a foundation for technologies, but after that, proprietary technology motivates people to pursue “cool products and cool ideas.”
I just finished up spending the past two days at Google I/O. On one of the panels I participated in yesterday ( VCs Who Code ), the endless discussion about open (e.g. Google) vs. closed (e.g.