Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quote of the Day: Open, Good. Closed, Bad.

“In a nutshell, the key formula for the coming age is this: Open, good. Closed, bad. Tattoo it on your forehead. Apply it to technology standards, to business strategies, to philosophies of life. It's the winning concept for individuals, for nations, for the global community in the years ahead. 

If the world takes the closed route, it starts a vicious circle: Nations turn inward. The world fragments into isolated blocs. This strengthens traditionalists and leads to rigidity of thought. This stagnates the economy and brings increasing poverty. This leads to conflicts and increasing intolerance, which promotes an even more closed society and a more fragmented world. 

If, on the other hand, the world adopts the open model, then a much different, virtuous circle begins: Open societies turn outward and strive to integrate into the world. This openness to change and exposure to new ideas leads to innovation and progress. This brings rising affluence and a decrease in poverty. This leads to growing tolerance and appreciation of diversity, which promotes a more open society and a more highly integrated world.”

~Futurist and Global Business Network chairman Peter Schwartz and journalist Peter Leyden in the July 1997 issue of Wired magazine, from the article “The Long Boom.”


At 1/22/2011 5:23 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

apple might argue this with you.

there are advantages to being closed.

it is easy to write a game that will work well on every iphone, whereas the heterogeneous hardware of android makes it impossible.

in addition, closed imples quality control, so while an apple ap is well vetted, and android ap may well be a big problem for your phone or work poorly because it's a flawed program.

having 90 choices for a chess game may well mean you ultimately get a better one, but it also means you have to put in significant itme and effort to make sure you don;t get a bad one.

(i speak as someone who had to try 4 different android chess games before i found one that didn't suck)

by and large, yes open is better than closed and the bazaar beats the cathedral (read eric raymond seminal thought piece on open source software if this reference is not familiar)

but this is not entirely true. windows is VERY closed relative to linux and apple is even more so, but most of us are using one of the 2. linux is great if you are a programmer and can handle a large number of setup and maintenance tasks yourself, but once it get too "open" it's inaccessible to most users. the more "closed" distributions like red hat and BSD are in fact what most people use.

so, open is only useful to a point.

in many cases depth is more important. most of the software i use only exists for windows. you will not find reuters or unx for apple or *nix.

oracle is also beginning to demonstrate how much better closed can be.

by using the proprietary hardware they bought from sun and optimizing their databases for it, they are getting dramatic performance gains. write a database that can run on any hardware and it will never be as fast.

open good closed bad is much too simplistic an analysis.

At 1/22/2011 6:37 PM, Blogger juandos said...

" Apply it to technology standards, to business strategies, to philosophies of life"...

Yeah! That's it! Give the Peter Principle a chance to run wild and free...

At 1/23/2011 11:37 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Darn it Morgan, I was going to make this same point. Good job!

There are some hybrid situations where governments created a single open standard in an attempt to standardize. Some have been successful, like Europe and the GSM standard. This wasn't an open market based approach to mobile communication, but did allow an open market to provide solutions based on the standards. Closed standards, open solutions...


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