Sunday, March 02, 2008

You need to fight for freedom ...

I've just been asked "When do you think that competitive utility computing markets will appear?"

The answer to that question is; when business consumers start fighting for it.

It's not in the interest of most providers to see their products become a commodity. So I'd expect the major software providers to pay lip service to portability. Whilst they may adopt open standards, they know full well that this is far from the portability needed for a truly competitive utility computing market.

Software providers will want to create different computing grids based upon branding & reputation. They won't want true portability between them.

As Gary Edwards said in reference to the latest OOXML vs ODF spat:

"The interoperability we expect from an open standard is instead limited to application specific document exchange. And soon enough we come to realize that nothings changed, we have artificially limited application choices, and it's pretty much back to 1995 where everyone in your circle has to be running the same application if you intend on exchanging documents. Meaning, the vendors win again."

Whilst I'm supportive of the aspirations of the data portability group, like Dennis Howlett, I'm not convinced by the group. In my case, the issue for me is their focus on open standards and the damage this might do in diluting the open source message.

If you want true portability, you're going to have to fight for it and you're going to need open source.