Tim O’Reilly: I’ve been worried for some years that the open source movement might fall prey to the problem that Kim Stanley Robinson so incisively captured in Green Mars: ‘History is a wave that moves through time slightly faster than we do.’ Innovators are left behind, as the world they’ve changed picks up on their ideas, runs with them, and takes them in unexpected directions. In essays like The Open Source Paradigm Shift and What is Web 2.0?, I argued that the success of the internet as a non-proprietary platform built largely on commodity open source software could lead to a new kind of proprietary lock-in in the cloud. What good are free and open source licenses, all based on the act of software distribution, when software is no longer distributed but merely performed on the global network stage? How can we preserve freedom to innovate when the competitive advantage of online players comes from massive databases created via user contribution, which literally get better the more people use them, raising seemingly insuperable barriers to new competition?
Date added: 08/13/2008Cloud Computing