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LinuxPlanet: The Importance of Open File Formats

Jun 08, 2000, 13:45 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Reichard)

[ Thanks to Kevin Reichard for this link. ]

"A strong undercurrent of the Open Source movement has been a rebellion against the monopolization of information. If information is free, it cannot be used for pernicious reasons; i.e., used by a company like Microsoft to force consumers to purchase products they normally wouldn't buy. That's why the release of source code is such a powerful thing: there are no secrets that can be hidden in the source code, and anyone is free to build a better mouse trap based on the old mouse trap. This leads to a meritocracy where externalities like money (the better for hiring a raft of lawyers) and proprietary interests are neutralized."

"I was reminded of this today when I went to visit one of my favorite Web sites, the Iron Chef fan site. I was greeted by this sad message: "IronChef.com--An Unofficial Site of All Things Iron Chef--is no longer functional. I am deeply saddened that it has come to this: Due to a cease and desist letter, sent by lawyers representing the show's production company, FujiTV, this site's content is current unavailable. What was here represented three year's labor devoted to evangelizing my favorite show. While I would like nothing better than to share with other fans the excitement I have for the show, apparently the production company has other plans."

"...Such abuses are natural when there is a centralization of power, which brings us to the real topic of this column: that when power is centralized, those holding onto the power will go to great lengths to protect it. The very nature of Open Source means that information is freely available to all, meaning that anyone can sidle up and play."

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