[clug] Internode dumps FOSS for MS Exchange

Robert Brockway robert at timetraveller.org
Wed Feb 17 02:01:44 MST 2010

On Wed, 17 Feb 2010, Chris Smart wrote:

> Right. So as free software users/developers, how much should we be
> integrating our stuff with proprietary systems?

I think it depends on whether someone takes the short view or the long 
view (both are valid in their own way).

I do a lot of reading on a variety of subjects and have quite an 
interest in history.

I've concluded that human history shows a clear migration from proprietary 
or closed standards to open standards as technologies mature.  At the 
start of the industrial revolution the humble screw was built to 
proprietary standards with each machine shop generally working to its own 
standard.  Without standardisation machine shops held a vendor lockin over 
their clients[1].  That seems pretty odd to us today but it mirrors the 
current problems with vendor lockin.

Going back further even reading and writing were originally closed 
standards as knowledge of these disciplines was tightly controlled by the 
ruling classes in many ancient societies.

I have no doubt that in centuries to come the idea that computing 
standards would be closed or proprietary will seem quite odd to the 
average person on the street.

If we look at the short view we see a different picture.   While I have no 
doubt that closed or proprietary standards will disappear _eventually_ 
they will certainly remain a big part of our industry for decades to 

> This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, causing me to
> write two articles on the topic:
> "Proprietary Software and Linux: Good, Bad or Somewhere in Between?"
> http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7677
> "The Importance of Fitting In"
> http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7685

Hmm I'll check them out, thanks.

[1] With thanks to a professor at the University of Toronto for helping me 
connect the dots on this one.


Email: robert at timetraveller.org
IRC: Solver
Web: http://www.practicalsysadmin.com
I tried to change the world but they had a no-return policy

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