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Microsoft, 'open' data, and the curse of open source

Thanks a lot, HTML5

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Government, too, could hamper things. One concern is the local laws governments begin applying to companies like Microsoft and Google as they hoover up more and more data. Government could finally wake up to value of all that information and recognize the sleeping giant of the problem of whether it's desirable for a handful of super service providers to be the gatekeepers of their citizens' information and a new force in society. Google and Facebook have made a number of policy and statement gaffes on privacy in relation to their services that have finally caused the mask to slip.

"Internationally we could run into boundaries that are setup by countries and governments that could cause this to fragment in a political spectrum rather than a technology spectrum. That scares me, because most engineers are logical and sensible - politicians? I'm not so sure," McAllister said.

Microsoft's decision to surrender on HTML5 and tear down its browser walled garden was a big move. It comes as "open" technologies such as HTML, Rest, and PHP are on the march - a move that's forced companies with their own proprietary framework to become honest.

It's a world away from computing of the 1980s and 1990s where vendors brazenly talked of lock-in as a way to charge customers and "own" the developers that added value to their platforms.

As the walls come down - and vendors give away their advantage in the rush to connect services - the challenge for those who aren't Facebook, Google, or Microsoft and who aren't the gatekeepers of all that information will be how to turn access to the same data as everybody else gets into gold.

It's a challenge that has kept people working late evenings and long weekends in that other great bastion of "open" - open source code. ®

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