Closed above, closed below…

… and a wee little bit of “The Open Web” sandwiched in the middle? holds an interview with Novell’s Miguel de Icaza, about their Mono and Moonlight emulations of Microsoft runtimes for Linux. Miguel also points out the convenient blindspots of those who argue against technology solely on the grounds of “It’s not The Open Web”:

I mean, how many people outside of the technology world really know about Linux at the moment? And even the Mozilla guys – the keynote we had here was done on a mac, every single Mozilla developer uses a Mac. And it’s funny, they constantly attack Silverlight, they constantly attack Flash and then all of them use proprietary operating systems, they don’t seem to have a problem doing it. And then they had the Guiness record thing for Firefox 3 and you went to the website and it had a flash map to show where people are downloading – so there definitely is a double standard here. And that’s after all their claiming that you can do everything in AJAX – so they definitely don’t ‘walk the walk’.”

If evangelists try to say that practical realworld web technologies can be tossed aside because of alleged philosophical impurity, then why aren’t these proselytizers using some type of Linux box, instead of the super-secret tightly-controlled Apple hardware?

And it goes up a level too — if you’re really concerned about open use of the World Wide Web, and are against proprietary secrecy, then wouldn’t you avoid accepting primary funding from Google, who has the biggest databases tracking consumer behavior on the Web, and who refuses to allow people to access the files Google holds on them? (If you’re not up-to-speed in this area of cross-site tracking via third-party content, then try EFF, Wikipedia, or me.)

When your mortgage is ultimately paid by selling consumers’ attention, it’s a little disingenuous to throw rocks at others who just sell software.

We accept “proprietary hardware” and “proprietary OS”, and run through “proprietary service providers” to bulk up “proprietary ad networks” and “proprietary social services”, all to build “proprietary behavioral databases” for a sugardaddy, but dadgum we can’t be using no “proprietary plugins”, nosir (unless’n they’re our “proprietary plugins” that is)!

It’s like seeing a supermarket ad for “all natural ingredients”… nice enough at first listening, but just what does it mean? And if you met someone who insisted on eating only “all natural ingredients”, but couldn’t describe what they were, then that could get more than a little weird too.

I think it makes a lot more sense to just neutrally weigh the benefits and potential risks of various choices, and not to dismiss any choice out-of-hand for religious reasons. But if I were to argue that certain choices may not be tolerated, then I’d likely try to make for some reasonable consistency in that intolerant stance. Why feed Apple below and Google above, if you insist “Flash is subverting ‘The Open Web'”…!?

One Response to Closed above, closed below…

  1. Paul Ellis says:

    Wow John, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the inconsistent application of “open-source” dogma ever highlighted so concisely. I never even thought about the IE canvas plugin in that context. You know because somehow a canvas plugin is inherently more open than a Flash/Silverlight one…right?
    Thanks for the link.