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Not really. Consumer software is still a young enough industry that a couple of data points are not enough to draw definitive conclusions on. There are plenty of industries that began with a period of openness but eventually settles into an oligopoly due to cost, patents, and government regulation. Look how hard it is to DIY a laptop, and that's part of a relatively open system.

The government (by which I mean political interests) want to regulate the internet badly and are just waiting for the opportunity/event to occur that allows them to form enough of a consensus to do so. You can't put the genie back in the bottle completely, there will always be open computing and open protocols, but the idea that computers will always be a platform from which "a couple of kids in a garage" can launch a revolution; I think that is far from a sure thing.

> But pragmatically, what to do about it? I don't think answers such as "don't buy" proprietary or closed source has any effect, since enough others do and will continue to do so. One option may be to (continue ?) to develop unrestrict[ed |ive] software that is more desirable than the closed equivalent. But as we know, that's not easy.

What was it about the web that made it more desirable to Prodigy, AOL? I'd love to see accounts from insiders in the industry at the time that that disruption took place. It's easy to say in hindsight that the web was better but why did people at the time think it was better?




> What was it about the web that made it more desirable to Prodigy, AOL?

In my experience, the web offered connectivity. We built some very early web-based Order management tools, back when Amazon was taking phone orders. Then we realized that "Hey, with a browser & modem, employees can do their work at home!" This was pre-firewalls, and you had to know the IP.

If we can ensure that we retain connectivity between services we operate, we're in a good place.

The web didn't win because of content. Many people think web content is better than it actually is. What's 1000X better than Google? LexisNexis. Searching LN via a 14.4 modems returned better, more detailed and richer information much faster than 100Mbits and Google today, because the relevance was insane. And for the obscure niche information there was always NNTP.


You're right, I should have enumerated the reasons why I think that we may have one more chance in the near future, I will do so later.

And I agree that it is far from a sure thing. I wished it was.




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