An updated about page and some expanded thoughts on openness

While in the process of tidying up some of the pages on here, I noticed that the About page is not as clear as it could be. Specifically, the last paragraph, in which I get a bit techno-political, is a bit garbled. Or was.

It’s now updated and, for the sake of transparency, I have replaced this paragraph:

The more time I spend using Free and Open Source and Free software (FOSS), the more convinced I become that this is the right way of doing things – not only on a technical level but also on a political and economic level as well. Proprietary software locks you into a platform and deliberately makes it difficult to move, regardless how decrepit that platform becomes. FOSS, on the other hand, as well as (and possibly more importantly) Open Standards, prevents this sort of lock in and puts the control of an individual’s environment back in the hands of the individual.

With these ones:

The more time I spend using Free and Open Source and Free software (FOSS), the more convinced I become that this is the right way of doing things – not only on a technical level but also on a political and economic level as well. Proprietary software locks you into a platform, which becomes increasingly painful to move away from, and forces you to remain dependent on a single supplier. This combination of pain and dependency allows the first (or biggest) supplier into a market to behave like (and become) a monopoly, stifle innovation and gouge the consumer.

FOSS, on the other hand, encourages openness. This allows developers to innovate on the basis of the best ideas already out there rather than having to constantly reinvent other people’s wheels. The openness of FOSS development also means that you can know what your applications are doing and, if you’re not happy with any of it, easily identify the people responsible and ask for improvements.

You can also submit improvements, of course, and I still find it surprising that so many businesses continue to fail to recognise the time and cost savings that this simple fact can accrue.

Possibly more important is the fact that FOSS projects tend to be very keen on adopting open standards and it is the adoption of open standards that protects you, me and everyone else from being locked into proprietary monopolies. For a long time, I tended to think about open standards in terms of data formats – if my data is in an open format, I will always be able to find a program that can handle it. But the more I look at the rise of walled gardens online, the more convinced I become that open standards need to be aggressively promoted as the only way to connect to the internet.

I don’t allow comments on static pages so if you want to respond to any of this, feel free to do it here.

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