Web 2.0 Expo: O’Reilly Warns Of Web War
Paul McDougall November 17, 2009
Internet visionary fears an end to openness as Internet rivals consolidate power.
The Web, which began life as an open community where information and tools were freely shared across geographic, political, and social boundaries, is in danger of becoming segmented into a federation of closed camps led by a handful of increasingly powerful vendors, said Internet pundit Tim O’Reilly.”We’re heading back into an ugly time,” said O’Reilly, during a keynote address Tuesday at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York City.
O’Reilly said efforts by Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), Apple, and other tech vendors—as well as publishers like Rupert Murdoch’s Dow Jones—to create closed communities around their products and services are jeopardizing the freedom, and the spirit, of the Web.
Phi Beta Iota: O’Reilly is a colleague in the Silicon Valley Hackers/Think Conference along with Lee Felsenstein, Larry Page, and many of the originals. We’ve noted a fascinating split between hackers with “big” ethics (Lee) and hackers with “small” ethics (Larry). This is the second Internet war. The first was won by Whole Earth Review and the Electronic Frontier Fouindation (EFF) when the government attempt to convert early Internet into an exclusive reserch network in the service of the military-industrial complex was defeated, in part because Mike Nelson and Al Gore understood the importance of public acess–on ramps for individuals. O”reilly does not mention CISCO, which has been a real disappointment to us–John Chambers has three times rejected appeals to create point of creation Application Oriented Network devices that would make bottom-up commons clouds possible. Haggle out of Cambridge is coming, and on balance we believe that this travesty will not stand. If Mark Hurd at HP will break out of the small box his staff has him locked into, he might realize that the Open Source Trifecta (software, intelligence, spectrum) is his for the taking….especially if he partners with Nokia and India (call centers competent in 183 languages). Of course, if Microsoft could dump its ego and apply its cash with HP and Nokia, it would be game over for industrial-era legalized crime, and we could create the World Brain and EarthGame virtually overnight, empowering the fivebillion poor to create infinite wealth. We’re not holding our breath.