Open Standards for everything

If only we could have them in everything. Especially operating systems. Look what it has done for the internet, browsers especially.

http://www.google.com/trends?q=firefox%2C+chrome%2C+internet+explorer%2C+safari

The Browser War has been going strong for years and forced huge improvements from all contenders. Chrome is a recent addition to the fight and it's already right up in the top contenders, having won multiple awards for being the best in one category or another. All thanks to the web's open standards.

Now, compare to Operating Systems:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=OSX%2C+windows%2C+ubuntu&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

How much do you think windows has actually improved over the last decade or so? I don't think very much has changed. Sure, it's gotten a little more pretty, but it's still a security problem, has unlimited amounts of malware for it. In fact, businesses took one look at vista and said "nah. It's not worth it," forcing Microsoft to keep making security updates for XP and push out windows 7 as quickly as they could. In other words, no real improvement. They still use the same NTFS file system forcing people to learn to defragment their hard drives on a regular basis just to keep their system from slowing down to a crawl.

Contrast this to linux: It has grown in popularity, stability, the file system has gone from ext2 all the way to ext4, the kernel has seen some nice improvements, wireless cards usually work out of the box now, touch screens, 3d special effects on the desktop, new tools and software... All in about 10 years, and very little of the market acutally uses it or contributes to that growth. Open standards is what causes that. I won't say it's 100% ready to replace windows, mainly because it needs more open standards (different ways building installer software, too many different sound managers, and a few other loose ends). However, if you want it to, it can. Right now. Many people do and never miss windows.

If Microsoft would forgo it's closed standards (this is not the same as open source) then we could see some real competition and maybe get some serious improvements to our operating systems. Computers are still behind, all because of windows' closed standards.

My dream: Open Standards takes over. Look what it does for math and science. We have Particle Accelerators that people were afraid would produce a Black Hole right here on Earth. That didn't happen of course, but that's how far we've come in science. Why not put open standards on everything? Imagine the possibilities.

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