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When Should Technology "Must" Be Free/Open Source/Open Standard?

I have pondered about this questions a lot, for years maybe & still i don't really know the answer. Technology business is so full of contradictions.

Money is a important factor why people innovate. Second motivations is fame. But money is ahead by a long shot.

Any one who invents something that will be used by masses is sure to make some good money, but he is also sure to want to keep the underlying technology proprietary/licensed/patented. Why because the who invented the technology has little incentive to give it away for free, and most time by charging a royalty fee the end products that use that technology will become too expensive for mass adoption.

I can only imagine what could have happened if father of internet had patented net itself and every else who used it would have to pay him a royalty from ISP's to hosting companies to individual users. That would have made him the richest man ever but the internet would have never been adopted by the masses.

We all need technology. Our lives are dependent on consumer technology.

There are things we all need:

1. Internet
2. A computer (and hence a operating system)
3. A search engine (to search the vast web)
4. Browser
5. Email
6. Basic software(word processor/spreadsheets etc.)

Then there are standards that need to be quickly adopted, like i am just happy that HTML is open / standardized but sad that its controlled by a closed minority.

I am happy that pdf is available but sad that its so tightly owned by one company. Same with .doc files or .wmv files.

Somethings just need to be free, open, standardized as soon as they are created/invented. Why? because it will foster more innovation, it will create quicker mass adoption.

So when does a technology demand to be made open source/free/standardized?

My answer would be when "everybody" needs it. Money should only be made products/technologies/services that are required by "few" or "some" or even "majority" but when "everybody" needs or is dependent on it, it should be free/open source/standardized.

Or at least something about it should be freely available.

I wonder if Microsoft provides all its operating systems for free (keeps some features locked it wants to) and then depends on a ad supported model or a "donation ware" model or both, would it create that big a dent in its business? Even if it took a financial hit, would it gain somethings in the longer run?

Whatever is the answer, operating systems should be free, software should be standardized and run everywhere, file formats should be open and standardized, browsers should free and based on donations.

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