This panel animated by Marc Canter, co-founder of Macromedia has some nice folks in it:

* Mark Fletcher, vice president & general manager, Bloglines at Ask Jeeves

  • Joe Kraus, Cofounder and CEO, JotSpot
  • Ross Mayfield, CEO, Social Text
  • Toni Schneider, VP, Yahoo Developer Network, Yahoo!
  • Doc Searls, Senior Editor, Linux Journal

    What's funny is that, as Marc sais, nobody would commit to "closed" in this page, which is pretty nice from the intention standpoint.

    But practically it's much more complicated:

    - Ross Mayfield from SocialText uses Open-Source and adds his proprietary layer on top of it

  • Joe Kraus from JotSpot says that at any time users can leave JotSpot with their data and reuse them elsewhere (Cough.. Cough.. without the software it seems difficult to reuse the pages that are based on the development API).
  • Toni Schneider from Yahoo, talks about "Open Yahoo" with lot's of APIs to access Yahoo Services (with a limited number of queries)
  • Marc Fletcher from Bloglines says his API is largely used by many without limits
  • Doc Searls has nothing to sell and likes Open Source

    Marc Canter, who co-founded Macromedia knows about the 'lock-in' notion and points out solutions that are looking for this 'lock-in'.

    What's interesting is that openness seems now to be a 'must-have' and it is impossible to approach the market by willing to lock it's users in at least in the Marketing speeches. Because practically it still happens:

    - most web site editors that make APIs like Yahoo or Google propose APIs that are incompatible with similar services so developers are locked into solutions that uses these APIs (this could be called a soft-lock as developers can make a bridge to different APIs)

  • SocialText profits from the Open-Source model but does not want to play the game til the end. Companies using the 'Pro' service which have a hard time getting out.
  • JotSpot tries to make us believe that we could reuse data created in JotSpot elsewhere. It's like if Microsoft had told us you can reuse the code you wrote to build an application based on the Windows API !! How many applications are effectively running in WINE or other Windows API emulator (the work or the WINE people is incredible by the way). And even if they could, Microsoft has always known how to play this game and change the APIs at each version to make sure others are playing catch-up (with the Office file formats for example). It could be a little more true if JotSpot was an implementation 100% based on standards.

    No, when innovation comes up, it's impossibe to do 'Open Date' and say it's fully open. There won't be any other implementation any time soon. Until there is a standard and multiple cheap (and even free) implementation of that standard, you need to provide the module as 'Open Source' to guarantee a 'Right to Exit'. Somebody in the chat had talked about a 'Total Cost of Exit'.

    With XWiki, if you don't want to work with XPertNet (my company), you can take your data back. We try to use open standards when they exist (but as I say, when you do something new it's hard) and most importantly you can go away with the software and with some training (of yourself, or of a different supplier) you can fully take back the control of your project. It won't be zero-cost because you need to find a new supplier which is trained or will be trained but it won't have the cost of rebuilding the software from scratch.

    I'll reuse the words by Joe Kraus which says himself that each barrier which hinders you to play with the software is a setback for the adoption of the platform. It seems obvious that even with good Marketing, not to be Open Source for proposing an 'Application Wiki' platform is clearly a significant barrier. In the cas of JotSpot, you can't play around with the source code and build plugins, which many have already done with XWiki.

    But most importantly all the work you would do based on JotSpot would be based on something which is owned by others. This means you will have an issue if you don't want to work with this supplier anymore.

    The 'Open' mouvement is advancing, but be carefull about the differnet levels of openness.

    "Platforms should be open AND open source" is an article I had written about this subject. Jonathan Nolen has written an interesting article about 'open companies'.

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