Architecture, Politics, Internet and Open Standards

I still have Obama’s inauguration’s speech in my mind, so full of passion and hope. It’s such a powerful word, hope.’  What most impressed me was his call to politicians to stop bickering and get to work to reform politics.’  This morning I read a post of Mitch Kapor, about the interconnection between politics and architecture. This paragraph connected in my mind Obama’s speech and the Moonlight/Silverlight fiasco:

The decentralized architecture of the Internet minimizes the role of central authorities and maximizes the ability of any participant to offer or receive any information or service and to develop new capabilities and services. What keeps the Internet from descending into chaos and anarchy is not centralized authority, but that its activities, while decentralized, are highly coordinated through adherence to collectively developed open standards.

Emphasis added. So, just as to have a democracy you need a system architecture that is accountable and transparent, to have a democratic Internet you need to keep its decentralized architecture based on open standards.

Moonlight/Silverlight and Flash are neither open nor standards: they are tools developed by corporations to take and keep control of the Internet.’  They are gates put in place to discriminate who, when and how we, the citizens, can access the digital archives of knowledge. They are like books written in obscure languages that can be translated only by holy scribes. They’re bad for Internet, they hurt freedom of the citizens.

We need to refuse Moonlight/Silverlight and Flash, we need to reclaim our right to read the books on our own. Because we can! The alternatives are just there, ready to use, developed collectively by the same people that made the Internet, the W3C. The new HTML5 standard is being held back by, quoting Obama’s inauguration speech, “the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.” I wish one day we can too proclaim an end to these and have an Internet powered only by real Open Standards.




  1. Ian: thanks for the clarification. I could have been more precise and refer to the diatribe around the audio/video codecs, wich is the crucial point that IMHO would make flash and silver/moonlight obsolete.