Home > Jackassery > What Do You Mean When You Say “Open” ?

What Do You Mean When You Say “Open” ?

openI saw a great post from Seth Godin wherein he highlighted  many interpretations of “open.” Here are some of them:

  • open source : a program whose source code is made available for use or modification as users or other developers see fit. If a car goes open source, then you’re permitting others to copy your engine and body design, improve it, put their improvements back into the pool and share some more.
  • open infrastructure: Amazon’s cloud is an example of this. You build the pipes and allow people to rent them to build their own systems on.
  • open architecture: A system (hardware or software) where people can learn how it works and then build things to plug in to extend it. The IBM PC had an open architecture, which meant that people could build sound cards or other devices to plug in (without asking IBM’s permission).
  • open standards: relying on rules that are widely used, consensus based, published and maintained by recognized industry standards organizations. It means that you’re not in charge, the standards guys are. Bluetooth is an example of attempting this, so is USB.
  • open access: APIs that make it easy for people to get at the data on your platform (twitter is a great example, so is Google maps.)

These are just a few.

I hear this word a lot in our industry.  It’s one that people need to stop abusing or at least better clarifying in terms of context; much like “free” or “Cloud.”

As Seth asked “What kind of open are you looking for?”

*image from mag3737’s Flickr Photostream

Categories: Jackassery Tags:
  1. June 7th, 2009 at 16:00 | #1

    Perhaps, a better title "you think I am open, open how?

  1. No trackbacks yet.