The swinging pendulum of computing freedom.

Jacques Matthjeij discusses the history of computing as a pendulum swinging between closed, walled-gardens and open, free systems.

If my observations are correct then such a swing is about to happen, and this time we had better get it right. Things that point in the direction of a swing are an increasing awareness of ordinary computer users with respect to their privacy and who actually owns all that data. The fragmenting of the smartphone and tablet markets will lead to some more openness and at some point all the bits and pieces to create true open hardware will fall into place.

Remember that there are two possible outcomes, one where the internet successfully manages to cause a swing to the edge of freedom, and another where it is successfully co-opted by big money and governments in a concerted effort to give us all a subscription to online Life-As-A-Service where you will be beholden to some party for the ability to gain access to knowledge, information, the right to communicate and so on and where the act of programming will be as tightly regulated as the export of cryptography was.

Discussion on Hacker News.