terça-feira, 10 de novembro de 2009

Things have names, changes have reasons

Communication is made of agreements. We agree on what "1 meter" means so that people can order, say, a baseball stick and know what size to expect. We agree on what "1 second" means so that, knowing what "1 meter" is, we can estimate how long it takes to reach Brussels. Clear definitions are not an accident. They're born from knowing that rough statements (eg, "quite large" or "very very far") don't cut it.

Of course we all know this... we're just puzzled about why someone on the European Commission would replace - at no one's request - the precise definitions of Open Source and Open Standards by this amazing abstraction called the Openness Continuum... which according to their definition includes both open and closed.

Furthermore, why would they state something as oxymoronic as

[...] it is also true that interoperability can be obtained without openness, for example via homogeneity of the ICT systems [...]

If we accept this we can also easily accept statements such as

[...] it is also true that peace can be obtained without democracy, for example via oppression of the populations and strict control of all media [...]

Not that these are comparable in severity... but they seem to be logically analog. Strictly speaking, the former statement still outdoes the latter in terms of contradiction. Doesn't interoperability mean work across heterogeneous systems by means of a common language?

Maybe someone on the EC can step up and explain the reasons for these changes.

As for the leaked document as a whole we won't judge it as "good" or "bad". Locating it on the - just defined - Goodness Continuum - is left as an exercise for the reader.