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That's speculative, Elliotte, and easily argued
by counter examples such as Flash and Acrobat.
The question is how to mitigate risks. The open
environment has plenty of risks as well as advantages.
Precedents that work given a particular situation
once set, can be easily manipulated badly later.
If we want to stay open, we should look seriously
at this situation and ask ourselves when and how
we find ourselves embracing a strategy that leads
to a bad precedent.
From: Elliotte Rusty Harold [mailto:email@example.com]
If he had patented it and tried to assert more control over it, it
would have gone exactly nowhere. Probably other people would have
invented similar tools that would have succeeded by virtue of being
open. And perhaps if the community had been more involved in the
development of RSS from the get-go and weren't held hostage by the
ego of one developer, a lot of the serious flaws in RSS might have
been avoided completely. There was one very good idea in RSS, (put
headlines and links in an XML document) but the original spec and
application were embarrassingly bad.