The importance of openness

Tristan Nitot

Steve ‘the Woz’ Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and legendary for creating the first Apple personal computers, recently dropped a bomb on the IT industry saying “I think that Apple could be just as strong and good and be open, but how can you challenge it when a company is making that much money?”.

I still vividly remember my second computer, back in the early ’80s. It was a second-hand Apple II. It had several extension slots, I could open it very easily, not even needing a screwdriver to do so. It came with its electronic diagram. It was beautifully open in several ways. Fast forward to 2012: Apple devices based on iOS are pretty much closed.

So does openness matter? Let’s put it this way:

Imagine it’s say 1982. Imagine all the popular computers at that time were as ridged and closed as iOS is now. Imagine it stayed closed for 30 years. You’re allowed to make apps but nothing that Apple says no to. How many innovations would we be living without? Would mp3s and music services even exist? Would we even have Internet at all? How about the Perl, Python, C++, Java, and Ruby programming languages?

We’re at a moment in time when we are inventing the digital future that we – and our children – will be living in. Which future do we want? Do we want choice? Do we want to limit innovation to large companies or do we want everyone to have the opportunity to invent a new digital future?

I am 100% sure that the world will be a better place if it’s open. How can you help? Start contributing to Mozilla. It’s particularly important to do so as newer mobile devices are like beautiful Crystal prisons.

Oh, one last thing. If you own an Android device, install Firefox Beta for Android. It rocks, and it’s open. I’m sure you’ll love it!