XML, XPS, and Open Standards
Linux has some definite community advantages over Apple and Microsoft. Linux is of course by its nature a community project. Clean up a park, help at a shelter, or submit a few lines of code, it is all part of being a part of something bigger than yourself. It is actually the being part of something bigger that makes Linux a strong player. Linux is very big on open standards. They work to make sure that everything will talk to everything else. Microsoft and Apple aren’t so good about this. Windows Media took forever to hit the Mac platform, and isn’t available for a great deal of OS’s and certainly not plentiful in Consoles and Handhelds. Apple is just as bad, their versions of QuickTime and related tools are just barely working on a PC and are often encumbered by so much adware that they are unusable.
There has long been this idea in the industry that using a proprietary format gives you an advantage because you have a captive audience. If they sign up they are stuck with you forever. But the truth is that a proprietary system goes against the current trends in the industry. If you support open standards your market is everyone, anyone can switch to your product with zero downtime. Buy supporting open standards you also convey a sense that you are able to better connect and interface with multiple organizations, users, and platforms. This is why XML has been such an important technology in recent history. While XML is easily “the” data format standard now, there isn’t a standard for Audio or Video. While Mpeg4 was originally going to be the new standard it seems the only people doing Mpeg4 are doing iTunes Implimentation or DivX a format that is not really a standard and in a lot of ways is just a hack. The evolution of DivX from a hack of Windows Media, to a Hack of MoMuSys Mpeg4 has created a company with a huge market share because it made things easy rather than good, or right. DivX had all the right buzz words at all the right times “AVI compliant” “Mpeg4” and buy using a name that already rang in our ears from the defunct DVD format they had the makings of a VC’s dream come true, lots of brandwidth minimal Intellectual Property. DivX was even clever in its creation of an OpenSource Spin off, XVID through which DivX gets its code updated and revised free of charge.