After the dotcom bust 20 years ago, there was a shift away from attempts to turn the Internet into a portal owned by a single company (AOL, Yahoo, etc) using incompatible and proprietary tech, in favor of open standards.

This spawned a heydey for things like self-hosted blogs, RSS and XMPP powered by Linux. People rejected lock-in and embraced the benefits and freedom open standards brought. Even Big Tech embraced these standards.

So why did it change? There are a few causes, and this pendulum between open and closed tech is always swinging, but to me the single most important cause was the advent of the smartphone.

Smartphones allowed tech companies to rewrite the rules around standards, software, lock-in and as Big Tech companies all sought to control the new personal computer with rules people would have rejected on their laptops. The rush to control SMS and news portals killed XMPP and RSS, respectively.

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Why bring this up now? Because it feels like the pendulum is swinging back toward open standards much like after the first dotcom bust. People (some for the first time) are getting a taste of the benefits of open standards. I think we will see a similar era of open standards and tech on the Internet, at least for awhile. But there will be similar attempts to find ways to embrace and extend these standards and lock people back into portals.

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After people get used to tech without lock-in, companies will need new tech that allows them to rewrite the rules. I suspect VR/AR will be the the technology that will allow companies to lock folks back in. It is the next evolution to make a computer that is even more personal than a smartphone.

This is clearly why Meta is all in on this tech and why Apple is exploring the space as well. Whoever controls this tech controls the portal into the virtual and real world. We will need to be vigilant.

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@kyle So, we need a coalition for an . We need , Software developers and people that want to live there.

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