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Dave Winer: "It's Time for Web 2.0 to Stop Being Exclusive"

"We have work to do here. We have a bubble-pop to avoid"

(August 1, 2006) - A war of words has broken out in the world of Web 2.0 - between the software developer Dave Winer (pictured) - who created or was a lead contributor to several of the most popular XML dialects and APIs related to web publishing such as RSS 2.0, XML-RPC, OPML, and the MetaWeblog API - and the founder of O'Reilly Media - the newly self-proclaimed "technology transfer company."

Winer's beef? "We need to get all hands involved in what we used to call Web 2.0," he laments. "It's time for it to stop being exclusive, and it's way past time for one company to be controlling who's supposed to participate."

Winer's contention is that events such as "FOO Camp" are harming the greater good, which is to make software easier, better, scalable, more reliable, and more secure, and instead turning Internet technology into an elitist world where it becomes a question not of what you know but who you know.

In Winer's view, the very future of computing is at stake:

"We need to start doing some real investing in technology, not the BS that passes for technology investing that's been going on for the last decade."

In other words, what Winder fears is another Nasdaq run-up, followed by the inevitable explosion:

"But what I do want is to avoid a bloody mess," he says. "We have work to do here. We have a bubble-pop to avoid."

Brooklyn-born Winer, who is also the author of one of the first ever weblogs, Scripting News, draws an analogy:

"I had an experience like this with Apple in 1997. The company was in disarray, the market was sinking fast. Craig Cline, who was running the Seybold Conference at the time asked me to chair a panel entitled "Can Apple Survive?" I accepted the assignment with gusto. This is exactly what we needed to get out in the open. But Apple controlled the conversation and they tried to sabotage us. Well we had the discussion anyway, ask anyone who was there, it was a real good thing we had it. A lot of people were very concerned, and rightly so. By getting the angst out of the way, we were able to focus on what was working in the Mac market, and that played some role in the revival of Apple. Not a very famous role, but I think an important one."

This time the bete noir, it seems, is not Apple but O'Reilly Media. "I've totally earned the respect of this community, and dammit it's time O'Reilly to show some of that," says Winer, adding:

"I posted a very generous invite to Tim two days ago, I've been reaching out this way for years. ...I want to be able to say I did everything I could to fix the problem. It's worth trying to fix, and pride (which believe it or not I have a lot of) isn't something that should get in the way."

With those words, Winer signed off on what he labels on his blog "An open note to O'Reillyites." As Wikipedia expresses it, "Winer is known as one of the more polarizing figures in the blogging community."

What do YOU think? Please share your thoughts, views, and comments below with XML-Journal readers.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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