Why you shouldn’t rely on a single company with closed protocols

Posted on by Chris Warburton

One of the many reasons I don’t use Skype. If Skype was decentralised then this would not have been an issue, and of course if their excuse is right then the widespread use of a single vendor for computer operating systems is also a bad thing (well duh).

I have ambitious plans to set up a Wifi mesh over part of Sheffield, and things like Voice over IP (Internet telephony) are selling points I would like to use. However, Skype is not something I would like to advocate, mainly due to ethical reasons, but also for practical reasons such as this (plus the fact that a centralised system means everyone must have access to the central server. If two people want to talk to each other through a Wifi mesh they’d have to connect outside the mesh to get to the server, slowing things down and putting extra stress on any outbound gateways, whereas using something like Jingle or SIP (probably the former, since SIP seems a little complicated) can run from a server inside the mesh, keeping things fast and scalable. That is also a reason why I like XMPP/Jabber compared to shitty MSN)

Also, I’d like to link to this story about the CD being 25 years old. The reason? The Phillips engineer they quote says:

“We did this by collaborating openly to agree on a new standard. For Philips, this open innovation was a new approach and it paid off.”


“The world was not as globalised as it is today. Our management had told us to be as open as possible and to share everything because that was the only way to have success.

“But we were suspicious and so were their engineers. But after a few days it became clear we could work together.”

If there was ever a reason not to use locked-down, proprietary, patent-encumbered, secretive, bollocks formats and protocols it’s this. This is a BBC news story, the iPlayer people (who it should be noted have strong ties to Microsoft, for example the “Group Controller at BBC Future Media & Technology”, Erik Huggers, used to be Senior Director at Microsoft and a Director of Business Development for them) should be paying attention.

Anyway, yes. I want to start meshing some networks soon, which would be cool. I can’t wait to get back to Sheffield and get some stuff done.

PS: I wouldn’t want shit-based data storage to explode anywhere near me!