The web in general and the blogsphere in particular is full of quite radical points of views on almost any subject you can think about. You have scientists vs. creationists, left wing vs. right, militarists vs. pacifists; you name it the contradicting positions are there.
My field of work is Internet. I use software to get the job done. Software runs on hardware, and I also happen to work for a PC manufacturing company. Thus my interests revolve around software (open vs. proprietary), standards (once again, open vs proprietary) and hardware (Mac vs. PC).
I have over 300 feeds running into google reader, feedreader and Akregator; many of which deal with some of the aforementioned confrontations either on a daily basis or every once in a while. What has been catching my eye is the factiousness of many of the points of view I've been reading.
Truth is: no extreme is the answer.
Take proprietary vs. open source. I'm pro-open; I use Linux (Ubuntu) for my personal things and I am trying to switch to it at work. This works for me for several reasons; the system works better, software availability is increasing, updates happen fast, and last, but not least; I can't possibly afford some software suits I'd need / like to use under Windows environment (as in Photoshop vs. The Gimp).
I also embrace the open source philosophy, I do believe knowledge should be freely available, distributable and alterable.
Yet I realize proprietary might fit into a lot of people's needs. This "concept confrontations" should not mutually exclude the other alternative(s); having the choice to install Windows, Linux, Solaris or Mac OS is all that matters in the end. Competition not only makes everything better, but also provides alternatives.
On the web standards scenario things are slightly different. Standard as a noun is a rule, test or requirement, and as an adjective it's Having recognized excellence or authority & Of a usable or serviceable grade or quality. Thus, per definition, a standard is a usable authoritative set of rules and requirements that comply with a certain quality level. Nice, right?
The key words (keywords) here are "usable" and "authoritative". Standards must be usable both by the technology that must render them (browsers), and by humans that will (hopefully) take advantage of them.
Browsers need full compatibility with the standards, which means that for a standard to be successful browser coders must accept them as valid and implement them. This can only happen if they don't have to pay for anything, if the ones setting up the standard have enough authority and if it adds a lot of value to what is already in place.
Humans need to understand and be able to make use of the standard from both ends. Developers and users. If a standard is mayhem for developers they just wont use it, no matter if the user experience is great. On the other hand users will hate a standard that does not make their life easier or more enjoyable.
All of this does not necessarily mean that standards need to be open. Flash is a good example of something proprietary becoming a standard. This only happened because users and developers loved it and Macromedia made life easy for browser developers by building compatible plugins. (Yes, yes, I know you might argue if Flash is a standard or not, but with over 90% of browsers with flash installed; I'll risk it and say it is)
So standards don't necessarily need to be open -in the "developed by a community" sense- but I truly believe it is the best route to get things done. Proprietary standards are built to fit it's developer needs (in Flash's case it was to make Macromedia wealthier), whilst community-tailored standards usually aim to benefit the entire web fauna (or at least they should). We have all benefited from flash -proprietary- but it the web exists thanks to (X)HTML -open-.
The good thing for us (users and developers) is that while the different factions compete with one another trying to prove they own the absolute truth and that the others are the devil, we get to be able to choose the best of what's around.
Oh... and I like ThinkPads better than Macs...