[FoRK] hardware standards (a few more thoughts...)

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Tue Feb 2 20:17:14 PST 2010

There's a reason auto companies and their constituents all up and down  
the supply chain "standardize" parts.  A reason that militaries  
everywhere spend enormous resources insuring interoperability of a few  
basic models of the tools they use --- while simultaneously training  
soldiers that if, for example, you're deployed in Africa and cut off  
from your logistics, you should toss that .223 and pick up the first  
AK you see.  A reason we've got e.g. UL certification, FCC  
certification, etc.  A reason why the preppers insist on buying  
certain old models of truck for the rural retreat property, and or  
certain calibers of firearms.

Absent such things, it's sort of a catch-22;  and, perhaps, a decent  
example of market failure.  One might suppose that "markets" would  
sort out and choose between technologies based on superiority or  
optimality or fitness of some kind, but all too often the actual  
suppliers in the market manipulate such things to their advantage, to  
the detriment of the buyers.  One "benefit" (though perhaps it doesn't  
outweigh the costs) to e.g. a China-like system is that they can  
simply dictate that *the* interface for all mobile devices is micro  
USB, or whatever.

Not all "choice" is actually to the benefit of the chooser.



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