....I would have thought that was pretty obvious as long as you know what the words mean.
Originally Posted by RealNC
The best way to explain this is with the history of the web:
The web began as a proposal by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN as a way to share information across the various incompatible systems (documents could not be shared easily) used at the time. The basic premise is a universally accessible system, he developed HTML for the task. This is the web's purpose and the cornerstone of it's existence today. Available everywhere, for everyone with a computer.
He realised the impact this would have on society - Knowledge is Power. As books gave people power in the past the internet would give it on a scale not seen before. No longer would the best information be limited to only a handful of people. It would create a levelling effect.
Comment:Example of an equalising technology:
History has shown this to be true. The values in a country are no longer dictated by its tradition alone. People with access to the web get access to culture from around the world. This is the levelling effect.
A similar effect is that of Satellite TV on Indian women. Having access to American TV shows provided them with a view of an alternative lifestyle - They saw it was possible to be treated as equals and wanted that for themselves. In the years directly after widespread Satellite TV was introduced to Indian homes the cases of wife abuse had reduced massively.*
*Source: Superfreakonomics (book)
The internet of course has a much greater effect on society than TV. This is why the web is often known as "The Great Equaliser" because it levels the playing field. Everyone has freedom to use the information and everyone has a voice, not just the wealthy elite.
Content Restriction & Mozilla:
Restricting access to information creates a "walled garden" effect. You end up with incompatible parts of the web - much like the old infrastructure before the web existed. Mozilla does not want this to happen because it is bad for everyone. We got past this in the 90s, this is going backwards. People who understand the history of the web understand this and want it to move forward, not back.
The extreme "If everything is patented" outcome:
Let's assume we continue down this route of using patented codecs and do the same for images, sound etc etc. At some point it is likely that only commercial entities will be able to afford the numerous licences. "The Great Equalising" effect of the internet is now gone. The point of it, is gone. Information is not freely available anymore, you have to pay - a lot.
Subsection: Example of "real world" impact:
People are beginning to use the web in Africa as they are finally getting access. Many use it to find out how to grow crops effectively. If no browser is available for free? Sorry, you can't - starve.