At OSCON, today’s popular social networking services were compared to the closed systems of the 1990s. In those days, it wasn’t uncommon to, say, need to be on MCI Mail or CompuServe to be able to send another person on one of those services a message. They were closed e-mail systems. People didn’t tolerate that, and the current argument is that they won’t tolerate walled gardens among social networking services either.
The problem is, though, that they are tolerating that walled gardens—in spades. How can anyone argue with 500 million users? The people voted, and there is the result. It’s unlikely at this point that we will see an open source platform turn Facebook into AOL.