Yes, I'm rabbiting on about openness again, but only briefly, as the page I'm linking to does a far better job of explaining it than I could hope to.
Proprietary systems, protocols, standards and platforms are limiting. They are limiting by design. Yet they succeed through a combination of benefits, lock-in and critical mass.
I could tell you about the problems with systems like MySpace and Facebook, but my arguments will hold little weight next to the user experience those sites offer and the critical mass that makes them so compelling. Why should you get your own blog with support for RSS, OpenID, data export, etc. when all your friends are on MySpace or Facebook? Only later, if you find yourself dissatisfied, is the effect of their lock-in going to be felt.
Thankfully, there are people and organisations campaigning for openness. They're having some success too, even though they may struggle to gain critical mass. One group that has done particularly well is Mozilla. Non-profit, and open by design, they have probably done more than anyone to advance the web. Sure, I use Opera as my main browser, but Opera would not be where it is today without Firefox and the strong push for web standards.
There's a long road ahead, but I'm hoping that the Participatory Culture Foundation can achieve the sort of success that Mozilla has. PCF are the non-profit makers of Miro, an application for finding, subscribing to, downloading and watching Internet TV and video. Following Mozilla's success will be a challenge, because using the web is more broad and more critical than watching video. But the challenge is no less important.
More and more content will be delivered via the Internet as time goes on. And the only way to make it accessible to everyone - creators and viewers alike - is to provide a great user experience and take on the proprietary alternatives head-to-head. That's where Miro is at right now.
And now... the link: Miro vs. Joost. Why this matters.
This comparison table clearly shows Miro's strengths and what's at stake. Companies like Joost and YouTube are formidable, and the competition is going to get tougher as more companies and people embrace the potential of the web.
If you care about the future of online video, get Miro now. You might find something interesting to watch right now, and you'll be helping ensure there is a place for creators and viewers of independent content in years to come.