Why does open technology feel so closed?

King Content is dead. All hail Context, the Queen of the communication age! It’s time to fix the reality gap caused by duplicitous data.

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In the COVID-19 crisis hardware makers promised to be 'open source' to support frontline services.

Their designs are far from open, say physicists from the University of Bath in the UK. In a paper they contrast the claims of IT vendors with reality. What happened to the global invitation for collaboration over equipment design, asks Bath University physics researcher Dr Julian Stirling. While praising the ‘honourable intent’ to standardise instruments and save time and money, the good deed never materialised.

During the pandemic, many large tech companies - including Amazon, Microsoft and IBM - signed the Open COVID pledge. This act recognised the need to apply every tool at the vendor’s disposal to halt the pandemic and treat those affected. If they kept their word, intellectual property would be available free of charge wherever it can be used to fight Covid-19.

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