Why Are Standards Important?

Long ago, before the internet was what it was today, there were already computer webs. But each web was a system for itself. They were be able to communicate with themselves, but not with anybody else.

If there was somebody else, that wanted to communicate with the system, they needed to use their protocols.

For example, a supplier might have to write a separate programs for each big costumer.

But than the internet came. Connections suddenly came with IP4 system and they didn't need additional programs for different people or organizations with different specifications.

A lot of technology is like that. Another example are electronic sockets. Different in continental Europe than in Great Britain. So you better not be buying continental electronic appliance to use in Great Britain and vice versa.

But wouldn't it be better, if we wouldn't have to worry about that?

Or the DVDs. I can want to learn Korean as much as I want, but there DVDs won't work for me. Different region. But at least the standard is clear about that. And I can be sure, that I can watch all DVDs in my region.

These are just some of the examples. But I have one, just to get you thinking. In what format do you send a text document through the internet?

The question is more complicated than it looks. Some people don't know how to open a normal text (.txt) file. Some refuse to open Mycroft's files (.doc). Some simply do not have a program to open newer Mycroft's files (.docx). Some only have old word, and they cant open Open Office formats (.odf). Most can't change pdf files.

If you think, that the above questions are hypothetical, they are not. Behind each question stands a person with belief or technology, that they don't want to change.

So what do you use than? Wouldn't it be simpler, to just have a standards and use them?