Information is un like traditional renewable and nonrenewable resources which diminish as they are consumed and suffer from over consumption. Information does not diminish as it is consumed. Instead information grows with wider distribution and consumption. Unlike traditional resources rationing information does not preserve this precious resource, but rather as access to knowledge is reduced fewer contributors are able to pass on their precious knowledge and knowledge is lost. Knowledge and information does not stand in isolation. Much of how our Information Technology has developed and will develops direct result of the particular nature of information.
Much has changed since the early years of main frames, to UNIX work stations, to personal computers, to web enabled technology. Accessibility and low cost distribution are the hallmarks of success. At the same time proprietary software companies restricted access to the knowledge required to build their increasing complex computers systems. This gave advantage to the largest corporation which could assemble the largest pool of knowledge and contributors. In areas where communication and storage standards were not defined the largest corporation had ability to define proprietary formats and insure these formats were propagated through the large user base. However with the traditional proprietary model the knowledge required to understand the systems inner workings was a deeply held secrete, which met outside contribution was highly restricted.
The growth and economic benefits of Information Technology has presented an increasing demanded for engineers and scientists. Deep knowledge of proprietary licensed systems is restricted, driving contributors to explore open systems with optional sharing or mandatory sharing, BSD licenses or GPL licenses. Proprietary technology may come and go, but openly shared technology which comes out of BSD and GPL licensed solutions will remain. Information Technology businesses require access to engineers and scientists trained in the deep inner workings of Technology on which Information Technology is based.
Information Technology spans virtually all industries; industrial and mobile control, manufacturing automation, finance, distribution, sales, communications, consumer electronics and entertainment. I believe Universities of Science and Technology have an important role to play meeting the business demand for skill engineers and scientists.