Tim O'Reilly re: an upcoming OSCON session...
I've been thinking lately just how much software developers take the existence of version control for granted, and how... web 2.0 applications don't offer much in the way of version control functionality...I worked on conferencing software for a couple two, three years in the early 1990s. There was a lot of expectation then that collaboration would find its way into every "single-user application" on the desktop. Then the web hit the scene and eventually evolved its own ideas about collaboration, or at least participation.
The future we face is one of massive collaborative systems. How we design those systems, and how we build critical freedoms into them, shaping their architecture to support either participation or centralized control, is one of the great challenges facing the technology community today.
Other than a few notable examples there is still surprisingly little really good collaboration on the web. I'm not even sure what that is. Maybe it does exist and I could collaborate with you to find that out.
Wikis for me remain a great example, but still real collaboration is hard. Wikis have a way of devolving into conversation-like- and ownership-like-models for pages.
I expect by Web 2.5 or Web 3.0 we'll see collaborative systems more like where we were heading in the early 1990s but with a heavy dose of "the web" guiding everything for an even better multiplying effect.