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RE: Opinion

  On Fri, 14 Nov 1997, Dave Hamilton wrote:
  > Pieter Nagel wrote:
  > >MS did not trample on 'net technology as much as they trampled on the
  > >culture.
  > Interesting comment.  I can remember just 10 years ago (pre-WWW) when
  > commercial activity on the internet was heavily frowned uppon.
  > So who changed the culture?  Commercial companies like Compuserve,
  > Lexis/Nexis, and eventually America Online
  Just to clarify: I did not refer to the comercialisation of the web.
  That "culture shift" allows, as you say, non-academic suburbanites to
  share the Internet, and allows me to get vasts amounts of information
  from vendors before buying their product. The expanse of the internet
  is a Good Thing.
  The culture that MS trampled on was the culture of interoperablity:
  the communication protocols were designed to allow any computer
  architecture to communicate. By extension: to allow all people to
  > So who changed the culture?  The internet was accessed using obscure
  > command-line interfaces, using command-line utilities to encode and
  > decode the content.  "Normal" people couldn't use the net, nor did they
  > want to.
  User friendliness is not the issue. Many good products, like Trumpet
  and Pegasus Mail and Eudora and Free Agent demonstrated that you
  could put a friendly UI on top of the communication while still
  conforming to the protocol.
  But now, I am faced with the possibility of one day finding myself in
  the position where I can not join a large-scale Internet forum
  without running Microsoft products.
  In the old days, incompatibilities arose when "the other guy" used
  a newer protocol to communicate which your software did not yet
  support. But *theoretically* it would have been possible to jointhe
  protocol, even if you had do download the RFC specs for it and write
  the software for yourself. *Theoretically* any computer can do email
  and news and HTML.
  With their proprietary protocols such as ActiveX, MS are not merely
  enhancing the Internet. They are enhancing it in a way which non-MS
  platforms will not, even in theory, be able to support. How does a
  Motorolla CPU run an Intel binary ActiveX?
  *That* is the culture trample I resent them for. By all means, let
  them write and sell wonderfull user friendly software, but let that
  software communicate in the traditional platform-independent fashion
  that has always been the culture of the web.
  > And, by the way, ActiveX is already on the Mac and on UNIX.  All they
  > want to do is rule the world.  Scarry, isn't it?  :-)
  Yes. You can mark an ActiveX component for the platforms it supports,
  so if someone were to compile an ActiveX for the Mac, it would run on
  it. But how many people will compile them for the Mac? And the
  innocent zoologist who runs the butterfly web site and downloads an
  ActiveX component to enhance it with, does he know he has to
  recompile it for all platforms in the world?
  If you don't get my point: the culture of the Internet used to be
  such that no one would dream of creating something like ActiveX and
  call it an Internet standard if it was not *really*, trivially,
  transparently platform independent.
  ActiveX is cross-platform in name only, while in actual fact it just
  increases the dependency on MS products.
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