Re: Mosaic vs WWW

"Peter Lister, Cranfield Computer Centre" <>
Message-id: <>
To: Reed Wade <>
Subject: Re: Mosaic vs WWW
In-reply-to: Your message of "Tue, 23 Nov 93 15:46:41 EST." <>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 93 10:18:50 GMT
From: "Peter Lister, Cranfield Computer Centre" <>
> That sort of thing is inevitable. I'd consider it a good sign.
> It shows that www and mosaic are in use by non-experts.

Use by non-experts is good, confusion is not. Mosaic is a particular
WWW browser, and it has a cute name. One of the differences between WWW
and Gopher (and sadly it is a really *major* difference to those who
don't appreciate the technical points) is that Gopher - the entire
system -  has a cute name. And most people remember cute names. Had WWW
been christened by CERN as "Proton", "Accelerator", or even "Fred",
many more people would be happier with it.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a fan of WWW, and all the clients and servers
which make it up (in particular Mosaic and Plexus). But the name "WWW"
sucks -  the only thing that makes "World Wide Web" a proper noun is
the fact that the WWW community uses it as such, and we conventionally
(though not always) refer to it capitalised. As soon as it's
uncapitalized "world wide web" applies to virtually anything - The
Internet as a whole, the telephone network, railways, airline routes,
anything international that consists of interconnected lines. And the
identity of our beloved system of HTTP, HTML, FTP, Gopher, etc is lost.

All the examples I can think of where a generic term has been pressed
into service to name a particular system also cause confusion. I would
understand "FTP" to be Internet FTP. However, to a layman, the generic
term applies equally to Blue Book (the UK's X25 based system which,
still in use), Kermit (now there *is* a cute name), SneakerNet, etc.
Even "windows" - to a PC user this means MS-Windows, but a Unix
workstation user knows about X11 (commonly, if wrongly known as "X
windows"). Right, now try explaining why they're different ("Yes, they
both use windows, but not the same windows OK?").

Oh, and by the way, can I please make it clear that I do know what the
Internet and WWW and Mosaic and everything else are? :-) The last time
I expressed any similar opinions, I got a reply from a terribly helpful
guy who carefully explained to me that I had confused the Internet with
the World-Wide Web.... which rather proved the point I'd been trying to make.

Finally, if you think the term "cute" is rather too whimsical,
substitute "easily remembered" in the message above. The meaning will be unchanged.

Peter Lister                             Email:
Computer Centre, Cranfield University    Voice: +44 234 754200 ext 2828
Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL UK        Fax: +44 234 750875
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