Two Webs?

Brandon Plewe (
Tue, 19 Jul 1994 08:02:24 +0200

I hope this doesn't come across as tactless or gossipy, since the involved
parties are here.

Are we seeing the beginnings of a rift in the WWW? Recent developments (W3O,
the commercialization of Mosaic) have led me to wonder if there are two camps
out there, that are becoming increasingly polarized:
- the CERN-ites, which probably includes most of the people on this list, who
adhere to the traditional (open, PD) concept of the WWW and the internet and
get offended any time someone implies that WWW=Mosaic.
to these, commercialization is okay, but must adhere to consensus-adopted
standards, such as HTML 3.0 and HTTP/2. W3O is their new leadership, and
I sometimes get the impression that some hold NCSA in about as high regard
as Microsoft ("they got us where we are today, but we resent their
popularity and arrogance").

- the Mosaic-ites, which includes users that think that NCSA invented this
whole thing and have never heard of Tim, and commercial developers who
prefer not to mention the acronym "WWW" when talking about their version of
Mosaic. To them, whatever NCSA says, goes. This group has been further
fractured by the formation of Marc A's company, and appears to be headed
the same way as other commercial applications, with competing proprietary

My question is, is this bad? Does it matter? Is it even happening?

Now I probably shouldn't be throwing my unsubstantiated impressions out here in
the open, but I'd like to know if I'm wrong. NCSA/Mosaic people, is your plan
to still conform to the standards developed here and by W3O? Will your software
(commercial or public domain) be touted as a WWW product, or something entirely
different? I know that Mosaic is a multi-protocol product, but HTML/HTTP is
still its heart. Will W3O and the people on this list still try to support the
independent advances made by the NCSA and commercial Mosaic teams as with the
case of HTML 2.0?

The renaming of NCSA's Mosaic conference to "The Second International WWW
Conference-Mosaic and the Web" and its co-sponsorship by CERN is promising,
but why is NCSA not involved with W3O? Or is it?

Flame away; I'd like to be wrong.

Brandon Plewe