Re: Netscape v NCSA, Progress?

Tue, 18 Oct 1994 15:52:55 +0100

>From: CONNOLLY @ SMTP (Daniel W. Connolly) {}
>Date: Tuesday, October 18, 1994 4:03AM
>In message <9410180615.AA00655@ua.MIT.EDU>, solman@MIT.EDU writes:
>>You know, mcom has just released a kicking browser to the web community
>Not so fast... this is not FREE in the typical internet sense of the
>word "free" -- the vast majority of the intellectual property
>developed at Mcom is still inside Mcom. What we got was a few
>megabytes of binaries to play with.
>Nobody else can patch, enhance, maintain, etc. that code. They didn't
>give away much, in the large scheme of things.

You really don't understand commercial enterprises, then, do you? Which is
surprising, considering your email address. Is HAL going to start handing
out free source code for OLIAS?

What, not even "a few megabytes of binaries to play with"?

>I don't mean to complain, just to clarify. If the beta release of
>netscape solves problems for you, so much the better. But it doesn't
>get me anywhere I couldn't get before. (Now if there were a Linux
>version that worked over term... :-)
>>I think its reasonable for mcom to claim as payment control over the
>>protocols used by Netscape.
>If they did that, they had better not call it HTML or WWW. They
>can take their marbles and play elsewhere, sure. But I don't think
>that's in anybody's best interest.

If extending the written standard is such a cardinal sin, we'd better sue
most of the privders of "ANSI C", then.

>> The fact of the matter is that mcom would
>>be perfectly justified in setting the standards de facto, and using
>>this control to take over the commercial web server business.
>I strongly disagree. Mcom diserves credit for quick turn-around for
>what looks like a nice product. But they didn't invent WWW, and they
>don't own it.
>TimBL conceived of WWW, but the original ideas have been around for
>years: look at Ted Nelson, Charles Englebart, and the rest of the
>HyperMedia researchers, plus the internet researchers, and the list
>goes on and on. Had all these folks done their research behind closed
>doors, Mosaic never would have existed.

And had they not tortured and twisted and EXTENDED the existing standards of
the time, we wouldn't have the web as it is today.

>>Its not showing up at standard setting meetings that entitles you
>>to set standards, its writing code that implements them.
>I think this is a short-sighted viewpoint. Implementations come and
>go. Specifications -- good ones anyway -- stick around. Look at
>RFC822. How many implementations do you suppose there have been?
>Do you suppose we've seen the last one?

Citing RFC822 as a "good specification" is laughable. Its still there
because is ubiquitous - I think it would be easier to propose a 9-bit byte,
or a 3-state bit, then to propose dumping 822. So, instead, we keep tacking
on to it.

The best, and longest lasting, standards are those which are retro-written:
they take cognizance of what works in the real world and institutionalize
it. In the process, some things which were tried, and failed, are dropped.
Creating standards with no real world use beforehand gives us nonsense like