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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.
Permanent link to archive for Monday, April 24, 2000. Monday, April 24, 2000

Washington Post: US, States Favor Plan To Split Up Microsoft. "If Microsoft is divided into three companies, sources said, the third would be an Internet company that would get the browser and the Microsoft Network, which is the Internet service provider and Web portal that competes with America Online Inc. and other companies." The plan is confusing. Putting the browser in the network services company is like leaving the fox in the hen-house.

News.Com: Microsoft shares dive on downgrades, breakup reports. "Microsoft stock fell $11.94, or 15.12 percent, to $67 in early trading, after several investment banks lowered their outlook after the software maker posted third-quarter revenue that grew less than anticipated. The company also took a hit after several newspapers reported that the government was considering a plan to break up Microsoft to prevent any future antitrust violations."

Scripting News via email roll out

OK, it's Monday, so it's time to roll out a new feature. The Scripting News-via-email feature is ready for broader use. I did a review of the code and watched it send out 1200 emails yesterday. It appears to work.

How to sign up: Visit this page, enter your email address, and check the Scripting News checkbox. If you already have a UserLand.Com cookie, that email address will be entered for you, but if you prefer to have it sent to a different address you can change it. Click on Submit. We send an email to that address. The email contains a single button that confirms that you want to subscribe. So you can't subscribe someone else. Further, we know that you have an HTML-enabled emailer, because if you don't you won't be able to click on the Confirm button.

Each email you receive, sent at 10PM each night, will have a big Unsubscribe button at the top where you can't miss it. (Some people will miss it even so.) This is the easiest and surest email-unsubscribe I've ever seen. Inspired, for sure, by Amazon's 1-Click process for buying stuff.

Does Amazon consider this infringement? I'd love to hear from them. If they do, we'll probably back down and make it more complicated. You will get a chance to tell Amazon what you think about that, if it should happen. And we will not file a patent on this, so if you're a developer and want to use this process, go ahead. But a pointer to the permanent archive for this page would be nice. Thank you for the flow.

Scripting News is not just about scripting. It's also about patents vs freedom. My goal is not only to make the best software I possibly can, but also to help users see the value of freedom. We'd all like email subscriptions to work better. It's clear how they can. I don't mind if others use my ideas, in fact I want them to. I also want to learn if Amazon and others will stand in the way. To me, the users are the real issue. So far they haven't felt the impact of patent mania. The sooner they do, imho, the better. That's one of the reasons I wanted to do this feature, this way. Freedom of expression. See how the writing and software are integrated?

Survey: How did it go? Were you able to subscribe? Are you comfortable that you will be able to easily unsubscribe? How do you feel about the feature? Update: I added a fourth response for people who can't receive HTML email. Sorry, this feature can only work if you can receive HTML email.

Other stuff

XML-RPC: Manila RPC Changes. Two new handlers were added to facilitate email distribution of Manila-hosted home pages.

I sent an email to Brian Behlendorf (Apache.Org and Collab.Net), posted it on our DG and got back a response. Ouch. I offered the best I have to offer, friendship, and got back a lecture. Same old open source bluster. Lots of theories, few facts to back them up. Yes I believe in competition, you will too if you stay in this business for a while. Apache is like MS-DOS. Lots of people use it, we do too. But where's the Lotus 1-2-3? Apache is boring! Where's the revolution for writers and thinkers? Geez. Look a little closer Brian, it doesn't have anything to do with the economic system. If we worked with each other great things would happen. But I won't be making public offers of friendship again anytime soon.

Netscape job opening: Product Manager for Netscape Gecko Embedding. If you get the job, remember that Netscape makes Web browsers. Web browsers. Web browsers. Web browsers. Web browsers. Web browsers. Web browsers. Web browsers. Web browsers.

Here's an essay

I realize what I'm doing now is concentrating all my writing into one flow. I'm writing the docs for new features on the home page. No hops. I'm also concentrating the flow of all emails into this page. And at the same time I'm inviting people to speak here, but doing it awkwardly and ineffectively. Think of it this way, that's all that was happening with Conxion. I'm sure that if they had the time (they don't) to get to know the community here, they would have something to say to them, like use our service! Their ads are trying to reach the people we already reach. But their ads are fearful things. "You will lose, you will be punished," etc. Here, they could say, "Look at all we do to help Dave, we'd like to do that for you too." (Of course they must stop reselling PacBell's miserable T1 service, I'd support that fully.)

Anyway going back before Conxion, I tried to get VA Linux to come talk with us. That failed. Who else? I'm sure I'll think of others. Doc is so right, the Web is about conversation. If Brian Behlendorf, who is surely a very busy man with his own community, would only say hello in a friendly way! Such incredible things could happen. Like we could make all our software work together, plug and play.

Now I could never write this in DaveNet. It would make no sense. It barely makes sense here. There's kind of a loose hub. We link to a churning pot of weblogs, but they are independent of us. We host thousands of free sites, mostly run by professionals, people who know a lot and want to share it. There's also a vast library of syndicated XML content which cares not whether you use bloated open source software or bloated commercial-ware to read it. It just doesn't care. Have fun. And then there's Pike, the biggest juiciest invitation to Apache ever. Make Apache work with Pike and there's a revolution. Why? Open interfaces between writing tools and servers. Embrace the desktop, don't wait for it to show up on Linux. It's already there on Mac and Windows. Microsoft gets this. I doubt if anyone in ApacheLand does. (I feel like Paul Revere.)

Now how can I seduce a really bright guy like Brian to spend some time learning what we do, and explain it in a context that makes sense to Linux developers, open source or whatever? That's what I gotta figure out. It doesn't have to be Brian. Help me figure this out.

Final note. I'm sure some people don't like the evolving format of Scripting News, but I really do. My whole way of writing for the web is shifting. And I really owe it all to Pike. What a trip it's been. The goal has been to get a decent writing tool that could connect directly to the Web, cutting the number of steps to revise to a minimum. I edit Scripting News just like you would edit a text document on a local hard drive. But the server is out there, not right here, and I don't have to use HTML, but I can. If you write for the Internet, you're going to be doing it this way. The only question is will it be only with Microsoft's software or with software from others as well? Right now, as far as I know, only UserLand and Microsoft are working in this area. Think about that.

Wait there's more. Tim O'Reilly has gotten into the fray. Excellent. Sorry you had to read this far down the page for the pointer. Maybe Tim will pop up a level for the greater context. I've managed to piss him off too. But he's here! Let's love him in. We want your help Tim. Help help help.

Sorry if you don't like pride, but I think Scripting News is becoming a killer app!


Last update: Tuesday, April 25, 2000 at 6:29 AM Eastern.

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