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Permanent link to archive for Saturday, February 24, 2001. Saturday, February 24, 2001

Dan Lyke responds to my multi-day 16 categories rant.

To Dan, I agree that it's time for a balanced developer-friendly view of the world. Based on what's really happening. I saw the bug when I heard Brian Behlendorf (who I like as a human being) say that there should only be one web server. That's when I realized we had a fundamental difference of opinion. I don't want to see the world close ranks behind any single piece of software. That stops progress. I watched as the Apache people completely ignored (this is not a complaint) the development work we did with Frontier, adding an HTTP server, then Manila, without responding. In a competitive environment, they would have matched us feature for feature. I know, I've run races with Mitch Kapor, Philippe Kahn and a swarm of outline processors. I've won some races and lost others. But the users always won because we kept trying to come up with ideas that worked better for them. This is the art that's lost. I want to bring it back. First we have to understand what good end-user software is, and then respect it, get the press to write about it, get the VCs to fund it, and get the users to start writing checks again.

Also there's no harm in doing an inventory, to see what the accomplishments of open source are a few years after the concept was rolled out. I'm not anti-open source, so I hope the conversation can move beyond the for-or-against thing. This came out of a long productive email exchange with Eric Raymond that was collegial. At the end I asked if we could help each other, and with the caveat that he doesn't want to help Microsoft, which is his right, he agreed. If there were a product marketing function for open source (ie if it were a company) no doubt they would want to know where it's at. That's mostly what I want to do. Understand where the opportunity is. One of the first things to do is to make lists.

ComputerWorld: Airports ground use of wireless. "Baltimore-Washington International Airport last week became the latest airport to clamp down on the public wireless LAN industry as well as on cellular carriers that operate on airport turf. Their concern: wireless interference with other systems, but also a decline in pay-phone revenue that has prompted some airports to look for ways to seek income from wireless technology."

Wired: "'Moreover sees cybersleuthing in the same continuum as headline news delivery,' a company spokesman said. 'Though we don't offer to track down the authors of postings, take action, mobilize evangelists or read moods of boards, because of the power of the dynamic database, Moreover could be a great partner to a cyber bounty-hunter.'"

Michael Lewis: "If it wasn't for everybody manipulating the market, there wouldn't be a stock market at all." A fantastic but long article. In the end, Jonathan Lebed is just a boy, in high school, who happens to trade stocks using the Web. The SEC and its chairman Arthur Levitt act like freaked-out bullies, caught in an ethical conundrum. Who doesn't know that the stock market is a crazy ouija board? What so scary is that a 13-year old boy could play the game as well as the pros. This is what the Web does, levels the playing field, which was at one time, the goal of the SEC. This is also a fantastic narrative of the journalists' mind at work. How many reporters would challenge someone of the stature of Levitt? I heard him speak at Davos last year. He's quite monumental. But Lewis didn't play footsy. Thanks. The kid is definitely the hero of the story.

I talked about this with Sean Parker on Wed. He's the 21-year-old co-author of Napster. He explained how the 13-year-olds work. He has recent experience. The FBI raided his house when he was 13. I told him what I used to do when I was that age. Yeah, it would have freaked my parents out, if they had known. I guess people don't like to think about the kids, but they are people, different from adults, but still quite powerful. I think that's a large part of being 13, finding out just how powerful you actually are. At one point Lebed and his friends owned half of West Coast Video. Lebed scared Levitt. Parker scared Hilary Rosen. I scared Albert Shanker. In the end, in my story, the adults took over. They were willing to be more deceptive than I ever thought anyone could. I remember when it sunk in, thinking, damn I'm going to have to learn how to do that too. It didn't make me happy.

Albert Shanker may be most famous for the reference in Woody Allen's Sleeper, where, according to the plot, civilization on earth had been destroyed 200 years earlier when a man named Albert Shanker got a nuclear bomb. You had to live in NY to get the joke, perhaps. Shanker had a weekly advertorial in section 4 of the Sunday NY Times called "Where We Stand". In one of those columns he even made reference to the Sleeper plot.

Another great quote from Sleeper: "Sex and death. Two things that come once in a lifetime. Only after death you're not nauseous."

Julian Bond has a long page of quotes from the P2P conf, starting off with the journalism panel with a bunch of quotes from yours truly.

Thomas Creedon reports having trouble getting through to Weblogger.Com, a Manila hosting service, not run by UserLand. Last night I got an email from Erin Clerico saying that they have an outage and are scrambling to get back on the air. I know what it's like. Been there myself. They have a page with progress reports on clearing the outage.


Last update: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 at 9:37 AM Eastern.

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