Email by Amelio
Thursday, June 13, 1996 by Dave Winer.
My new web act is really coming together now. A quarter-million page reads at www.scripting.com since May 25. No, it probably isn't one of the highest flow sites on the Internet. But it's mine! It's nice. And there are no pictures of naked women to keep the flow up or to outrage the bible-thumpers who demanded censorship and lost.
I was just looking at the log. At night, lots of European domains. In the middle of the night the Japanese and Australians visit. And just now I watched a user from Boeing and one from Lockheed learning how to build websites with Frontier. It's looking like the digging is paying off. Ye-hi!
I'm listening to the Stones this morning. Start me up! I've been running hot. I might blow my top. Cooooooooool.
We did some benchmarks and found that (no surprise here) that the Macintosh file system is the major bottleneck that limits the overall performance of high flow Mac web servers. It's the reason that some Unix sysops look down their nose at the Macintosh as a web server.
As a software guy I know that there's no reason why a Macintosh couldn't equal or exceed the throughput of a Sun or an SGI or a Windows NT box. The PowerPC chip that the Mac is built on is a screamer. I've seen benchmarks that compare the performance of Java applets on various platforms. The only CPU that betters a Macintosh is a high-end Pentium based system.
The Mac CPU is fast. It's the Mac storage system that's slow. We're taking another look at the problem, from a fresh perspective. Hmmmm. Still digging!
A few days ago I was interviewed by an online zine. They asked what I want it to say on my gravestone. I thought for a moment. Here's what I came up with.
"Not digging anymore."
It was just a coincidence that yesterday I wrote about freedom of speech and software and at the same time the CDA was being declared unconstitutional.
Thanks to my comrade, Todd Lapin, email@example.com, for two quotes from the decision:
"As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from government intrusion."
"Just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so the strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects."
I love those court guys.
They're my kind of people!
I took a long walk yesterday to reflect on the court decision. I tried to get back to where I was in February, immersed in the issues of free speech as it related to this new technology that I love so much. Back then, the discussion focused on children, and our hopes for their future.
I was outraged that the censorship advocates used children as their excuse to shut down free speech on the net. I saw it as the most abusive thing my generation could possibly do to the generation that's growing up now. Protect the children from pornography! they said. But the issue wasn't about pornography, it was much broader. Thankfully, the court agreed.
I called it a crime against humanity then, and I still do. The attempt to shut down free speech on the net, which is essentially what the net is about, has left a scar on the medium. We reached a limit. All the fear came up. Some good things came out of the experience; now we must move onward, and imagine what the net would have been like if the threat had never been there.
Anyway, nuf said, I say. I'll watch how things change now that we're back on the unlimited growth track we were on before this mess was created. If you want to get an idea of what the discussion was about, start reading at Censorship Bill Passes US Congress and go forward from there. My favorite piece in the series is I Promised My Grandfather.
I started a discussion with my last piece, Free Speech & Software.
To those who disagreed with my premise, I ask, are the concepts of free speech and software totally incompatible? Isn't it conceivable, at least in theory, that a platform vendor could have so much power as to limit the freedom of software developers? Isn't it possible that when a platform vendor interferes with a market that at least part of the purpose is to silence a perceived dissonance in the note sounded by the developer?
I'm a wierd cat, I know it. I write prose *and* software. This makes me uniquely tuned into these issues. I don't see much difference between writing a story and writing some software. In one medium my rights are guaranteed.
I see it as a continuum. Start with free speech, I say, move to the Internet, then to a web browser, to content tools, then to a computer, the operating system, to PC hardware. There's a chain here, and free speech is essential at every step along the path or you don't have free speech anywhere at all. My opinion. The discussion continues on the "DaveNet Mail" website.
I got a gracious email from Gil Amelio, the new chairman of Apple Computer. He sent it a few days ago, but due to an email glitch I didn't get it until this morning. Here's what he said:
I just read your piece on The Godfather. It was very well written. Having written a book myself, I realize what hard work it is. You have my admiration for doing it well.
I hope it is not a surprise to you that I agree with much (but not 100%) of what you said in this issue. We've done a lot of stupid things over the years, and, even though I'm trying to address as many of these as I can, the momentum alone will keep us from reversing course as fast as we'd all like.
Relationships between companies are similar to relationships between individuals. Between two people, harmonious relations follow only if both people know themselves well. You could call this a definition of maturity. And so it is with corporations. I am trying to take Apple through a process of self-discovery which will result in a more successful and more mature enterprise. At that point (which I hope is not too far into the future), we will develop more mutually rewarding relations with our partners than we enjoy today. It will happen, just not overnight.
Despite some advice to the contrary, I feel we can work with you and other developers. To do so successfully will require both parties to come to the table as mature businesspeople with the past put firmly behind us. Heidi, George, I and many others are at this point. I expect the rest of the organization will soon follow our lead.
You and many other developers have been incredibly supportive to Apple and I acknowledge your many great contributions to the total user experience. I have been a Mac user for a lot longer than I've been the Apple CEO. To succeed in enhancing this user experience, it is imperative that we work effectively together (both within Apple and with the developer community) or everyone suffers.
Only when we have common goals and shared values does one plus one equal three. I'm committed to making Apple, the business, as great as our finest products. We welcome you to join us in this journey.
I look forward to many rewarding years working together.