Path: utzoo!utgpu!water!watmath!clyde!att!osu-cis!!rutgers!apple!voder!pyramid!cbmvax!snark!eric
From: e...@snark.UUCP (Eric S. Raymond)
Newsgroups: comp.mail.uucp
Subject: The UUCP Project's problems -- another case of big-site elitism?
Message-ID: <dq9qJ#4Vytz5=eric@snark.UUCP>
Date: 27 Aug 88 17:59:28 GMT
Organization: Golden Apple Gotterdammerung Promotions, Inc.
Lines: 107

In a recent posting (can't give an ID, because expire clobbers nearly
everything daily to keep my disks from overflowing), James Van Artsdalen
raised some pointed questions about the UUCP project, its purposes, and what
it's doing with the fees it collects.

So far, I haven't seen any convincing answers. Snotty you-don't-know-what-
you're-talking-about dismissals, yes, and one or two apparently well-meant
attempts to articulate *a* mission for the UUCP Project -- but no response
to the basic challenges as to

	1. what user fees are being spent on.

	2. to what extent the things being done now match the project's
	   original charter.

	3. whether this fee-charging service provides any service not already
	   more effectively being pursued by volunteers.

	4. whether the Project's current mission needs to be done *at all*.

This lack of response bothers me, because it feeds some suspicions I've had for
a long time about apparent structural biases in the USENET and UNIX mail
community's decision-making process.

Now, before I go on let me make clear that I am *not* interested in painting
any particular individual or group as a a villain. Nor do I subscribe to the
collectivist premise that the opinions of any random loudmouth with a terminal
are "just as good as" those of people who have put intelligence and sweat into
making solutions. But I see a real problem...

Because a lot of the community's talent lives on large corporate or university
sites (a disproportionate number of which are connected to Internet or other
high-speed networks), and because the psychology of hackerdom always pushes
for the latest/greatest/sexiest, I think there's a strong tendency towards
what can only be called 'big-site elitism' in the community's decision process.

This manifests in several ways. One is a tendency to condescend to UUCP-only
sites, to treat them as poor country cousins with no concerns that are really
of interest to people where the *real* action is.

Another consequence is to bias decisions a lot of technical questions towards
alternatives that penalize people who can't or won't maintain extra software.
The brouhaha over whether Path headers should be used for replies makes an
excellent example -- those who pushed for eliminating that use were implicitly
arguing that it's not important for small sites running non-domainist mailers
to be able to at least *try* a reply path.

Yet a third result (and perhaps the one most relevant to the questions above)
is a tendency to behave as though every 'real' UNIX site has a corporate or
academic sugar-daddy behind it willing to spend money on hackish things, and
that not doing so is a failure on the sysop's part that rightly consigns him
or her to the outer darkness. Thus the rise and fall of Stargate, and the high
UUCP Project fees, and the smail source's peremptory tone about getting an
expensive domain registration (get *real*, fellas!).

But the fact is that many of us *don't* have 14-inch Winchester drives and 
Trailblazers and ARPA connections. Most of us are still using 2400 or 1200
baud modems. Most of don't have the time, energy or *funding* to hack
elaborate sendmail scripts or do the kind of maintainence that fancy
distributed-database routing solutions require, or to learn all the chants,
incantations and genuflections required to deal with NIC. And a lot of us
don't have the bucks to buy better solutions than we got out of the box.

It's time for a reality check, here. *Most* of the net is composed of machines
for which email & USENET support is casual or nonexistent at best. And that
proportion is *increasing* as more personal machines (like mine) enter the net.
Do we really *want* to see this majority left behind?

(Note: I'm not confining my attack on this problem to bitching about it. My
latest news 3.0 beta release contains tools to semi-automate configuration of
both news itself *and* map entry updates, and I'd like to bundle smail3 with
the production release if I can ever get the maintainers to talk to me.)

Routing 'solutions' that impose lots of continuing time, talent, or money costs
just aren't going to cut it -- not because they're 'wrong' or 'evil' but
because most of the net just doesn't have those resources to spend. But very
little of what passes for policy-making in the community seems to recognize
this. Instead we see a continual re-invention of high-cost pseudo-solutions
that get ignored by most, flamed by a few, and eventually just die of
starvation as most of the net decides it ain't worth the bother.

I'm a hacker too; I have the same drives that have produced this bias in
others. But I remain sensitive to the problems of small sites because I
*am* one, and don't expect to get larger. I'm doing big things, as the fifty
or so of you running my news beta know -- but I can't even afford a uunet
subscription, and Trailblazers are in the impossible-dream category for now.

Like 90% of the net, I'm still plugging along with my tiny disk, my UUCP-only
mailers and my single 1200-baud dialin -- and my question is, why does the
brave new world the domainist advocates and the UUCP Project people have
been pushing have so little room for *us* in it?

Understand, I *like* domainist addressing, mostly. But anyone who wants me to
pay $150 not just *once* (which I could maybe swallow) but *every year* for the
privilege of being listed in the d.* maps owes me a better explanation of where
the money is going than anyone has come near giving.

Multiply me by 10,000 and you'll see why I doubt that the UUCP Project has (or
even deserves) much of a future. Right now, my intent is to join the US domain;
screw the fees and the d.* maps. Can anyone, inside the UUCP project or out,
tell me what that won't give me that a d.* listing will? Or just what the
Project is using its non-profits for?

      Eric S. Raymond                     (the mad mastermind of TMN-Netnews)
      UUCP: ...!{uunet,att,rutgers}!snark!eric = e...@snark.UUCP
      Post: 22 S. Warren Avenue, Malvern, PA 19355      Phone: (215)-296-5718

			  SCO's Case Against IBM

November 12, 2003 - Jed Boal from Eyewitness News KSL 5 TV provides an
overview on SCO's case against IBM. Darl McBride, SCO's president and CEO,
talks about the lawsuit's impact and attacks. Jason Holt, student and 
Linux user, talks about the benefits of code availability and the merits 
of the SCO vs IBM lawsuit. See SCO vs IBM.

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