Re: Two Webs?

Liam Relihan (
Tue, 19 Jul 1994 13:59:28 +0100 (WET DST)

On Tue, 19 Jul 1994, Brandon Plewe wrote:

> I hope this doesn't come across as tactless or gossipy, since the involved
> parties are here.
> Are we seeing the beginnings of a rift in the WWW? Recent developments (W3O,
> the commercialization of Mosaic) have led me to wonder if there are two camps
> out there, that are becoming increasingly polarized:
> - the CERN-ites, which probably includes most of the people on this list, who
> adhere to the traditional (open, PD) concept of the WWW and the internet and
> get offended any time someone implies that WWW=Mosaic.
> to these, commercialization is okay, but must adhere to consensus-adopted
> standards, such as HTML 3.0 and HTTP/2. W3O is their new leadership, and
> I sometimes get the impression that some hold NCSA in about as high regard
> as Microsoft ("they got us where we are today, but we resent their
> popularity and arrogance").
> - the Mosaic-ites, which includes users that think that NCSA invented this
> whole thing and have never heard of Tim, and commercial developers who
> prefer not to mention the acronym "WWW" when talking about their version of
> Mosaic. To them, whatever NCSA says, goes. This group has been further
> fractured by the formation of Marc A's company, and appears to be headed
> the same way as other commercial applications, with competing proprietary
> products.
> My question is, is this bad? Does it matter? Is it even happening?
> Now I probably shouldn't be throwing my unsubstantiated impressions out here in
> the open, but I'd like to know if I'm wrong. NCSA/Mosaic people, is your plan
> to still conform to the standards developed here and by W3O? Will your software
> (commercial or public domain) be touted as a WWW product, or something entirely
> different? I know that Mosaic is a multi-protocol product, but HTML/HTTP is
> still its heart. Will W3O and the people on this list still try to support the
> independent advances made by the NCSA and commercial Mosaic teams as with the
> case of HTML 2.0?
> The renaming of NCSA's Mosaic conference to "The Second International WWW
> Conference-Mosaic and the Web" and its co-sponsorship by CERN is promising,
> but why is NCSA not involved with W3O? Or is it?
> Flame away; I'd like to be wrong.

Well I hope you are wrong too. However, I suspect you mightn't be. For
some time now the "CERN-ites" have been trying to give the web some shape,
to solve some of its more fundamental problems. However, some other
parties/communities have been pushing for extensions that facilitate
commerce, etc. Both have perfectly legitimate concerns of course.

I admit to being a "CERN-ite" since I believe that the web is suffering from
some serious fundamental deficiencies. However, I do see the point of
the others.

I think that it is a bad idea to "bolt on" extensions simply to
satisfy certain user communities, when the basic protocols are far from
robust. Therefore, it is my hope that the "Mosaic-ites" (for want of a
better term) will back down to some extent.

I think that you can't just lump all the non-CERN-ites into one group
though. Things are a bit more complex than that.

Just my opinion :-)


 Liam Relihan,                 |   |\       Voice: +353-61-333644 ext.5015
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