Re: [Jeff Covey @ Freshmeat] We Are Losing the Browser War

From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Wed Mar 28 2001 - 11:22:54 PST

Tom WSMF wrote:
> On Wed, 28 Mar 2001, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> --]
> --]I mixed them purposely. There is an underlying principle of avoiding
> --]situations of abusive control.
> ...
> --]
> --]AOL, in the long run, wants everyone on its service. Of course that
> --]would be bad; we need completely independant ISP's, at least for elite
> --]users. Still, I pay for several accounts for my kids to use (and
> --]historical reasons) along with a number of other Internet access
> --]methods.
> --]
> You pay to put your kids in a situation of abusive control?
> AOL is to the net what MS is to OSS.
> --]> AOL is about as antiLinux as MS. Its Closed minded versus Open (well at
> --]> least linux says its more "open")
> --]
> --]For the most part, I disagree. There are (security) reasons why their
> --]client is closed and development reasons why they are Win32 mostly and
> --]Mac slightly. I can't say much more than that.
> Its not just the code. Code is the trees, look at the forrest. Censorship
> as a standard part of the service, gated comminuty mindset, controled
> content, and lets not forget the foot draggin it did in the face of the
> nets promise.

They have a fine line to walk and I'm not all that upset about what
they've chosen. There are many areas on the service that are completely
uncensored, subject to someone you may be communicating with objecting
and complaining. Between consenting adults, everything takes place on
AOL in email, chat, IM, etc.

They treat things that are part of the service completely differently
from Internet services. Anything you do on the Internet is free from
their terms of use, beyond things like spam and illegal 'speech' like
child porn.

In certain public areas, especially kids chatrooms, 'family' rated
discussion areas, etc., they have to enforce a stricter terms of service
to make it 'family friendly'. I view that as a service that they are
providing. You're basically paying for a zillion customer service reps
to babysit your kids to watch that they don't go over certain
boundaries. Of course they find other ways, but that gives AOL
something it can point to to say they are better than the wide open net.

In any case, I worked there long enough and have had kids and older
relatives online long enough to see some merit in AOL.

> --]AOL doesn't have the same evil bent as MS as far as I'm concerned.
> SO know we know how your bent.

No, MS is bent... ;-)

> --]AOL was the first 'Online Service' to embrace the web and they did it
> --]pretty well.
I should have said web, Internet, etc.
> Oh jezz.

You differ? I have a lot of experience on this subject...

For instance, AOL was the first, in 94 or 95, to have an easy,
completely automatic file/image reassembler/viewer for Usenet. They've
always carried all newsgroups, although you have to use 'expert mode' to
get to abpe, etc.

> --]Their only screwup was the .ART format and everything related to it,
> --]although it did buy them a bit in caching. Well their other major
> --]screwup was not letting (My) Instant Images go live (bastards!), but I
> --]digress.
> SO you dont see any problem with censoring, an abusive TOS, and dumbed
> down software a problem?

A problem? Well of course, I do, but that's why I have shared high
speed access, my own servers, and a large network in my house. I'm not
sure what censoring you're talking about really or even dumbed down
software. You can dial-in with AOL, minimize the client, and do
Anything you want with any application over your wide open Internet
connection. You can even use Netscape. They've had this for 5+ years.

So you have to avoid being anti-social in a teen area or reasonably
civil in message boards meant for anyway, big deal. Your newspaper has
the same editorial filters.

Porn email and "cyber-sex" chatting are huge on AOL. Unless someone
complains that child-porn or a crime is involved, or that it was sent to
them unsolicited, there is no censorship that I know of.

> Wowswer scooby, and I thought ai was hitting the scooby snacks harshly.
> /"\ [---=== WSMF ----]
> \ /
> X ASCII Ribbon Campaign
> / \ Against HTML Mail


Stephen D. Williams
43392 Wayside Cir,Ashburn,VA 20147-4622 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 

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