1994-06-01 - Re: The Cypherpunks’ Electronic Book

Header Data

From: Martin Janzen <janzen@idacom.hp.com>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: ee7f06eec47a6f104e1d0ca56e83d75e36a49b08bd3570830961d2f76f5a055d
Message ID: <9406010129.AA02721@dunbar.idacom.hp.com>
Reply To: <9405302207.AA22877@toad.com>
UTC Datetime: 1994-06-01 01:29:50 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 31 May 94 18:29:50 PDT

Raw message

From: Martin Janzen <janzen@idacom.hp.com>
Date: Tue, 31 May 94 18:29:50 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: The Cypherpunks' Electronic Book
In-Reply-To: <9405302207.AA22877@toad.com>
Message-ID: <9406010129.AA02721@dunbar.idacom.hp.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Gary Jeffers writes:
>[lots of good ideas deleted]
>   We could use Majordomo as the book's distributor.

I'm not familiar with Majordomo.  But allow me to suggest that this project
might work well if it were organized as a set of World Wide Web pages.

<H2> Starting Point </H2>

You'd start with a home page located on an easily accessible machine, just
like the <A HREF="http://soda.berkeley.edu/pub/cypherpunks/Home.html">
Cypherpunks home page</A> that someone (Sameer?) created a while ago.
This machine would run the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) daemon;
a process which accepts requests from WWW browsers and returns hypertext

<H2> Adding Information </H2>

Now, if someone wants to contribute information to the CEB, they could
create one or more HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) pages.  This is
easy to do; HTML is just ASCII text which contains some simple markup
commands -- like this message.

To add the new pages to the CEB, the author could do one of two things:

<LI> Send the pages to the CEB maintainer, who adds them to the CEB on
the main machine.

<LI> Set up his/her own HTTP server, and ask the CEB maintainer to update
the CEB so that it includes a hypertext link to the author's machine.

Readers can now use a browser like Mosaic or Lynx to read the contents.

<H2> Advantages </H2>

The WWW approach offers a number of advantages:

<LI> familiarity
The Web is growing at a tremendous rate, and Mosaic is rapidly
becoming the browser of choice.  If the goal is to DISSEMINATE this
IMPOR.. -- sorry, to make the CEB easy for people to use, it would
help if it were based on a technology with which people are already

<LI> distributed responsibilities
It's easy for individuals or groups to set up and maintain servers
devoted to specific topics.  Once a link has been made from the
main CEB, the CEB maintainer doesn't need to be involved in every
change to that subtopic.

<LI> distributed text
The CEB text (and any other software, etc. that you want to include)
doesn't all have to be located on the same machine.  This feature can be
used to reduce the load on individual servers, and to add to the
reliability of the system.  (For instance, the home page could be made
available from several servers, possibly located in different countries...)

<LI> graphics
If authors want to include graphics in their pages, this can be
done relatively easily.

<LI> convenient software distribution
Most WWW browsers make it easy to download files; just click on the
files, and tell the browser where you want them stored.

<LI> feasibility
You don't need to bother Eric!  :-)

<H2> Disadvantages </H2>

The main disadvantage is that updates would not be provided automatically.
Even if the CEB were to provide a "What's New" page, a reader still has
to follow that link and look at the page occasionally.  Periodic updates
on sci.crypt and other appropriate groups would still be a good idea.


<ADDRESS> janzen@idacom.hp.com </ADDRESS>