1995-07-20 - Re: Netscape the Big Win

Header Data

From: tcmay@sensemedia.net (Timothy C. May)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: bf680dc334fb065b715ba97c1fcefd666a4376c5f5399c45bf4f89becf3d3f36
Message ID: <ac33f977080210043230@[]>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1995-07-20 19:32:25 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 20 Jul 95 12:32:25 PDT

Raw message

From: tcmay@sensemedia.net (Timothy C. May)
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 95 12:32:25 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Netscape the Big Win
Message-ID: <ac33f977080210043230@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 5:25 PM 7/20/95, Patrick J. LoPresti wrote:
>>>>>> "tcmay" == Timothy C May <tcmay@sensemedia.net> writes:
> tcmay> Integration of crypto into Netscape is thus the Big Win.
> tcmay> I felt this was the case as far back as last fall, but my
> tcmay> recent experiences tell me this is more important than
> tcmay> ever. Integration of PGP and other crypto routines into Tin,
> tcmay> Pine, Elm, Joe, Emacs, etc., is just not as important.
>Careful here.  Deliberately or not, you are marginalizing the hard
>work of dozens of people, including me.  You are suggesting our work
>should have been done for Netscape instead, a program that a) is not
>free software (FSF sense); b) has no mail reader; and c) has no
>extension language.  Oh, and d) is horrendous as a news reader.

No offense, but "marginalizing" is what I love to do more than anything!

Seriously, the world is what the world is. I really don't care about "FSF"
one way or the other, and will join the rest of the world (apparently) in
using Netscape. And yes, I am "marginalizing" the work that anyone does on
"fringe" projects like Linux, which will likely always remain in the ghetto
of Unix hackers who want a cheap Unix running on their cheap 486 boxes...it
just ain't gonna take over inside corporations or amongst the many folks
like me.

Frankly, one of the great boons of my current setup is that I can
completely get away from Unix tools and commands, away from my Unix shell
account at Netcom, away from the arcane commands that vary from program to
program, away from tin and elm and emacs...my fingers are already
forgetting the emacs commands!

(Those of you like Unix, fine. I agree it is useful for many things, so I'm
not trying to debate Unix vs. the world. Just giving my perspective, and
apparently the perspective of the many who are adopting the Web browsers as
their "operating environments," insulated from the underlying cruft.)

(If the GNU folks were to do an "open, extensible, Netscape workalike. this
could be a win. Some may claim that Mosaic is/was that. We can debate this
in separate thread.)

I acknowledge that it has no mail reader, which is why I'm still using
Eudora. But as soon as it does....

And the newsreader is a matter of taste...it does all I want it to do, and
I'm a fairly heavy reader of News and contributor to Usenet groups. I
survived with "tin" for several years, so anything is possible.

>The packages that you implicitly denigrate provide far and away the
>best interfaces to PGP available today.  They are written with the
>tools available, whether it's a Windows shell, a hacked version of
>Elm, or an Emacs Lisp package.

I don't think the packages I "denigrate" are the key to the future
widespread use of crypto. Look at the actual usage patterns.

>Netscape is not a platform.  It is a browser.  It is only useful for
>viewing content that others have created, with a user interface that
>any idiot can use.  Consequently, yes, it is very popular with the
>masses and will become more so.

This makes my point. We may dismiss the masses as not being true Unix gurus
or as being ignorant of Emacs, but this is how crypto will become truly
ubiquitous. Not when people have to learn to compile code and create
clients, but when they can send encrypted messages easily and

That Qualcomm (Eudora), Netscape, Frontier, Microsoft, Lotus, and others
are working on an interoperable "Secure/MIME" should be encouraging.

>end, but for which none has been written?  If it is ever feasible to
>do what you suggest, someone will do it; your musings will have no
>effect on that.  If you want to make a difference, try writing some
>code yourself...

Please, your insulting tone ("your musings," "try writing some code..") is
uncalled for. You have your views, I have mine.

From the large number of messages in this thread, apparently my points
struck a chord. Like it or not, huge numbers of users are using Netscape
and similar browsers. This is the basic reality. This is where the bulk of
crypto users are going to be, not compiling ftp-gotten PGP into their Emacs

--Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@sensemedia.net   | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-728-0152           | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Corralitos, CA         | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."