1997-07-18 - Will Monolithic Apps Dominate?

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: cypherpunks@Algebra.COM
Message Hash: f8217e547732634e692b48940ded540248780c7593f1e8e642b9dd894ff5e12a
Message ID: <v03102807aff555424d99@[]>
Reply To: <Pine.WNT.3.96.970718103337.96A-100000@jadams.seahawk.navy.mil>
UTC Datetime: 1997-07-18 17:36:49 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 01:36:49 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 01:36:49 +0800
To: cypherpunks@Algebra.COM
Subject: Will Monolithic Apps Dominate?
In-Reply-To: <Pine.WNT.3.96.970718103337.96A-100000@jadams.seahawk.navy.mil>
Message-ID: <v03102807aff555424d99@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 9:42 AM -0700 7/18/97, Jim Burnes wrote:

>I've always been an admirer of the HotJava concept, if not the
>execution.  In other words, a dynamically modifiable browser that
>"learns" how to handle new objects on-the-fly.  When I first read
>Gosling's white paper on Java this was the biggest "ahaa!"
>I had.  I believe there is a version that uses Python instead of

For a short while after getting my first real Web access, after many years
of shell accounts at Portal, Netcom, etc., I thought Netscape (OK,
"Navigator") would be my Swiss Army Knife of apps. The One True Web App.

As it turned out, I continued using Eudora Pro for e-mail. I'd been using
it since 1992, and it had evolved along with other tools and remained
better than what Netscape had included in Navigator. At least to me it was

And I adopted Newswatcher, a Mac app, for my newsreader.

So all I use Navigator for is Web browsing. Sadly, Navigator 3.0 just about
tripled in footprint, from about 5 MB to about 14 MB (for a relatively
crash-free setup, though it still crashes with "Type 11" memory errors a
couple of times a day). As I can't see any particular advantages to Version
3 over Version 2, except for "dancing Java images," :-{, I'm seriously
considering abandoning 3 and going back to 2.

I'm not at all convinced that monolithic apps like this will do well. A
cluster of smaller apps, provided they have relatively consistent
look-and-feel, as they mostly do, will probably do better for many of us.
Smaller, nimbler apps are harder for government forces to regulate,
influence, and limit.

What does this mean for crypto, certificates, etc.? It means that what
Netscape, Microsoft, and other monolithic app suppliers don't hold all the
cards. What the government forces/cajoles NS and MS to do with
certificates, crypto, Web ratings, could end up helping more users decide
to defect from the monolithic apps to smaller,less constraining apps.

Maybe this is part of why Netscape's stock price is continuing its long
downward slide....

Note to NS and MS employees reading this: If your products become
associated with Big Brother, a lot of people will shun them even further.

(Sidenote: I don't follow the "certificates" debate very closely. What I
think, however, is that I will not be constrained at all in communicating
with my offshore friends securely, regardless of what the government does
with export laws and GAK. Unless they outlaw domestic unescrowed crypto, or
illegalize the communications across U.S. borders with unescrowed crypto,
which seems ipso facto a violation of the First Amendment.)

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."