It seems to me highly desirable to split up the internet as is in a
commercial net and a public net, with the commercial players, the advertisers,
the commercial-Flash-on-you-pukers, and indeed also all that is commercial and
more or less decent and justified, from banking to plumbing, on one net, and
non-commercial content, varying from private persons websites, to
schools and universities, the Wikipedia and much other educational matter
(Stanford Encyclopedia, Victorian Net, Perseus, you name it...), on another
In fact, the split between commercial and non-commercial can be drawn quite
easily, while allowing for overlaps: It is mostly that between open en hidden
source and apart from that depends on whether makers of web-content want to
cash in on advertisments and/or have web-pages in order to support a
Next, the technological change should be easy and small, in principle, for
it is a matter of server and storage capacity and processor speeds: All that
seems really required is, next to a WWW a WCW, say: A Worldwide Commercial
Web, all run on the same known principles as the WWW, with the same protocols
a.s.o., except that on that WCW the user knows that the content is commercial
and meant to be commercial, and indeed may very well be hidden source.
Since the server and storage capacities these days are great, as are the
processor speeds, it seems this is technically quite feasible - and indeed in
the interest of virtually all private persons, while also giving in principle
new possibilities, on that WCW, to use all manner of hidden source pimped
software to make it better looking and produce even livelier ads for the
Besides, such a WCW serves a legitimate purpose: It is like a computerized
set of Yellow Pages in the phonebooks of yore (just as the ordinary phonebook
lists mostly private persons, and without ads).
And here are three final arguments:
First - it is and ought to be public and open:
the internet has grown out of the efforts of private persons and people
working at universities, and indeed out of what was from the beginning open
source - Microsoft jumped in only for the money, and since then attempted to
redesign it for its own needs.
Second - it makes solid sense:, the split I
advocate - into a WWW and a WCW, to reduce it to acronyms - corresponds quite
closely to a manifold split of the following kind
open source - hidden source
personal - commercial
educational - profit-oriented
individual - organizational
Third - it may save the public media: Seeing what is
happening to the classical papers (getting extinct fast, to be replaced by
Foxnews and the like, at least for the masses) and
to the media (mostly moronified to please the masses of pinheads and the few
relative smart-alecks who live off these pinheads), this could be an excellent
means to regain something like the classic media, but on the net:
Make the media - in part, for there is also place for commercial
media, but I am talking in fact of the major public benefits of real
quality papers, produced by highly competent and trained journalists,
preferably with a university education - into educational institutions,
somewhat like universities are (in Europe), that is, mostly funded by public
money and on a BBC-model.
Note that here too I am talking about known models, while I am not
proposing anything requiring much innovation or investigation:
The BBC works and produces the best journalism to be had, without ads, and
without state censorhip, so this ought to be possible as well for quality
papers, on the same principles, largely for the same reasons also, except that
computing, the commercialization of the internet, and the imminent collapse of
quality journalism, have made this both more urgent and more easily possible.
Indeed, one may well combine such new quality media on the net with
universities or polytechnics, whether special or part of the old universities,
and make these into professional Media-Labs, as it were, working for the
public, funded by public money, part of the educational institutions, and with
their own (almost) ready-made schools for internet journalism there.
This seems to me the best way to go, to preserve the quality media, albeit
in a new form; to give the internet back to the public, who created it in the
first place; and to clearly separate what is commercial from what is not, and
should not have to compete with, crowded out, or suffocated by, commercial
players with private ends and megabucks of money.
And I know the above is a brief argument, that may be butressed and
countered in quite a few ways, but it seems to me the only way I know
of to keep the internet public, educational, open source and for and by
private individuals, and also to retain quality journalism and quality
media in the interest of all.
This is all mostly as it stands in
BitsAndPieces of today,
and all I add here for the moment are these three points (that I am not
going to discuss seriously with anyone who is ignorant about programming):
- What I propose is (1) technologically quite easily feasible
and (2) only involves proven technologies (of the internet,
of quality papers, of the BBC).
- It serves at least two obvious pressing needs that also are in
anybody's interest who wants to live in an open society: (1) a
free open source non-commercial(ized) internet and (2) good,
reliable extensive public media.
- Anybody who is against this proposal (and can't refute it on
technical grounds) very much more probably than not has a commercial or
political interest for being against it.