Re: Critical Optimism in Pessimistic Times

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Sat, 24 Jan 1998 15:58:13 -0800 (PST)

> And if we should be worries about this ominous menace, what can we as
> critical optimist do about it?

How about learning enough basic facts about the structure and
history if the net to understand why the possibility you raise
is utterly ridiculous? The way the net is built makes it not
only unfeasible but technically impossible for anyone to have
any overall control of the technologies used; in fact, diversity
is a well-known security blanket. Every node on the net--which
connects to any number of other nodes any way it wants to, using
any software that follows the standards, has 100% control of its
own little piece of the net like a good decentralized system
should, and they all know that being different from your neighbor
is a good way to ensure the robustness of the system from
attack. So the more homogenized the system becomes, the greater
the value of something different becomes solely for that fact
alone. Also, since the net--even a 100% Microsoft net--is used
for sending big chunks of bytes to anyone who wants them, those
chunks of bytes can be competing software that finds it easier
and easier to compete as the network improves.

Anyone who thinks Microsoft is a threat to the net is as far
from reality as someone who thinks throwing away an aluminum can
is a threat to the planet.