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[ih] FTP Design

On 7/3/2012 9:07 AM, Noel Chiappa wrote:
>  I look back on all the
> work on Archie, Gopher, WAIS, etc, etc and think 'Goodness gracious, how was
> it not obvious to us that we needed the WWW (with explicit links in
> documentation)?'

Some work invents components.  Some invents systems that integrate 
components.  Unix and the WWW are prime examples of the latter.  I 
believe the only component innovation the original Unix guys claimed was 

In both categories, a major success often comes after some history of 
previous efforts -- usually by others -- and often in reaction to it.

For example, I had always thought that Ray Tomlinson's email host 
interconnection effort was a relatively random hack.  A clever idea that 
he had spontaneously.  But one of the major bits of insight added as a 
result of the recent email history brouhaha was having him confirm that 
he was reacting to an Arpanet group effort that was going in a different 
-- and more complex and less integrated -- direction.

Similarly, Unix was a reaction to the more complex Multics effort.

At this point, I think that any focus on a breakthrough needs to be 
conducted in the context of the historical arc that includes it.

NLS, anonymous ftp, gopher were the essential operational arc that 
eventually produced the Web, I believe.  Berners-Lee got the balance of 
expressive power and ease-of-use exactly right, and he deserves every 
credit for doing that.  But there was a flurry of activity in that space 
at the time and if he hadn't figured out the balance, someone else would 

  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking