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How the Internet Became a Closed Shop 206

AcidAUS sends this quote from the Sydney Morning Herald: "A little over a decade ago, just before the masses discovered the digital universe, the internet was a borderless new frontier: a terra nullius to be populated by individuals, groups and programmers as they saw fit. There were few rules and no boundaries. Freedom and open standards, sharing information for the greater good was the ethos. Today, the open internet we once knew is fracturing into a series of gated communities or fiefdoms controlled by giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and to a lesser extent Microsoft. A billion-dollar battle conducted in walled cities where companies try to lock our consumption into their vision of the internet. It has left some lamenting the 'web we lost.'"
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How the Internet Became a Closed Shop

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  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) * on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:39PM (#42365547) Homepage
    The Sydney Morning Herald article may have been sparked by Anil Dash's recent Blog Post - The Web We Lost [dashes.com] ... which was discussed on /. last week. [slashdot.org]

    Anil also wrote a followup titled "Rebuilding the Web We Lost" [dashes.com] that may be worth reading.

    Speaking of the "lost web", we no longer see as many offbeat websites like this one ... HO-HO-HO! ;-) [komar.org]
  • Re:yeah yeah (Score:5, Informative)

    by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @08:10PM (#42365811)
    Ecclesiastes 7:10 Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.
  • Re:LOL (Score:1, Informative)

    by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @08:28PM (#42365945)

    Believe it or not, there was internet prior to AOL and Compuserve,

    Yeah, and? That wasn't the period this guy was having nostalgia for.

    and I don't recall Compuserver offering internet connectivity.

    Than that's your own bad memory at work. [wikipedia.org]

    AOL wasn't an ISP as we think of them today.

    Irrelevant since neither Facebook, Apple, etc. are ISPs either.

    They, like Compuserve, were nothing more than a massive bulletin board community which just happened to offer a portal to the internet in their latter years.

    Yes, I know what they were and they were offering Internet connectivity long before their "latter years".

    It started off with Usenet access, and I do remember the shitstorm when AOL opened those floodgates. What a sad time that was. That, IMHO, is where the old, free internet started to die.

    And that is a completely different period to the one this article was talking about since the article specifically says "A little over a decade ago". Compuserve was offering Internet connectivity in 1989 and AOL in around 1991 so that's going on nearly 25 years ago. The author was not talking about the Usenet days.

    As soon as the masses started flowing in, the corporations followed and started herding them into fenced in pastures ready to start plucking money out of their pockets.

    Yes, and that was my point. The period he was trying to claim was full of open standards and free flow of information was nothing like that. The author is full of shit.

  • by oogoliegoogolie ( 635356 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:50PM (#42366427)

    ....it was certainly much more fun, innovative, imaginative, and technological advances were made in leaps and bounds back then. The internet is far more useful nowadays, but it's like the magic and excitement is gone. It's become toned-down, it's become a utility,and utilities are boring.

    Remember when:
    -the first time you heard about a new application called RealAudio that would allow you to stream audio from a remote server, even over a dialup connection? No more waiting to download the entire clip. This new streaming thing was frikking amazing!
    -the first time you went to 'The William Shatner sing-along page'?
    -you heard about an audio file format called mp3 that could hold an entire song in in a few MB's instead of a few dozen? 3MB per file vs 20 or 30MB and still have the same quality! That was amazing!
    -WinNuke was the worst thing someone could do to your computer, and you weren't sent to jail for using it. There was no constant threat about getting malware, trojans, or viruses from websites.
    -Doubleclick did not exist? Sites did not collect and retain and sell your browsing habits.
    -the term 'hacker' did not hold any negative connotation?
    -Flash sites were new, amazing, and didn't use 100% of your CPU?
    -chat rooms and web forums were TROLL-FREE? People were actually nice and considerate to each other!
    -one of the first online multiplayer game you played was Descent thru KALI?
    -you could actually get a refund for software?
    -you regularly browsed Rotten.com?

  • by manwargi ( 1361031 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @11:34PM (#42366851)

    Remember when:
    -chat rooms and web forums were TROLL-FREE? People were actually nice and considerate to each other!

    Nope, I can't either.

  • by greyc ( 709363 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @08:27AM (#42368383)

    Perfectly wrong. Not only do you not need a google account, you also don't need any of their software that hasn't been released as Open Source.

    Start by installing CyanogenMod [cyanogenmod.org]. This will give you a fully functional base system, without any google applications. You do get a fully functional web browser, which still puts you well ahead of feature phones; no appstore, though. To fix that part, you can then add F-Droid [f-droid.org], an alternative Android appstore focused on free software programs, given you a convenient way to install various mapping applications, more web browsers, pdf readers, games, or what-have-you.
    The selection isn't anything close to what you get on Google Play, of course. So there's a price.
    But you can do it. And you do end up with something that's still a lot more useful than a feature phone.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama