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How to fork the web?

Let's assume someone, for some reason, would like to fork the web.
The question would one proceed?
How many scenarios, at different levels there are?

Let's assume one keeps the same *physical network.

Could one keep tcp/ip?
Would one need to set up another DNS system?
Could one keep HTTP?

What else would need to be considered?


Second, slightly different question:

Let's assume someone succesfully forked the web.
And let's assume that person wants to control, strictly, what happens in that new web.
When I write this, please do not think I'm talking about speech censorship, or anything like that. Instead, what I mean is something like: In which ways could certain standards be *enforced*?

In case you wonder, the question has deep roots. For example, in today's web, nobody rules. Nobody can enforce anything.
For instance, W3C (and other standards bodies), can output as many standards as they like, but if Microsoft has 90% of the market, and says "No", it means no. Period.
And this means no effective standards, no interoperability, etc etc. In short, chaos.
So...could a spanking brand new web *enforce* rules?


The questions are not your typical questions. And they might be a bit off-topic (Joel?)
But the one thing I hope, is that might be interesting. Rich.

Thanks in advance,
Fernando Franco
Fernando Franco Send private email
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
You'd have to have control all communications between endpoints on the new web. So you have to control all of the physical routers if you want to do it at the transport layer. This is only feasible on your own private property unless you lobby the government to replace all of the Internet routers.

The other option is to create a new application layer that rides on top of the existing Internet and possibly even tunnels through HTTP proxies. But then you need to have servers running all over the place to make it useable, or do something like Bit-torrent...but someone will eventually crack your protocol and be able to get around enforcement.

I think that you'd literally have to have control of every endpoint in the whole system to really make it work though.
Wayne B
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I though we called it Compuserve.

It was very good in it's day - we had email (with attachments) and could support our customers via that route long before the Internet became generally available.

Microsoft (among many others) used to run "forums" on Compuservs and real genuine OS and language developers used to respond to issues raised there.

It even had it's own version of porn as I recall - pretty tame compared to todays www - all rather amateur perhaps.
Mike Griffiths Send private email
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Sounds like an Intranet/Extranet to me.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I imagine that the worst thing that can happen is turning the web in an oligarchy.

Today, it is a democracy with few bullies. Standards are proposed, by w3c or others, and they live or die upon users' and developers' acceptance. Microsoft in the past decade "bullied" by offering a good browser for free, Netscape did the same before etc.

Only a big players agreement can fork the web, by a network of "forked web" sites, making hight traffic sites comply, enforcing the new standards by brute force diffusion and financial power.

Anyway, can you figure MS, Oracle, Google, Yahoo, Adobe, IBM ALL agree on standards?
Sevenoaks Send private email
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Not sure exactly what you mean? I mean there's thousands or millions of virtual private networks already. Are you talking about another universal public network that anyone can use?  Then I think that would quickly end up exactly like the current one.
Mike S. Send private email
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Oh I was only thinking about enforcement in the technical sense, but yes with lots of money you can sue anyone into submission.
Wayne B
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The web a democracy?  I'd call it anarchy.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The web has already been forked.  Many times, in fact.

Turns out, due to Metcalfe's Law, the "real" web is orders of magnitude more interesting, and hence more popular, than any carefully-constructed utopic walled garden.
Alyosha` Send private email
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
It was tried. It was called Hyper-G. It was a new way of dealing with hypertext documents and allowed you to access those old www pages. In a similar way with the browers wars it main promblem was poor uptake of the hyper-g client - although it did have other issues.

The art below has some of benfits of it:

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Not controlled?? What silliness, of course it's controlled... by the RFC documents that define the protocols. For example, if you write a server that uses your own variation of TCP, how many other servers can your server talk to? If you use your own variation of HTTP, can many clients can your server talk to? How many people/organisations will switch to using your protocols?

Yes, there will be variations at the higher levels and rightly so, we're seeing new uses of old technology, but the infrastructure is set in concrete so to speak. The web we have is here to stay.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Hyper-G reminds me of the W3C "annotation server".
Christopher Wells Send private email
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Fork me?  Fork you!
The Internet
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
This was actually a concern of Tim Berners-Lee from the start.  I can't find the interview right now, but I remember reading him wondering, what if someone is trying to do exactly the same thing I'm trying to do, and I just don't know about it?  How could I make sure my transport protocol and markup language will be compatible with this other system?  HTTP and HTML were designed from the start to "play well with others."
Flow Send private email
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

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