Subject: Re: FSBs and client-server
From: Frank Hecker <>
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 23:45:32 -0400

Kragen Sitaker wrote:
> My semi-coherent rant on this topic is at

Nice rant. I think you could have fruitfully extended your discussion to
encompass at least two additional points; I don't think your example of
the phone book (information on locally-accessible CD vs. information
accessible from a web server) captures all of reality as we know it.

First, it's not just an issue of "universal" information like the phone
book. Just as big a problem is the issue of storing user-specific
information remotely; that's where the real possibilities for lock-in
exist, if there are relatively high switching costs to move from one
service to another. (Assuming an equivalent service even exists, which
may not be the case if the access protocols are proprietary and are tied
to a proprietary client.)

Second, the attempt to have information (including "software as
information") reside as much as possible under your control is doomed to
failure. There are more and more services which by their nature cannot
be "put in a box"; they exist "out there" and you have to go to them.
(In fact, I would claim that almost all interesting services are of this
type.) The most you can hope for is that the protocols by which you
access the services are nonproprietary, so that in theory you can have a
choice of client software and service providers.

Frank Hecker            work:        home: