Subject: Re: Clay Shirky on hailstorm
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 16:03:03 -0400

Tim O'Reilly wrote:
> Clay Shirky has a very interesting article on Hailstorm on,
> at
> He looks especially at how MS mixes decentralization and open access on
> the client side with strong control of third party development and user
> data. He explains how we should think of it as an
> authentication-centric, rather than hardware-centric system.

I believe that Microsoft's strategy is far more direct than
he lays out.  I would explain in detail, except that I already
said it as well as I know how at:

A point I didn't hit there is that Microsoft's white-paper for
Hailstorm has detailed proposals for having the user control the
use of data that a company can make of it.  That goal is ONLY
possible if the company is accessing the data in a proprietary
format that they can only access through proprietary Microsoft
APIs which at no point will give them free access to the data.

Read and search for
the word "control".  Each time you see that word, remind
yourself that Microsoft can only deliver that control to end
users if they retain that control themselves and then are
trusted to act as the end user's proxy.  This gives the user
the illusion of control.  However the real control remains with

> The issues that Clay talks about should be very much on the minds of
> open source and free software developers and business leaders.

I think that the twists I have on it is also relevant.

In fact I am somewhat amazed that I have not seen anyone else
noting that Microsoft's white paper repeats the word "control"
no less than 21 times.  And in every use the pattern is the
same.  Microsoft promises that users will keep a degree of
control that can only be retained if Microsoft remains in

I am eerily reminded of the following essay:

with, of course, "ownership" replaced by "control".

Need I mention that this totalitarian utopia is something that
I hope never comes to pass...?