W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > September 2011

Re: Amazon Silk

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2011 17:18:58 -0500
To: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>
Cc: <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <3f5311ede76df103a4d0d2c5c8ba5565@mail.mxes.net>
On Thu, 29 Sep 2011 00:04:22 +0200, Robin Berjon wrote:

> I would shy away from that comparison though. For starters, you can't
> quite leave North Korea as you can leave Amazon. But perhaps more to
> the point, the side-effects of such technologies are not necessarily
> the ones that one would expect if following the overly simplistic
> assumption that if it can go bad it will. I think that Opera Mini's
> usage statistics tell an interesting story about censorship
> circumvention for instance.
> That is not to say that we should be rosy eyed and naïve, simply that
> such analogies can only lead to caricatural conclusions in a complex 
> —
> and increasingly so — mesh of a situation. Rather, we need to find a
> way to implement checks and balances.

Agreed, but it's devaluing the Web, and that makes me cranky.

>> I will reiterate (for the nth time) that it would be valuable for 
>> the W3C to specify what a "browser" is, in the sense of what 
>> protocols, formats and standards it supports and uses when you feed it 
>> a URL. Then it could point a finger at Amazon and say "that's not a 
>> browser, and it's bad because..."
> And what force would that carry? There is no definition that would
> carry the force of "you should not do X because it is contrary to
> human dignity". Any definition of a browser would necessarily be
> highly convoluted, biased, probably wrong, extremely debatable, and
> impenetrable to most. Even if you did reach consensus on a 
> definition,
> you could wag your finger all day long and no one will care. From 
> what
> I can tell, for all intents and purposes, Silk is a browser. I can
> browser the Web with it. It works. That it happens on my machine or 
> on
> some kind of weird clustering technology that I don't understand is
> hardly part of the picture.

In an alternate Universe, the W3C would have more control over the 
brand that is "the Web" (e.g., with a certification program, which is a 
notoriously difficult place for a standards body to go). I'm not sure if 
it would be a better or worse universe.


Mark Nottingham
Received on Wednesday, 28 September 2011 22:19:21 UTC

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