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Re: WWW vs. Internet

From: Etan Wexler <ewexler@stickdog.com>
Date: Sun, 08 Jun 2003 16:46:33 -0700
To: www-talk <www-talk@w3.org>
Message-id: <BB0918CA.14DB%ewexler@stickdog.com>

Nigel Peck ("Nigel Peck - MIS Web Design") wrote to
<mailto:www-style@w3.org> on 2 June 2003 in "RE: WWW vs. Internet"
(<mid:BFECLKEDIHDIPFDEBCFNKEGJELAA.nigel@miswebdesign.com>):

>> Are the terms "World Wide Web" and "Internet" now synonymous?
> 
> No not at all. The web is only 1 (or 2) of the tens of thousands of services
> being run on the Internet.

I strongly disagree. The heart of the World Wide Web is URIs. Given the
dozens of URI schemes in existence and the millions of URIs coined, the Web
is far more than two services on the Internet.

Consider the URI schemes "ftp", "news", "mailto", "pop", "imap", and
"telnet". These schemes depend on the Internet but have little to do with
HTTP. Are the related resources and services part of the Web? I would say
yes.

Consider the URI schemes "tel", "fax", and "modem". These depend on networks
other than the Internet. Are the related resources and services part of the
Web? I would say yes.

Consider the URI scheme "urn". Namespaces registered for it have been used
to idenitfy such non-network resources as books ("ISBN") and people ("PIN").
Are those resources part of the Web? I would say yes.

> World Wide Web - The network of http (and https) servers running on the
> "Internet".

Even if the Web were just HTTP (and it isn't), this definition fails to
account for HTTP clients. Those clients are part of the Web, yes?

> Internet - The world wide TCP/IP based network and all the tens of thousands
> of services being run across it.

This definition fails to account for UDP. Surely UDP and the services that
it supports (TFTP and NFS, among others) are part of the Internet.

> Many people think of them as being synonymous. But those people will not be
> found on this list :)

Well, I was hoping for the emergence of what I call useful lies, but the
definitions so far are too misleading to qualify. I think that a rigorous
definition of the World Wide Web is too complex and exhausting to use in
introductory material or in conversation. I would like a simple definition
that omits the bulk of details, is almost correct about the parts that it
does mention, and is comprehensible to people with light experience in high
technology.

[*] No proper references. Just RTFM.

-- 
Etan Wexler <mailto:ewexler@stickdog.com>
Received on Sunday, 8 June 2003 19:46:50 GMT

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