[opendtv] Re: Another point of view on walled gardens

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 17:21:00 -0600

John Shutt wrote:

> CompuServe was a well established business serving tens of
> thousands of subscribers by 1985.  AOL was created in 1989.
>  The first Mosaic browser wasn't released until 1993.
> Chicken, meet egg.  CompuServe and AOL predate what we now
> know today as the Worldwide Web, and in the case of
> CompuServe, by over a decade.  By extension, eCommerce began
> well before the Worldwide Web began, and it began on those
> "walled gardens" AOL and CompuServe, before there was
> anything to be walled against.

First, let me acknowledge that Craig is right -- we are bypassing the main 
points the article was making.

There were other services that provided e-mail, computing, etc., much before 
that, John. I used one in school first, then also at work, called Dialcom 
(using x.25). At work we had other systems too, one being a Data General 
corporate system.

In 1991, I got one of the first .com accounts on the Internet through a 
cumbersome IBM mainframe in California. (SNA to the IBM mainframe, IIRC, then 
IP over the Internet.) All text based, and completely unwalled Internet access 
(including Gopher). So there were other ways to get out there than walled 

But again, the article talks about the WWW specifically. And by the time the 
WWW started, there were ways of accessing it that were non-proprietary. There 
was even a text-only browser, but I forget the name. It was good for slower PCs.

Since I felt exactly the same about Internet access as I do about TV access, I 
stayed away from any walled garden version of "Internet." Because it was, to 
me, a contradiction in terms. So that's why when they described the WWW as 
being AOL and Compuserve, I couldn't help but choke. Those were aberrations of 
a really nice system.

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