Update: My apologies to Tim Wu who was the actual author of this piece as a guest blogger on Profressor Lessig’s blog. Had I known that this was a possibility (guest blogger on Professor Lessig’s blog) I would have thought to look at the bottom part of the entry which, now that I have, in fact does state “Tim Wu” as the author. In the future, I will be sure to look at this section to make sure I don’t make this same mistake twice.
My apologies to Tim and to Professor Lessig for my careless mistake.
That said, this doesn’t make the content of this follow-up commentary any less important or valid (or invalid, depending upon your opinion), however, the credit for authorship and for provoking the inner-thought that brought about the desire to write this follow-up in the first place needs to be applied to Tim Wu.
Lawrence LessigTim Wu
Consider the comparison: a SoHo building can begin life as a factory, become an artist’s loft, then a boutique, then a condo, and so on. Some of the networks and even applications have led constantly evolving lives. The internet supported usenet, gopher, veronica, the web, ICQ, IM and so on, in a steady kind of evolution that was unpredictable in advance. The WWW itself has shuffled through static sites, through “home pages” of the Geocities era, through the rise of the search engine, through the blog, and through 2.0-style sites. Someone, maybe Danah Boyd, should write “The Death and Life of Great American Applications.”
If there is one thing I absolutely LOVE about the WorldWideWeb, its the fact that the ability to share knowledge quickly and easily runs rampant, and is completely disorganized in and of itself. In other words: As
Professor LessigTim Wu points out in the above linked entry:
… in a steady kind of evolution that was unpredictable in advance.
If Tim Berners-Lee had attempted to force the WWW one way or another, would we be where we are today?
For example: A while back I wrote an entry to my personal blog that pointed to a blog entry from Tim Berners-Lee in which highlighted the fact that the web was designed as read/write  from the beginning…
But thats not how it played out. It’s only now, 15 years or so after the fact, that we are realizing his original vision.
So again, if Tim Berners-Lee had attempted to force upon the early web adopters the notion that the web had to be read/write from the beginning, would the web be where it is today? Would it be here at all?
As my attempt to Overplan & Overload the title of this piece with WAY TOO MUCH symbolism suggests:
Overplanning The Internet : Is It Time To Give IT A REST?
This is the question I pose to thee, oh dear readers of XML.com/O’ReillyNet… When do we stop trying to force things in one particular direction or another, and just let things evolve?
Or have we already?
It seems as of late, MS has been listening and adapting their product line as necessary. Is Microsoft leading or following and why?
Maybe its time we all step aside and ask ourselves some hard questions, starting with:
What are we doing this for, and why?
NOTE: By “this” I mean anything related to the development of WWW-related technologies.
I’m on my way to pick up a copy of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs [Wikipedia, Books on Amazon]. As long as I understand
Professor LessigTim Wu’s point correctly, seems like it could do me a bit of good to read from the pages of a woman who obviously understands that to plan growth goes against what real growth is all about in the first place.
I would encourage you to do the same.
 : If you have a moment, download a copy of Amaya, the W3C’s Editor/Browser… Just like TBL’s original vision, made even more obvious by this icon: