View source

View source

One reason I found the Internet so exciting when it first approached me to give a job, was its collaborative nature.

I mean, it wasn’t a case of hey let’s agree to work together. It was more let’s make a new thing that can’t exist unless we all work together. The exchange of human-readable data on a network was new to me. Until then, everything I had come across was both proprietary and binary (well, not exactly, as I was on Decnet in the early eighties, which I guess was largely proprietory but academic-fuelled and not entirely binary). Essentially, there was no looking at the source of something you found useful, exciting or interesting.

Part of this new “view source” culture was the way the servers on the Internet were open. SMTP servers were open relays for mail messages, freely forwarding mail, news servers (NNTP), name servers (DNS) twenty flavours of authentication or directory servers were often freely usable and accessible. The idea was simple–we all give a little and get a lot back.

So why the nostalgia whinge? I do understand the cost of delivering billions of naked ladies to Thirteen-year-old boys the world over made the NNTP servers restrict service and of course the Viagra-peddling scum forced the closing of the open SMTP relay, it’s just that I’ve had a frustrating week trying to configure various networks (with unusual requirements) and have come across some seriously uncollaborative behaviour.

  • From Tuesday 24th August 2004 Demon's customer cacheing DNS servers ( and .58) will no longer respond to queries unless they come from a Demon Customer IP address
  • BT ADLS service does not include an SMTP server -- This is just amazing, you can connect to the BT network via a BT phone line, using a BT broadband userid and password, but they still refuse to authenticate you if your email address isn't a BT address. I can't see how this is even legal. I spent an hour on the phone bollocking them but to no avail. I mean, you're hardware-authenticated because of the ADSL line, you could then be software-authenticated by the mail server--hell I even offered to do it over SSL but no, this is one baby BT wants thrown out with the bath water. They are essentially forcing the punter who may not be aware of available premium-rate SMTP relaying services to switch their business to BT:-(
  • I would of course never dream of putting Technorati Totty Emperatrix Katerina Fake in a list about non-collaborative Internet practices, but I will include her here as a note on her site adds to these particlar blues:
    Sad, but true. All my archives from 1999-2004, prior to when I turned off comments in July 2004, have been taken offline so I don't have to spend hours clearing out comment spam with horrifying subject matter. I'm sorry.
  • Finally, in the spirit of the age, Google is spending money fighting click fraud -- Gosh, a whole new angle to white-collar crime.