Re: TELECOM Digest: Pat _was_ in the Hospital

Well, that is true also (about no mechanism in place to handle it);

> they did not quite know what to do with me. I was not voted 'in'; > therefore could not be voted 'out'; I was just doing my thing and > they could either read it or reject it. But there was also that > sticky problem of what to do about 'newsgroups' which were never > really part of the original Usenet News scheme to begin with, such > as telecom. [snip] > Then too, as we know there can be but one _name_ per newsgroup; they > have to be _unique_; there can be only _one_ comp.dcom.telecom and > it was (still is, perhaps?) that choice bit of real-estate which > many of them desired in 1993. Again, I am reminded of the sale of > WNIB: it was parked smack-dab in the middle of the spectrum, at 96.9 > and 97.1 FM from a time when the space was so wide open. Sonia and > Bill Florian paid _nothing_ for a license to be there, and virtually > nothing for the transmitter. When the FM band got so full and busy > in Chicago there was not a single vacancy anywhere, people were > willing to kill to get those frequency allocations. The purchasers > did not care about classical music or anything else; all they wanted > was _admission_ to the FM spectrum in a good, juicy spot. They > agreed that $165 million was a good price to pay Sonia and Bill for > 'permission to take over their spot on a crowded spectrum. Imagine > an obscene profit like that! [snip]

Pat, I'll try to put this in a good light: I think we all understand that you're anxious to see your life's work passed on to others who will respect both it and you. However, these broad hints about selling aren't going to get you anything, so I'm going to ask you to say what you want.

Now comes late 1970's and early 1980's: The newsgroup 'arpa.telecom' > did just fine. Comes the re-organizaton or 'great renaming' as it was > called in the middle 1980's, and 'arpa.telecom' became > 'comp.dcom.telecom' but since it came over from ARPA rather than being > an entirely created by Usenet thing (they merely assigned us a name is > all for technical reasons) and everyone was happy. I guess it never > occurred to folks that there might some day be a fight over the _root > itself_ and here is this dude, Townson, squatting daintily over the > root, telecom, refusing to give up his squat pot, and no legal way to > evict him. And Bill Pfieffer, in one of his communications with > me in 1996 (he passed on in 1999) was like this: "Whatever you do, > make it work right; the way this shakes out is the way things are > going to be for many, many years. You best not give up control of the > 'root' telecom. If you do, you'll never see it again."

What makes you think anyone wants to "evict" you? If I wanted to comptete with CDT, I could go to the RFC database and find out how to start a different Usenet group -- there's no reason for me or anyone else to try and pry you away from CDT, other than an understandable concern for the community that you've built and must, inevitably, depart from.

Of course, just as the internet 'fathers' never suspected back in the > 1980's nor early 90's how things would 'shake out' over the decade to > follow, neither did _I_ expect to become a decrepit, mostly feeble and > bitter old man in a decade either.

Well, you're still able to edit and write the digest, so don't cut yourself too short: I can't do anything about any bitterness you feel, except to remind you that we're all destined to meet Cerberus. As for being old, c'est la vie.

Nor did Sonia Florian come close to imagining she would walk out of > WNIB $165 million richer than she walked in. I would never even > claim to come close to _their_ stature nor anywhere close to the > stature of the men and women who have made the internet what it is > (in good times, bad times?) today. That would be the height of > dillusions of grandeur on my part if I did. But when the time comes > for a transiion here, I do want to be fair about it, and hope people > will trust me in that way. PAT]

I agree, and I applaud your desire to have an orderly transition in a fair manner that preserves both the spirit and the substance of CDT. The question, bluntly put, is whether you think C.D.T. should be sold or given away. This isn't a radio station, and the resource it depends on -- Usenet -- is NOT limited in the way the spectrum is, so you don't have any way to hold your readership or to deliver us up for sale as a commercial product.

That said, I'll also say that it's impossible to buy what your readers feel for you. Let's face it: _YOU_ *ARE* the digest. CDT isn't a collection of eyeballs that a new owner could profitably exploit: it's a group of readers loyal to you.

I think you've got to decide if you want to be paid for what you've built: if you want to sell CDT, say so, and the marketplace will educate both of us as to what your readers' loyalty is worth.

William Warren

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William Warren
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