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>I'm surprised that no-one has written software (and a protocol) for the
>internet which would work like Compuserve's Compuserve Information Manager
>(or AOL's software). I.e., software on an Internet unix host that is
>designed to communicate with both:
>- Mac and Windows clients (GUI software) over dialup
>        - using a protocol written for that purpose
>- unix internet clients on the host
>
 
They have.  It is called "XWindows".
 
 
>The Mac/Windows client software would translate the Mac/Windows commands
>into the dialup protocol - and vice/versa. The software on the host would
>translate the dialup protocol into unix - and vice versa.
>
 
There are clients available for both platforms which do these things.  In
fact there are many different ones for each machine.
 
Mac:  TurboGopher, HytelNet, Fetch, XferIt, MacWAIS, HyperWais, FTPd
 
Windows:  Cello, ?????
 
AOL, et. al., have control of both ends.  Especially, they control the
ONE host system that all their customers talk to.  No one person or
organization has control of either end on the InterNet.  The people who
wrote Gopher did their thing.
The people who wrote WAIS did theirs.  Likewise for Archie and LISTSERV.
telnet and ftp pre-date all of 'em.  It is non-trivial to get out there and
talk to any host in any of the various protocols, never mind making it
transparent to the user.  What's more, AOL includes all kinds of stuff
besides the program:  icons, tools, windows, etc.  on your local hard
drive.  Their host knows all that stuff is there.  This allows them to
greatly reduce the amount of network traffic.  The host doesn't have to
keep track of where the mouse pointer is.  Your machine does that.  It is
just a whole different environment because they have total control of it.
Stuff done for the InterNet has to be much more flexible and open to deal
with contingencies that AOL can eliminate by fiat.  A similar situation
exists in e-mail addressing.  Look at how simple the problem is for
QuickMail or CC-Mail or Microsoft Mail or whoever, compared to the stuff
'sendmail' has to deal with.
 
>The main difference from the users' point of view is that when they wanted
>to access Internet services they could use all the GUI features they were
>just using to create a brochure or a desktop presentation or whatever. (All
>except the drawing/painting and audio tools, that is.) They could write and
>edit text without learning new editing commands. They could navigate
>through directories on Internet gopher servers just as if they were
>directories on their hard disk.
>
There are individual tools that do this.  On the Mac:  Eudora for mail,
TurboGopher for gopher servers.
 
>Point and click. Drag. Double-click. Pull-down menus. Copy and paste.
>
>No more pretending to be a terminal.
>
Yup.  You got it.
 
>I don't see why using the internet - without slip/ppp - couldn't be made as
>easy to use as AOL or Compuserve. Maybe FirstClass with the planned
>internet gateways will be the answer.
 
When I talked to Maury in Ottawa, I had the impression they are doing  a
"gateway",
not a generalized user interface.  AOL has
announced, this week, that they intend to do this under their system.  It
remains to be seen what kind of job they are able to do.  I look forward to
it if they can pull it off.
 
>Except that there are so many unix
>internet systems already installed.
 
Exactly.  That's why the local system has to do the work.  As far as most
of the InterNet servers are concerned, they are talking to a VT100
terminal!
---
James A. (Jim) Hart              Internet: [log in to unmask]
Dept. of Education                   uucp: uunet!bates!aubsch!jimh
23 High St.                           AOL: JAHart
Auburn, Maine  04212-0800           phone: 207-784-6431
USA                                   FAX: 207-784-2969
"The credit belongs to the (person) who is actually in the arena; ... so
that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know
neither defeat nor victory."  Theodore Roosevelt