Some thoughts on the role of ISPs and network carriers

A friend mentioned in his blog an article published on Businessweek regarding the possibility of ISPs charging their subscribers ‘tolls’ for accessing online competitors’ services.

I have been lucky enough to experience the internet from its commercial beginnings. Before it, the most widespread equivalent in Hellas and other parts of the world, were BBSs, or Bulletin Board Services. There, you subscribed to one BBS provider and had access to whatever that provider offered, which was usually nothing by comparison of what is available for free today online, but also extremely limited compared to what was available online, for the cost of a single internet subscription, some years down the road.

The power of the internet lies partly in the freedom of all involved: the developers and content designers, through the use of open standards, the users, through uncensored/unrestricted, fast and cheap access. The former has started becoming reality with Internet Explorer 6 finally starting to support standards (at least partially) and Firefox becoming a decent enough browser, with enough promotion to force developers to take it into account. The latter, has always been cause of concern in many places in the world (even in the most developed parts) as the ‘market’ forces have struggled to maximise their profits without breaking the law (just bending it as much as it goes, thank you very much). A very suitable example of such a case is Hellas.



Well, here we go (again)

After about a year offline, we’re back. This time I’m planning on having some posts in Hellenic too, whenever that makes sense.

Last time I took cosmix.org down, it was mostly due to the lack of time to maintain it, and the feeling that — the only thing that did happen, blogging — was not really worth it. Since then, there have been countless occasions when I had stuff that could be published somewhere and had to resort to comments on other people’s blogs. So, I’ve decided to reinstate my blog, although this time I’ll try to resist posting the usual junk that is associated with frequent posting-for-the-sake-of-posting. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) the blog entries from the previous blogs (2001-2004) are gone.

By the way, how come {track,ping}backs are not used by the hellenic blog community? At all. Or almost at all.

Pyxis, a free NMEA GPS client for the Mac is functioning and I just need to iron out some bugs before I post a preview on this site, sometime in early 2006.

Also, check out Spinalonga Records, if you haven’t yet. Even though the genres of music they promote are not really my cup of tea, I am honoured to have been supporting them and I wholeheartedly agree with their non-for-profit support of an otherwise neglected genre by the music industry.

That’s all for now. You can now open that champagne we were talking about! :)



The EU Patents review process restarts…

Well, go there and read this. Apparently :

Brussels, 2 February 2005 – The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) has decided with a large majority to ask the Commission for a renewed referral of the software patents directive. With only two or three votes against and one abstention, the resolution had overwhelming support from the committee, and all-party backing.

The decision is a powerful statement from MEPs that the current Council text, and the logjam of concern it has caused, is simply not a sustainable way forward. It is now up to the Commission to submit a new, or the same, proposal to the Parliament. Parliament will then hold a new first reading, this time under the guidance of Michel Rocard MEP as rapporteur.

And hopefully, the new proposal will be better. It’s good to see this development. In the current social evolutionary context, patents are merely adding another level of ‘trading rules’ between multinational or otherwise huge corporations while creating barriers to entry to small, innovative teams/individuals/legal entities. I guess there’s still some way to go until free market nonsense and mega-corporate pressure manages to change this situation in the EU, and I certainly hope it doesn’t happen until society is ready to deal with it.

In the end, it is the EU’s ‘failings’ (by British standards, at least) that ’save’ the Union from becoming another socially anachronistic free market hell like the States. But, it is also the EU’s failings that keep the European states lagging behind in economic development terms. With a large chunk of Open Source development happening in Europe a lot is at stake. The ‘era’ of patents will start soon in the U.S. Let’s see where this will lead to, here in Europe.


» IBM to open 500 of their patents to the public.

IBM may not be any different to any other corporation — ironically it used to be the ‘bad guy’ 20 years ago — they announced that they will be opening 500 of their patents to the open source community, ensuring that open source developers will be free to use their technologies without paying any royalties.


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