Every now and again I get asked why did I create Nyx. Well, here's the answer...
Every public system has a philosophy behind it, I believe, so it behooves me to
up what the philosophy of Nyx is. Just in case you were wondering. :-)
I am convinced that electronic media will one day be as common as the telephone
newpaper are now. Everyone will ultimately have an e-mail address, I envision,
as well as
all people/organizations users will want to contact: Companies, government
government agencies, newspapers, etc.
Furthermore, I believe that electronic access is a *necessity*, not a luxury.
If it is
treated as a luxury, as most information providers do, then the cost will
continue to be
exorbitant; this will no doubt lead to a polarization of society into the
and poor. My vision is that everyone, financially rich or poor, should have
to electronic communication and data.
As part of the process of this happening, there will be systems along the way
define _how_ those everyday interactions will take place, how they will
what facilities will be available, how much they will cost, etc.
Now, I don't mean "character based" vs. "graphics", or
interface issues. Indeed, if I could easily provide a mouse-based
for Nyx, I would -- but I'll leave the interface issues to Prodigy and so on.
interfaces are not directly relevant to philosophy.
I'm concerned with content, user rights, and cost.
I view the Prodigy's and Compuserve's of the world as setting one kind of tone
future, and I'm not sure I like it *at all*: Prodigy is too concerned with
anyone so they censor anything remotely offensive. I believe in free speech,
anarchy of netnews, and cringe at this. I believe in letting users say what
they want and
policing themselves, rather than a central authority determining what is
what not. Much like people would treat a note posted on a cork-and-pushpin
I'm also shocked that Prodigy charges a fee for more than 30 mail messages a
Heck, I send about 30 a day! And I'd like to see that opportunity freely
available to all.
Compuserve, or shall I say, Compu$erve, charges $$$ for anything interesting,
I also have long term concerns about what new "Information
players might (try to) do to the existing net culture. For example, should a
company decide to install a proprietary connection to your house to provide
similar to internet services (e-mail, data transfer, etc.) plus services that
can't easily handle (real-time bi-directional audio+video), such a company
might not want
to do so in the style of the existing internet -- they might try to offer only
services on this link, preventing users from accessing competing services. I
doubt that if the services offered were "slick" then a large number
would use them without realizing what they're missing of current net culture.
My point is that the content of the Internet (netnews, ftp sites, etc.) is
superior to the content of any of them, and should be accessible to everyone,
in the same
manner as books are in public libraries, or TV is via public TV. Not only that,
complete freedom of speech on the net is only equal to the freedom of speech we
among close friends (much more open than TV, or newspapers, let alone Prodigy).
Hence I have created Nyx in my image of "public access
Think of it like a public park. ("Nyx, an Internet Park".)
Ultimately, I would like to see everyone with a terminal (PC, whatever) that
into the resources of the internet -- notably e-mail, news, and ftp -- for at
minimal cost (e.g., no more than a voice phone line costs for local calls;
rate). No cost, if possible.
I am against paying for services that are ordinarily free but must be purchased
done on-line. (E.g., reading books in a library, or visiting a travel agent.)
someone must pay, but I would rather see the corporate entities that benefit
services pay (e.g., the airlines) or "the public" in the form of
libraries, parks). (Regarding advertising, my position is that I would favor
types of advertising, where manufacturers accurately describe their products,
these ads should be viewed only upon request by users.)
Additionally, I view Nyx as proof that such an operation can be run on a
budget. Nyx really has no budget. I volunteer my time to run Nyx. Yes, there are
electricity and phone bills, but they aren't much. Consider Compuserve raking
in $6/hr (as
of 12/91) per user -- ouch! If Nyx charged that much, and kept the same usage
(doubtful of course), we'd probably make about $1M a year. Yet our actual costs
like $1000 a year (estimated)! (Not to mention that at $6/hr I'd be a very poor
considering how much I'm logged in!) We also do well with donations, like
(Though I doubt a world-wide network could survive that way; that would be like
taxes, and I *know* that would fail!)
I am also put off by various corporations establishing their electronic customer
support exclusively via commercial systems (e.g., Compuserve and Borland). This
necessitates that a user pay somone like Compuserve to get customer support.
wrong. (If it's a user error, I can understand paying; but, e.g., I tried to
demonstrable compiler error with Borland, and was basically told to jump in a
lake -- at
my expense. There is something wrong with that picture!) Hayes, the modem
folks, on the
other hand, have an invaluable resource via the net, namely a fellow who
answers mail via
internet. Just a couple examples of the extremes.
Further, I view Nyx as an example of the public TV of the computing world:
voluntary donations, providing quality services, and on a minimal budget.
Mostly, though, I want to bring "the net" to "the public".
forward to the day when users will be able to send e-mail to just about anyone,
company, or any government official or agency, and not debate whether it's
worth the cost.
When that day arrives, I hope it looks (and costs) more like Nyx than Prodigy.
way that can happen is if the users demand that it look this way, which means
exist now, and continue to thrive, proving that it can work.
Golden, CO 80402
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Latest modified: 2013.03.27 Casper Maarbjerg