If you were building a new internet and starting from scratch, what would you do differently? Well, you might take into account some of the problems we have today (mainly security and spam) and see about setting things up in a way to protect against them. Ray Ozzie, the well-known creator of Lotus Notes, and now Groove, has his own ideas on what's wrong with the internet and how it should be rebuilt. However, he's taking a much better strategy than suggesting we rebuild from the ground up. I always get worried when people want to rebuild something that is "good enough" for most people - but Ozzie realizes the impracticality of this, and is, instead, looking to build the changes he envisions into a middleware layer and eventually into the operating system. If his vision is correct, and people will gravitate towards his way of doing things, then the changes will happen without disrupting the internet that's already here. I agree with a lot of the points he makes about how things could be better - but I also know how difficult it is to get people to change their ways. Many people are used to dealing with the internet as it is. Switching needs to be seamless - such that people barely realize they're doing things differently. This is the problem I've seen in most "collaboration" software (currently being overhyped as "social software"). While the ideas are good, they require people to change the way they think about things - and people are notoriously resistant to changing the way they think. Despite it's faults, email works because it's simple and people understand it. Build too much around it, and people ignore those other features, and go back to just using it as email (and wondering what was wrong with what they were doing before). I think Ozzie knows this, and is trying to design around this - and doing his best to make his ideas seem natural. I haven't played around with Groove since its initial beta version quite some time ago, so I have no idea how well he's already implemented some of these ideas.
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