Focus: The Internet
The Internet is taking over our lives—talk about world domination; it has won. Advertisements on TV, billboards, essentially anywhere, all carry the familiar www.dot.com. It has become de rigueur for a business to have its own web site. And customers are finding these sites and using them. I buy DVDs, flowers and cards on the Internet; a co-worker buys her groceries there; another does all his gift shopping. The day may come when department and grocery stores are no longer needed, and it might not be very far off.
Statistics show that maybe 30% of U.S. households have computers with access to the Net. This is going to go up rapidly in the next few years as Internet appliances—computers for the computer-illiterate—come to the market. These book-size computers will offer Internet connectivity, and not much more. They will be as easy to use as a VCR. People who never thought about buying a computer before will buy one to find out why everyone is talking about and using the Web. Then they will be hooked too—just like the rest of us.
A company that is betting on this is OE/ONE, and I talked to Mr. Eid Eid about his new start-up and the innovative software they are building for this potentially lucrative appliance market. Mr. Eid is a very personable and forward-thinking man with some interesting ideas about how the Internet will be used in the future.
Quality of Service support in the kernel has created a new controversy for our community. ISPs now have a way to control traffic so that those who pay more can have priority over those who don't, getting faster connections and faster response times to problems. Linus created Linux and gave it to the community through the Internet. Programmers develop code and share it through the Internet. Without the Internet, Linux would not exist. The Internet has always been a place where all are equal. There is now the possibility that will not always be true.
—Marjorie Richardson, Editor in Chief
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