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The Internet

Yahoo! Now On France's Minitel System 85

RomulusNR writes: "Just posted to the Dead Media e-mail list this week, a story that Yahoo! is making a version of its site for the Minitel. Makes sense; take advantage of existing infrastructure instead of trying to reinvent and replace it. And after last week's story about the Gopher Manifesto, I wonder if we will see a Gopher version; after all the text-only, line-by-line interface is common to Gopher just as it is to WML devices and Minitel. And Minitel's older, isn't it?"
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Yahoo! Now On France's Minitel System

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  • Minitel costs as much as $1/min. Its a dream for any content provider, but a nightmare for users. Imagine waiting for useless ASCII-art to download at 2400bps, charged $1/min ! This is minitel. A good idea, but bad business model (on the customer side at least).
  • Free?! You call $20 per hour free, well if you say so...
    For eCommerce you don't need the latest PC let alone a Windows variant. As far as I know none of the eCommerce needs 'high performance' from a PC. Windows isn't always necessary either.
    what do the people want? live with a buggy os or learn how to use another? Eeuh.. if they dont want to learn another os they probably already have windows and thus live with. Those who dont use windows dont have to learn another os. So, what's your point again?
  • by Submarine ( 12319 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @02:58AM (#563280) Homepage

    A few remarks to people ready to diss the Minitel system. The Minitel was designed so that it would

    • be cheap, since the terminal and some services were provided for free;
    • run even for users with a horrible home installation in some remote village;
    • be resistant;
    • have a simple business model;
    • be usable by most people.
    Sure, the technology behind should have been improved. Please note that PCs with 56k modems fit none of the above (although the condition of the phone line may not be relevant anymore, since people tend to have had balky in-house connections replaced and the POTS network is now very high quality). The fact is that today, many people, including categories traditionnally found to be allergic to new technologies, use it and use electronic commerce. Electronic commerce has existed in France for 15 years.

    Now I pretend that there was a lesson to be taught from there. Thousands of companies started stuff on the Minitel (yeah, start-ups before it was hype to make Internet start-ups). Most of them went belly up. The successful mail-order retailers were those who:

    • had a simple, costless Minitel site (0.37 FRF per minute at most);
    • had warehouses and other systems so that they could deliver the wares quickly;
    • offered reasonable prices.
    boo.com fitted none of the above, and it's no wonder to me it has gone belly up.
  • my point is that a guy comes to my grandmother's house, plug the thing and she knows how to use it right now ... looks like you don't know a lot of people never used computers. And of course communication is expensive, (about 10$/hours for the widely used 3615) but terminal is free and you get what you want way more easily than on the internet. And am sorry some didn't understand that another meaned other than windows instead than other than the one i'm using.
  • I'd be willing to bet most of Yahoo's traffic comes from the other services: mail, games, chat, etc.

  • I was almost *positive* that your site was a goatse.cx mirror. I tell you, that site has cast a really bad shadow ofer the .cx TLD!
  • Plus it has the best (if you can live without pictures) video game magazine in the UK(Digitiser, on p480, Channel 4).
    And really lo-res Advent Calendars during the Christmas time...who could ask for more? 8-)

  • You may reject my submissions, but I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine...

    D.
    ..is for Darth. James Darth. Licensed to be Evil.

  • I don't think so: there is no "cookies" in the Minitel, no hidden information was sentm so any information should be entered each time by the customer.

    Of course often you had only to enter your personnal information once, after that you had a customer number which was shorter to enter the next time you wanted to shop using the same service.
  • Since someone incorrectly modded the above AC post down as Offtopic, when it is clearly on-topic (Yahoo, France), here it is:

    Should we also not teach children about the Hollocust? After all, talking about Nazi's is not good! Should we burn all the war-films and propoganda material from both the Axis and Allied forces, what with all those harrowing scenes of Jews, Gays etc. being murdered?

    Personally, i'm inclined to believe that France simply doesn't want to face upto it's past involvment and cooperation with the Nazi's during WWII, much easier to hide it all and pretend it didn't happen isn't it?
  • Bull. $1/min is for specific services that nobody is interested in (dating, for example). Services-related to commerce, phone books travels, banking, etc..., are much cheaper. (between 2c/min and 10c/min, basically).

    And, being a dumb ascii termical, Minitel is very fast, 2400 bps or not. You never wait more than 3 or 4 seconds to have your page displayed. It is extremely easy to use. Another non-negligible thing is that it is immeidately ready to use when you turn it on, you don't wait for a system to boot, you don't have to look for the right icon, etc... Just turn it on, and you're ready.
  • Yeah, I wish we still used gopher and telnet. Now it's all this icky graphical web crap that's incredibly slow. I don't think I'd mind a textual interface. Email takes forever if you use the Webmail interface. And registration is horrible too (though that's at least as much Peoplesoft's fault as anything else.) I'll just stick with Pine for now (even though I have to pay $10/semester for the privilege of just checking my school-related email on Pine).

    For fast information access, I think text terminals still serve a lot of use. I wish I could go anywhere in the country and just quick check my mail on a text terminal rather than having to use Yahoo! mail or UofM webmail. And I'd even pay for the privilege (not Minitel rates though, but I'd pay $10/semester anyway).
  • if this includes the yahoo email service it means that you will be able to check your email from any farm lost in the pyrenees and tell your colleagues at work how good the goat cheese is.
    ---
  • > Not even : it was 75/1200 bauds.

    I can't beleive I made sooo much errors in my post. Sure, it was 75/1200.

    > how would would you type more than 9 8-bit characters per second in order to explode this debit ?

    I used a minitel hooked to a NeXTstation to move files from/to my university account in 1991. I used the 75 bauds as a control connection. That was fun.

    And it was possible to "reverse" the modem to get 1200/75.

    Cheers, and thanks for the corrections,

    --fred
  • > the problem was to upload

    I could reverse the modem on the model I used (that I still have). Was a magic key combination, like Function-M, R (Modem, Reversed), or something like that...

    Cheers,

    --fred
  • btw by _public company_ here he means _state owned company_ (often said 'entreprise publique' in french)
  • I remember seeing a TV programme about Minitel when I was at school (i.e. a good few years ago). They were showing the terminals being made, and it was saying what an amazing idea Minitel was.

    However the thing that impressed me most was the quality control at the end of the production line, which involved smacking the terminals with a bloody great hammer and seeing if they still worked.

    If they followed a similar procedure with the 2CVs I don't think any would make it out of the factory.

  • bbs were almost never used for commerce am i wrong? that was the big point with the minitel, being centralised and control by the telecom monopolist permitted at the same time the system to be adopted by companies for commerce.
  • It's not the French government, idiot, it's a bunch of zealous jewish fundamentalist who happened to have found a sympathetic judge. Could have happened anywhere.

    --

  • I got to use teletex on British TV set when I travelled to London. There were some first rate kick ass ASCII arts!!

    Think about drawing British isles for a weather map in 100x200 ASCII chars...

    I wonder what school you attend to become an ASCII artist.
  • Minitel is (apparently) pretty much what German BTX ("Bildschirmtext", or "screen text") used to be some years ago. BTX has "evolved" into T-Online, still being a German telecom daughter, which is now also Germany's largest Internet Provider. Some years back it has enhanced BTX to an improved - though still obsolete and often expensive - version with better graphics and backward compatibility (by now, they've given it the fancy name "T-Online Classic"...). One of the few (sort of) useful features remaining is online banking, which is using its own interface again. But to my knowledge the BTX and T-Online interfaces are pretty much dead here too, except for the banking part. So basically the Telecom here has noticed that this system is obsolete.
    So, it's kinda interesting to see Yahoo use a technology that most likely will vanish rather soon. Or, are they planning a good ol' BTX site too?
  • I find your comment offensive. I dont think you need to be a jewish to think that nazi memorabilia is not good. Maybe its true that the judges should not have ruled this way. But for sure I think that French law should not give in to racists.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now theres an underrated system. Ok, its receive only but even so , from a normal TV set you can look up train times, weather, sports results etc etc and its all been available since the late 1970s! Of course whenever american internet/computer companies talk about a net access device in all homes you never hear them mention systems such as teletext or minitel (even though I'm sure they're aware of them) because they weren't invented in the states so ergo they should be ignored. GSM & digital radio standards spring to mind too but thats another story...
  • Or maybe you are intelligent enough to realise that France is too stupid to learn anything.
    Hmmm... THIS really add to the discussion. Do we really need such dump posts ? ( see also the first one, not bad either)

  • by nuggz ( 69912 )
    Before the internet was widespread there was Fidonet, but you probaly don't know of that do you?
  • oops. here:

    http://www.teletranslator.com:8080/

    handy little web site.

    Now quit yer' bitchin'.

  • I agree that Minitel is a good source of income for some companies (and essentialy France Telecom). However the balance is more mitigated, because France Telecom lost billions of dollars of taxpayer's money between 1984 and 1990 for the inception of Minitel. And these last years benefits are only compensating these outrageous losses.

    Last but not least, the Minitel is now more a constraint than a drive to the wide adoption of Internet in France : Although having roughtly 18 million users for Minitel (it's 1/3 of France population) we are lagging behind other EU countries for the Internet access.

    • France Telecom had never pushed forward the Internet for the reason mentionned early until recent years
    • Content is important on the Internet, but unfortunately, the major players in this area never pushed forward the Internet for the same reason
    • Most of the e-services are already available in France with the Minitel
    • Althoug sluggish on many aspects, Minitel is really PnP and reliable unlike some bloated OS
    • Cost of services are really expensive ($3 to $45 an hour), but the Minitel itself is free or may be leased for less than $10 a month. When you compare with the typical $1000 you need to purchase a PC, no wonder people may want to stick to it

    This french "cultural exception" is certainly the reason why Yahoo! moved to the Minitel. To my mind it's a short-term tactical move because Minitel traffic is steadily decreasing of 6% per year since 1999. And I don't think that initiatives like iMinitel will be a success at all.

    In fact the future for Minitel in France is ... the Internet! we will see in the future more and more ASP providing Minitel over the Net allowing you to use your browser and an applet to connect yourself to online databases who want to stay on this antiquated system for revenue reasons.

  • Is there anyone out there perverse enough to hack a text-only, hardcopy browser so that we can all surf the Web on Decwriters at 110 baud?
  • denmark still has teletext does it not?
    i remember this system --pretty neat actually, it was a service you got through the Tv service. that functioned kind of like a TERMINAl, only instead of punching in commands you swictched channels (i.e. to see tv listings you typie in 456)
  • This is ridiculous. The French _do_ teach their children about the holocausts, and _do_ show nazi artefacts. Don't worry for us, we're very well informed about the Nazi era. We don't burn or hide anything. And, quite franfly, coming from (I assume) an American, these comments are very ironic.

    Here we've had an agressive association led by dumbasses who found a sympathetic judge. Period. Now get back to your kindergarten and stop teaching lessons on issues you have no clue about.
  • here:

    http://www.teletranslator.com:8080/

    handy little web site.

    Now quit yer' bitchin'.
  • And here we go again... One more Francophobic who has such a hard time facing the idea that France can sometimes do interesting things, that he feels obliged to find a twisted interpretation which will give him one more chance to insult them.

    This is boring, conformist (especially from a Scandinavian) and predictible.
  • That explains the unfair moderation!
  • ..used to be called Prestel, a Teletext type service received over the phone. A rather famous early hacking case arose when a couple of people hacked their way into the Duke of Edinburghs (the Queens husband, for any Yanks out there) postbox. IIRC, the two people (Gold and Schifreen?) hacked their way in, told BT how it was possible, got arrested, charged and imprisoned, and won on appeal. Another famous case of British justice in action!

    Teletext itself actually is capable of a lot more things than 40x25 character displays, and ASCII art. There are (or used to be) various Teletext support levels, and displays which support higher levels can display higher resolution graphics. You also used to be able to download programs from them; UK owners of the BBC Micro (which together with the Sinclair ZX80/81/ Spectrum kick started personal computing in the UK) could download programs over air.

    Also when costs of Internet access were sky high, many companies used teletext to multicast to their various offices using encrypted teletext ( Conditional Access). Ladbrokes, one of the largest UK betting concerns, used to do this (and may still do so).

    In the US, I believe you sacrifice Teletext for Closed Captioning Subtitles, which teletext also supports in a more limited fashion.
  • I enjoy your pro-France posting history, Mr. Collaborationist. Have fun playing out in the yard, flamebaby!
  • Probably not as mush as I enjoy the accumulation of francophobic cliches which seem to be recurrent on slashdot. I had decided, a few years ago, to ignore them and never reply. I changed my mind recently for various reasons, including the feeling that most attacks were unfair, or pointed at the wrong target and at the wrong problem. So I decided to answer en masse.

    Now, in case you haven't noticed, my position is always a defensive one. I don't spontaneously attack other countries, since I actually happen to love most of the places where the francophobic feeling seems to be the strongest, including the US, where I'm currently living, the UK, and Sweden. But, well, yeah, I love France too, and I have a problem when I read unfair contributions about it. Now, if you want me to make a very harsch enumeration of the flaws of the French society, I can make a very long one! I'm just asking for some more truth and objectivity, if you see what I mean...

    Last, your "Mr Collaborationist" may deserve an explanation. Please feel free to elaborate on it.
  • such as Euridile, the national register of commerce) can only be accessed through the Minitel system

    Not anymore - you can get pretty much the same thing thru www.societe.com , which is free.
  • 94% of the transfers accounted for on Minitel involved software pirating

    Humm yeah, I can just imagine all these people downloading ISOz at the 1200 bps top speed of the Minitel...
  • There is nothing francophobic about my opinion that Yahoo should pull out of France. It is simply that I do not believe that any gov. should dictate world policy. Claiming that it was not the gov. but the court case pursued by some Jews is trite. The gov. is ultimately responsible for the courts however independant they are. Who makes the laws in France? So I hold France responsible for dictating to Yahoo how they should operate globally and therefore feel they should pull out.

    Now if you want me to get anti-french fine, but I assure you I am not in any way phobic about the french even if they do eat frogs and snails.
  • by Thomas Miconi ( 85282 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @12:07AM (#563317)
    The timing for the Yahoo Minitel portal is perfect. France Telecom, owner of the Minitel system, has recently launched a huge advertising campaign for its computer-version of the Minitel : "iMinitel" (read "eemeeneetel"), a PC program that allows you to connect on the Minitel network.

    The minitel system is antiquated. It's slow, text-mode (although ncurses-like "graphics" are commonly used) and much more expensive than the internet. So how could it survive ?

    The answer is simple: "business model". So far, few internet companies have been able to develop a sustainable business model (ie something more profitable than "putting banner ads everywhere"). The Minitel system, on the other hand, is based on a pay-per-minute scheme. If you want to provide some service on Minitel (say, an access to some big legal database), you simply choose a pricing category (from the cheap 3614 to the $1/min 3617). When people connect to your service, they pay the price you chose to France Telecom, who keeps a part of it and gives you the rest. Ridiculous charges, maximal profit. A service provider's dream.

    This is why many non-public national databases (such as Euridile, the national register of commerce) can only be accessed through the Minitel system. And this is also the reason why such a deprecated system as the minitel might survive for years, coexisting with the cheaper, faster, better Internet system.
  • I love minitel. You yanks don't know what it is that you are missing. Minitel is the real information revolution that happened here in France well before the internet was anything other than a tiny network.

    Maybe its possible that you could learn something from this minitel homepage [minitel.fr]

  • A famous adage states: "old hardware doesn't necessarily good hardware make", particularly when it comes to e-commerce.
  • Given the recent court case and its outcome I think that Yahoo should pull out of France rather than get more involved.

    Minitel was a great system, I don't dispute that. I agree that it has made the French one of the most online savvy countries in the world; but if the French government want to dictate the global policies of foreign companies then those global companies should pull out of France and leave them in their zenophobic isolation.
  • Is this some new definition of famous that nobody has ever heard of?
  • Considering the fact, that this page is in french, I doubt that the "yanks" (and many others, for that matter) will learn much from that page.
    An english version would be highly appreciated ...
  • is quite interesting really.

    As a French I've witnessed the great success of the Minitel, and then the arrival of the Internet era.

    E-commerce (e stands for electronic? Right, so it applies also to Minitel) has been a reality on the Minitel well before on Internet: VPC, buying train-tickets, making reservations etc..

    It was quite fun seeing all the hype about the Internet when (at the beginning) it was doing much fewer things.
    I've always wondered why the Minitel didn't evolve at all since its beginning : same slow connection, no images, etc.

    E-commerce on the Internet has still some problems due to security concerns, when this last problem will be solved, the Minitel will be definitely dead, right now it is dying but it is not totally buried, yet :-)
  • This is old news. I can't recall where I read it first exactly, but it was probably here [thestandard.com] at The Standard, where it appeared almost a month ago.
  • I think it's pretty cool if Yahoo! is going back to basics. Let's hope they make it easier than their site is in Lynx. If so, could they perhaps bring the Minitel styling back to their site, at least for text-based browsers?

    And a Gopher version would be great. Miss my days at the University of Minnesota (when we used to use gopher exclusively).

  • Remember all that early-90's sociology about how Europeans were more likely to embrace the Internet than Americans? This sort of thing is why.

    Quietly, France has adapted to one of the hardest cultural jumps that "virtual society" requires- the everyday practice of doing trustworthy business online.

    That said, Minitel is somewhat less "global" than today's Internet. One could compare Minitel commerce with the practice of catalog ordering, or any mail-order company- largely restricted to one nation-state, most business on Minitel is subject to French law, not unstable "arbitration" in international trade bodies.

    Localness, here, helped Minitel. Perhaps, consumer confidence is higher in a "localized" network of goods and services. Can we create "local Nets" today, without the problem of Minitel, which is the big cut taken by the French government..?

    From the article:

    An estimated 25 million people - nearly half the French population - currently use the 9 million Minitel terminals to buy train tickets, check stock quotes, access news, send e-mail messages or enter chat rooms. All those activities generated more than $1.8 billion in revenues last year.

  • by StandardDeviant ( 122674 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @12:22AM (#563327) Homepage Journal

    that auctions.yahoo.com will not be one of the ported areas... ;-)


    --

  • I find the whole situation of France trying to legislate the Internet ridiculous. Of course, if we're going to have any kind of legal activity underway, then it must be international, not ruled by France, and definitely not by the illegal ICANN. (Quangos are not allowed in the US.)
  • yes it is. Typical minitel rates are in the 2F-5F/mn range.

    5F * 60 = 300F / h

    about 40$!

  • Well, correct me if I'm mistaked, but Minitel is run by France Telecom which at least has been a monopoly. If I can make lots of money providing the best service around, why do I need to improve it? It's simple capitalism.

    The reason the Internet has taken off instead is because there have been a lot of very smart people with access to and the ability to change the Internet, improving it. Without that, you end up with the same situation that happened to a lot of BBS systems (especially the commercial ones).

  • Another important point is that Minitel terminal devices are free (read gratis) or very cheap and easy to use. There are a lot of such beasts in the houses, compared to the number of personal computers, which are expensive and rather frightening for everyday people.

    Yahoo's idea is pretty clever : use the installed Minitel base, gather a user community and keep them when they buy a PC.

    mon avis à deux balles

    --
  • You missed the best of it pal. They used to (and probably still do) comic 'strips' in the same high-calibre digi-art. I remember dramatic use of BLINKing text was a favourite. That and the occasional use of the ability to REVEAL 'hidden' text/images. Truly stunning.
  • "I find your comment offensive. I dont think you need to be a jewish to think that nazi memorabilia is not good. Maybe its true that the judges should not have ruled this way. But for sure I think that French law should not give in to racists."

    Look, please give me some credit here for not being a neo nazi, ok? I don't like it either, HOWEVER UEJF's suit is a fucking joke. Have they tried to *convince* Yahoo to ban the sales? No they haven't, they've just sued. Is there an enormous amount of Nazi crap on Yahoo? No there isn't it's

    UEJF is a bunch of king sized retards. Look at their other trials. They sued most French ISPs in 1996 because one of their bozos found a nazi web page somewhere on the net. Of course they lost. Then they sued artist Costes [costes.org] on a satiric song for allegedly being racist. They lost initially, but no, do you think they'd get the message? They're appealing like there's no tomorrow.


    --

  • This did happen in France and if global companies pulled out then France might learn a lesson.

    Yeah, and if the confederates had have more troops, they would have kicked the yankee's ass.

    Stop smoking crack, dopey.


    --

  • "I find your comment offensive. I dont think you need to be a jewish to think that nazi memorabilia is not good. Maybe its true that the judges should not have ruled this way. But for sure I think that French law should not give in to racists."

    Look, please give me some credit here for not being a neo nazi, ok? I don't like it either, HOWEVER UEJF's suit is a fucking joke. Have they tried to *convince* Yahoo to ban the sales? No they haven't, they've just sued. Is there an enormous amount of Nazi crap on Yahoo? No there isn't it's < 100 items. Is all Nazi items sold going to be used for nazi propaganda? Not, it isn't. Did ANYONE in France go to that fucking site to buy fucking nazi shit before the losers at UEJF gave it ENORMOUS publicity? MOST LIKELY NOT

    UEJF is a bunch of king sized retards. Look at their other trials. They sued most French ISPs in 1996 because one of their bozos found a nazi web page somewhere on the net. Of course they lost. Then they sued artist Costes [costes.org] on a satiric song for allegedly being racist. They lost initially, but no, do you think they'd get the message? They're appealing like there's no tomorrow.


    --

  • The article states that Minitel slowed down the usage of the Internet, but improved it's acceptance. By providing such a service (if it can be called that) the usage of the internet will be even slower. They can now search with Yahoo as well. So instead of trying to get the French to go to the Internet, it throws them back to the predecessor/competitor.
    Question is, does it change anything? Seemingly the Minitel system is fast enough for it's use, now it will get more advertisements as well. Will more portals consider the Minitel system and start cluttering it with their competition?
    Besides that "rates up to $20 a hour" does sound like a lot more expensive than normal usage via a computer and modem. Is the Internet that bad for the French? Or are they holding on to their "roots"?
  • DeadMedia.org [deadmedia.org] appears to be dead. It is a late website [montypython.org]

    Has the /. effect ever hit a more ironically named website?

    Ben^3 (chortling merrily)
  • Yes, minitel is dying, but slowly. There is still a large captive audience, slowly being eaten away by the internet. Internet access requires a rather expensive computer, while minitel requires just a free terminal given away by FT.

    The new iMinitel service requires you to enter a valid credit card number, so all of your activity can be billed. There is a minimum charge of 50F/month, so you are enticed to use it.

    The business model was a good one, back when the services could all be billed by the telco monopoly. With the exception of a few government services available exclusively through minitel, the only other businesses which thrived were the pr0n services.

    And to correct some technical info posted below, the minitel system originally used V.23bis, an asymetric modulation system 75 baud up, 1200 baud down. The character set was a bizarre set of 7 bit characters, with numerous overlay character and graphics sets, and a whole bunch of control codes and sequences. It made translating to/from ascii or any other terminal program almost impossible. Many minitel server companies offered special delay modes to slow down delivery of characters to the screen, to ensure that a customer would stay online longer and increase revenues. This current iMinitel emulator also runs slowly, no matter how much internet bandwidth you have. The servers are still set up to deliver content slowly, in the name of revenue enhancement. Very frustrating.

    the AC
  • Will Yahoo be making versions of its site for minipax, minitrue, miniluv, and miniplenty?
  • Decwriters? Spoiled brat! How about Beaudot KSR-33s???

    --
    Game over, 2000!

  • My elaboration is that you attacked me for doing nothing more than attempting to correct a politically-motivated moderation. Which means you find me guilty by association and/or you support politically motivated moderation. Either way, it's brownshirt tactics.

    Plus, you know it's true.
  • > Original minitel was 300/1200 bauds.
    Not even : it was 75/1200 bauds.
    And so ?
    With a mecanichal keyboard, how would wou type more than 9 8-bit characters per second in order to explode this debit ?
    I believe this was a wise choice that helped the minitel being cheaper to build.
    --
  • Maybe if the native English speaking folks were slightly more courteous and did not consider that speaking English is something that the rest of the worlds OWES them, even when they are touring in foreign countries, and maybe if they also did not consider as "rude" or "nationalist bigotry" the fact that some non-native English speakers don't provide an English translation for everything, and maybe if they were showing some more good will and respect, then maybe they would deserve us to make some more efforts.

    Now get out your head of your ass and try to learn, for example, a Roman language. It's extremely interesting and beautiful.
  • Ok, several things here:

    1- The message you're talking about and which was moderated down as "off-topic" has the following content:

    "Should we also not teach children about the Holocaust? After all, talking about Nazi's is not good! Should we burn all the war-films and propoganda material from both the Axis and Allied forces, what with all those harrowing scenes of Jews, Gays etc. being murdered?

    Personally, i'm inclined to believe that France simply doesn't want to face upto it's past involvment and cooperation with the Nazi's during WWII, much easier to hide it all and pretend it didn't happen isn't it?"

    Quite franfly, while I cannot speak in place of the moderator, I do think this message is clearly off-topic in the discussion (which was about, as you remember, a surprising move from Yahoo going Minitel), and I don't think that the moderator was politically-motivated. On the other hand, I think that your reaction to this moderation and your reposting of the message were politically-motivated. So was I, by the way. The three of us are off-topic anyway. But I didn't start the fire.

    2- I did not attack you, but the content of this message, which was apparently not written by yourself (correct me if I'm wrong).

    3- It may be time to invoke Godwin's law, since you called my tactics "brownshirt", which I find somewhat ridiculous.
  • Now if you want me to get anti-french fine, but I assure you I am not in any way phobic about the french even if they do eat frogs and snails.

    It is easy to see that there is a strange french-bashing party time on slashdot every time there are news concerning France.
    French food is great.

    You shouldn't be talking with your ass...
    You're polluting the world.
    Think.

    phobos% cat .sig
  • While over in france earlier this year I ran across the minitel. I was equally amazed an amused that something like this was still around. If you can imagine surfing the internet on a vic20 that's kind of what it's like. Very few "regular" web sites which I usually visit were available from the minitel, with one notable exception. Slashdot. Even while in france I was able to get my "news for nerds" fix. My brother even took pictures of slashdot on the minitel, posted them up on the web and then submitted a story here to slashdot about it. Too bad you bastards didn't run it.
  • Those BBS store-and-forward message networks were pretty cool. I spent a number of years on them in the early 90's (particularly RIME/RelayNet) when local BBSes were about the only type of affordable "online" resource available.

    Fido was neat because you could do file requests and point-to-point e-mail as well as echomail (if your Sysop would let you, anyway ).

    --
    -Rich (OS/2, Linux, BeOS, Mac, NT, Win95, Solaris, FreeBSD, and OS2200 user in Bloomington MN)

  • Yeah, it's a famous definition! ;-)

    D.

  • The answer is simple: "business model"
    This business model is not relevant anymore. The Minitel is dying, whatever the efforts from France Telecom to make it survive a few more years ("fast" minitel, internet interfaces, ...).

    The reality is that all the major services available (for a fee) on the Minitel (reverse phone book, train and plane reservation, ...) are now available for free on internet.

    This is why many non-public national databases (such as Euridile, the national register of commerce) can only be accessed through the Minitel system
    This data (and all the law-related date) was quite late, because of monopoly concessions, but it is now mostly available for free on the internet, too.

    The mintel is dead, dead, dead. And France Telecom has already determined the date (somewhere in the next 3 years, I think) at which the Teletel system will CLOSE.

  • I suggest therapy to help you with your delusions.
  • What you don't understand is that you assimilate french government and people with one justice case. French government never issue anything against Yahoo.

    We don't have democratic judges and republican ones. We have far more independant justice than you have (if you are american).

    You can't try to assimilate a judgement to a politic vision.

    If the government wanted to stop this case, he wouldn't able to.

    Open your mind.

  • I always forget that in the US there is no such thing as Teletext. Boy, you miss a lot. It's easy to use, regularly updated and you only need a TV.
    Typical that no such system exists in the US...
  • Proprietary. On internet, anyone can publish information. On the minitel, everything is controlled by France Telecom (which by the way have _no_ liability on what content is on the minitel.

    Not exactly. Everyone can have its own service. But you need to pay to have a "3615 Squid" number by opposition to a classic number.

  • Last summer, I was on holiday in Bretagne, and after a few days, I felt the need to check my email. So I entered a France Telecom shop, and asked for a 15' access pass for their public internet workstation (Which cost me FF10 - USD1.5). I had no waiting time, the PC was absolutely free, no-one wanted to use it except me.

    In the mean time, there were some 5 people queuing to use the public minitel console. The using fee was also FF10 for 15'.

    Incredidible how popular those dinosaurs can be
  • Grusse Herr Zemran.
    Maybe France is too stupid too learn anything but you (I assume you're American) don't seem keen on giving a proper education to your feloow-citzen, especially after watching your staffing issues that urge you to beg for some French workers to help you meet the deadlines your stupid project leaders set.
    So, stop this (stupid would be a pleonasm) flamewar and just assume that in a country which population is mostly composed of strangers you just appear to be even more stupid when you spit at your relatives who you owe BeOS and Altavista amongst others.
    Adiö Mitenand.
    --
  • Typical french doublespeak: mygale.org have been closed because a member put nude picture of Estelle Halliday on line, but FT is not liable for anything that goes thought the minitel).

    it's altern.org [altern.org] that closed (the free hosting part in fact)
  • it's not about holding to their roots, it's about having a free terminal that won't crash instead of the last P3 with Windows ME (TM) ... A lot of people want to use ecommerce without having to learn how to live with a buggy os, or how to use another os.
  • Something like that... I've got the whole Minitel philosophy vs Internet philosophy all worked out in your post.

    Minitel is everything online life was not supposed to be, for instance if you are looking for science related or making a research for yourself then Minitel has nothing to offer you. It was (still is?? hahah) like Compuserve or Prodigy was before their first IP connection: Like hundreds of BBSes owned by corporations with only sales pahmplets to offer and order online services.

    Those who criticize Internet in favour of Minitel really have not grasped the basics of the Internet's original purpose. Funny no one mentioned TRANSPAC. IT was an X.25 network that trully held info
  • How about Beaudot KSR-33s???


    1's and 0's! Sonny, in my day we had to make do with just 0's. And we were glad to have those. Not like those COBOL programmers who had to just pretend they were using computers.

  • There is just one little piece of logic that I don't understand: why do you have an index of the WWW on a system which can't access the WWW?
  • This hgappened in all of Europe at that time (Bildschirmtext in germany, Teledata in sweden, to give two examples). All other countries have killed their "Minitels" since long... Just France is to proud to admit a centralised system is _they_ build is BAD.
  • Minitel is:

    * Expensive (very expensive. more than you can imagine)
    * Sloooow. Original minitel was 300/1200 bauds. Sloowiness of the minitel is part of the business model, as France Telecom and the information provider is paid depending on the amount of time the poor asshole stay connected.
    * Proprietary. On internet, anyone can publish information. On the minitel, everything is controlled by France Telecom (which by the way have _no_ liability on what content is on the minitel. Typical french doublespeak: mygale.org have been closed because a member put nude picture of Estelle Halliday on line, but FT is not liable for anything that goes thought the minitel).
    * Ugly. Text mode with more than ugly graphics. And ugly to code for.
    * Non upward compatible (FT own service '11' doesn't work anymore with minitel 1)
    * A racket system. A lot of things can only be made via the minitel service in france. An easy way to get fast bucks for anyone that have captive customers, or any sort of monopoly.

    The only real service provided by minitel is called 'minitel rose', and is basically pr0n related services. This earn an awful amount of money to France Telecom (even when FT was a _public_ company).

    Cheers,

    --fred

"How do I love thee? My accumulator overflows."

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