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The Internet

Vint Cerf on the Future of the Net 103

johnd writes "The internet is set to become the basis for just about every form of communication, according to net pioneer Vint Cerf, and he should know what he is talking about. Not terribly in depth, but an interesting read all the same."
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Vint Cerf on the Future of the Net

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  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:19AM (#7852552) Homepage
    The internet is set to become the basis for just about every form of communication, according to net pioneer Vint Cerf, and he should know what he is talking about.

    Why should Vint Cerf know what he's talking about? Sure, he knows all about the Internet; but does he know all about communication in general?

    Would the sotry submitter agree with the (equivalently valid) statement that "Microsoft Windows is set to become the basis for just about every form of personal computing, according to Bill Gates, and he should know what he is talking about"?
    • by EpsCylonB ( 307640 ) <eps&epscylonb,com> on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:22AM (#7852565) Homepage
      The article does have evidence to back the claims up, for example it mentions VoIP...

      In Japan NTT's profits have been dented because people can call much more cheaply via the Yahoo BB VoIP service they get as part of their ADSL subscription.

      plus vint cerf isn't commercially linked to the internet in the same way that gates is to windows.
    • by Brian_Ellenberger ( 308720 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:54AM (#7852702)
      Why is this such a big leap in thinking? How many Vonage articles has Slashdot posted? What communications do you think won't be replaced by the Internet? Radio? TV? Phone? It's all just data. Radio is already on the Internet and Video-on-demand is somewhat available through *ahem* certain less than legal means. And we are starting to see phone. When wireless internet catches on how long till we see VoIP cell phones?

      What do you see as not being replaced eventually?

      Brian Ellenberger
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Newspapers and books, for starters. Anything where you want a large amount of in-depth information and analysis, and you don't want to read it on a crappy little screen and have to stop using it when you get on an underground train. The "e-book" has been about to revolutionise publishing for 40 years now, and they're still crap. Decent e-books will be available to read in the passenger seats of flying cars Real Soon Now.
        • Who knows what technology will appear in the future.

          For years we've heard about these pages of inteligent ink that moves to make up the words and pictures. If that technology ever materialises then perhaps newspapers will be replaced by somethign based on the net.
          Although its hard to put your faith in a technology that could just be an etcha-sketcha.
      • What communications do you think won't be replaced by the Internet?
        Sign language, talking and yelling in close quarters... high-bandwidth experiences...
      • I hear SoIP (spam over IP) is really catching on.
    • by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @11:09AM (#7852745) Homepage
      Well, sadly, Bill Gates says that all the time, and he's basically right. Okay, sure, OS X has made some inroads, but I think 90% qualifies for "just about every form". Check out Google's latest Zeitgeist [google.com] -- 3% Mac, 1% Linux, 4% Other. The remaining 92%, some form of Microsoft Windows.

      Don't get me wrong -- I love Linux, and I wish MS would die a fast yet incredibly painful death, but the reality is we've got a long, long way to go before we've made a dent in MS's personal computing monopoly. Maybe this year is the year we finally make a meaningful difference, but it's going to take some watershed event.
    • For several years running? But not in this article.
    • Maybe it's should as in he ought to know, he darned well better know, he's paid to know, why doesn't he know?

      Rather than as in of course he knows.

      Better example of the first instance is President Shrub, as in it's a damned cockup that he doesn't know much at all.

      Better example of the second instance is Donald Knuth on a whoel lot of topics, where everyone knows that he knows what he is talking about.
    • Would the sotry submitter agree with the (equivalently valid) statement that "Microsoft Windows is set to become the basis for just about every form of personal computing, according to Bill Gates, and he should know what he is talking about"?

      Except that Bill Gates had nothing to do with the invention of personal computers, so your analogy falls apart right away there. You could credit personal computing to Edmund Berkeley (who conceptualized the "Simon" plans) or maybe some folks at Heathkit, Altair, etc
    • Why should Vint Cerf know what he's talking about?

      Why should you? Seriously, Vint has had a huge impact on the way the world works. His ideas and implementation of ideas changed the world once already.

  • by GeckoFood ( 585211 ) <geckofood@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:21AM (#7852558) Journal

    From the article:

    The next decade, he believes, will see the net spread even further and start to become the basic communications infrastructure for almost anything.

    This unnerves me a little. We saw the dot com bubble burst after everyone decided thast the internet was the future of commerce, and we still have not fully recovered from that one. I sure as hell don't want to put all our eggs in this basket all over again and potentially see another messy commercial disaster take out the communications infrastructure... Maybe I am being a little too uptight about it, but I can't shake the feeling after last time.

    • "The internet is a reflection of our society and that mirror is going to be reflecting what we see," he said. "If we do not like what we see in that mirror the problem is not to fix the mirror, we have to fix society."


      this unnerves me even more.....


      looking forward to when this communication system joins fire signaling, the pony express, and the telegraph in the dustbin of history.

    • We saw the dot com bubble burst after everyone decided thast the internet was the future of commerce, and we still have not fully recovered from that one.
      Though interestingly, Christmas shopping on the Internet increased by 30 to 45% [delawareonline.com] this year! I know I'm part of that statistic.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Exactly the sort of logic that gave us ePetFoodOnline. Just because one market segment - which has a definite date that things must be delivered by, which can take orders months in advance, and which tends not to sell perishable goods - works well on the Internet doesn't mean that all commerce must be enabled-to-the-power-of-e.
    • by GoneGaryT ( 637267 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:44AM (#7852654) Journal
      You poor fightened little tossers. Dammit, just pick up on this ferchrissakes. Change society is the key, like he says. He's with the program. We have to pull our heads out of our asses and get to grips with this. Everyone is the same as everyone else and we live on the same planet. Brits, Americans are no better or worse than Iraqis, Iranians, North Koreans or any other nationals.

      The dot com bollocks happened because too few people asked "where's the business plan?". That's all. A bit of common sense is all that's required.

      QUALity eQUALs eQUALity

      • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @11:13AM (#7852761) Journal
        Not that any of this has much to do with his point, but:

        Everyone is the same as everyone else and we live on the same planet. Brits, Americans are no better or worse than Iraqis, Iranians, North Koreans or any other nationals.

        A 6.6 earthquake recently killed two people in Paso Robles. A week later, another 6.6 earthquake killed 25,000 people in Bam. That doesn't make Americans better or worse than Iranians (the refusal to accept even unofficial aid from the only country in the Middle East with a modern rescue and emergency medicine capability aside) but it certainly suggests that one society is better at building safe houses than the other...

        QUALity eQUALs eQUALity

        ...the elegant logic of your proof notwithstanding.

        • I take your point. Plainly, given the longevity of many of the buildings of Bam, nothing of the sort had ever been experienced by these people. This was an unexpected castrophe. I wish them well in their unhappy experience.

          QUALity eQUALs eQUALity comes from Michael Fairchild and his book "ROCK PROPHECY : Sex and Jimi Hendrix in World Religions (the Original Asteroid Prediction & Microsoft Connection). OK, the guy is nuts on the face of it, but he does come out with some really good stuff. "The point i

        • but it certainly suggests that one society is better at building safe houses than the other...
          Or that one has enough money to build safe houses.
        • Paso Robles has far fewer people and was considably further from the epicenter; had the earthquake happened at the same distance from a densely populated area, we would might have seen hundred dead in California. Still, we wouldn't have seen anywhere near that many deaths. Though to be fair, St. Louis, MO will be in big trouble when they get their next earthquake, because they don't have California-style building codes.
      • we live on the same planet.

        Thinking globally is what humans need to learn. I think the internet is aiding that process. People from all over the planet are communicating and forming friendships online. Conditioned social stereotypes can be challenged and discarded.

    • IP on ... (Score:3, Funny)

      by jc42 ( 318812 )
      At a conference some years back, I noticed that Vint Cerf was wearing a t-shirt that said "IP on everything".

      Sorta sums it up ... ;-)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, but that's the beauty of the internet, or (more accurately) the OSI model with layers of abstraction. There's no one infrastructure that it's tied to. VoIP can work on any IP Network. IP can run on many mediums, including a non-physical mediums (wireless radio or whatever the next generation is that we haven't begun to think about). It's no one infrastructure to take out, unless you are talking about the critical points of the internet (DNS servers, core routers and switch, etc.)

      But how is that a
    • This unnerves me a little. We saw the dot com bubble burst after everyone decided thast the internet was the future of commerce, and we still have not fully recovered from that one. I sure as hell don't want to put all our eggs in this basket all over again and potentially see another messy commercial disaster take out the communications infrastructure... Maybe I am being a little too uptight about it, but I can't shake the feeling after last time.

      Speaking as an unfortunate call center administrator for a

    • Hm. Well.. the 'future of commerce' might be a bit overblown, but it kinda has some grains of truth in it for probably more of us than we realize. For instance, myself-- if I can't get what I'm looking for at a reasonable price within.. oh.. 10 miles, I'll check online. Hell, I usually check online anyway just to make sure that the local prices are worth it.
  • Isn't it already? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WildBeast ( 189336 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:23AM (#7852568) Journal
    That's pretty much all I use for communication, that and the traditional face-to-face, sure I use the phone once in a while but that's about it.
    • by YouHaveSnail ( 202852 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @12:27PM (#7853205)
      Really?

      You never watch television?
      Or flip on the radio?
      Or pick up a newspaper?
      Or read a book or magazine?
      Or notice a billboard?
      Or go out to a movie?
      Or use a FRS radio on the ski slopes?
      Or print out a report/design/specification?
      Or read someone's body language?

      We communicate in lots of different ways. Whether you realize it or not, I expect you don't do all your communication over the internet and telephone.
  • VoIP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeKoNiNG ( 597077 ) <p.d.de.koning@NOSPam.freeler.nl> on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:35AM (#7852614) Homepage
    As long as most (older) people I know have a 56k or 64k internet connection, and have to pay per minute online time, VoIP and the like will not become mainstream soon.

    It is not that those people do not want a broadband connection, it is just not available at an affordable price in a lot of places.

    And in order to make something successfull it should be available to (almost) everyone.

    • Re:VoIP (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Bloater ( 12932 )
      When the phone company installs a new box on the wall, along with a 70% cut in telephone bills, they will all have VoIP. The idea that people will put voice over IP over voice is just silly. They will put all voice over IP. They will dump their analogue modems and use a cheap network gateway.

      The consumer doesn't matter, it's all about infrastructure.
    • the phone companies will change their service to use VoIP and the customers wont even notice.

      Right now we're in a phase where VoIP is becoming more usefull and networks can handle the type of load we want to put on them. It will soon come to everyone having a broadband connection in their home if they realise it or not. POTS will be forgoten about and the world will be just a bunch of optics, in reality it is more cost effective to use fiber for everything instead of all kinds of mismatched cables and wire
    • Re:VoIP (Score:4, Informative)

      by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @11:29AM (#7852851) Homepage Journal
      As long as most (older) people I know have a 56k or 64k internet connection, and have to pay per minute online time, VoIP and the like will not become mainstream soon.

      Actually, it's happening quite rapidly behind their backs. It's not just Japan that has converted to VoIP. In the past year or so, we've seen the reports here and elsewhere that much of the long-distance and high-capacity lines within the phone system have been silently converted to IP. Here in North America, if you make a call outside your local exchange, there is a rapidly growing probability that it will be packetized and sent over IP (RTP actually) to the other end's exchange, where it will be converted back to analog.

      So all those people using 56K modems will have their data converted to analog voice in the modem, converted back to digital at the local TelCo. It will be sent over IP to the remote TelCo, where it will be converted back to analog and fed to a modem, which will convert it back to digital. Each translation will produce a roughly 100-times reduction in bit speed. Yeah, it's tremendously inefficient, compared with just doing IP for the whole thing. That's the way things are done in the modern commercial world.

      We still have analog phones in our house. But a couple of years ago, we got a good deal from our cable supplier (RCN) to include phone service over the cable. They installed a little box that connects the incoming cable to the house phones. I asked someone at RCN what this did. The summary was that it "puts the phones on the Internet". I asked if this was what they called "VoIP", and he said "I think so".

      It can be difficult to get a straight story in such cases. You may very well be using VoIP at home right now, without knowing it. And the people at the phone company might not know it, either.

      Funny thing, in the project that I'm working on now, one thing we're trying to figure out is how to get our text messages converted to voice (solved), and sent out to a phone (not solved). We have digitized voice files, and the computers are on the Internet. You'd think it would be trivial to connect to a phone anywhere there's digital service. But it's far from trivial. Most of the people you talk to within the phone system are interested solely in selling you an expensive "total solution" in which you hand your entire company's data over to them, and can't be persuaded to talk about anything so mundane as delivering a single digital file to a single digital device. Information on how to talk device-to-device is exceedingly difficult to come by.

    • Well, VoIP's already used by millions who don't even know they're using it. A lot of the standard phone backbone at AT&T is based on VoIP.
  • no sh*t (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:42AM (#7852643)
    This should fall into a category of information that is labeled "duh". It doesn't take an engineer or a market analyst or even a high-school diploma to predict the rise of the internet as the medium for communications. IT'S ALREADY HERE! Point to a method of communication and I just bet that the internet has some relation to it now, or is expanding to include it. This is like me writing an article about how the sky will soon be blue, and all of you slashdot readers go outside and say: "That Jude character was right! The sky is BLUE!"

    Get a grip folks. This guy is no futurist. And he didn't predict this any more than Al Gore invented the internet. I.E.: They were involved but it would have happened without them.
  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:45AM (#7852662) Homepage Journal
    The Arpanet came before the net and demanded that all computers that connect to it do so with the same hardware and software.

    I was really disappointed to read this in the article. First, it wasn't true. There were a lot of such restrictions in the early implementations, but by the time that TCP was spec'd, there were already cases of interconnected hardware and software from different vendors. TCP was a (pretty good) attempt to codify what had been learned about how to do this.

    But more important is the point that such single-source restrictions were exactly why ARPA started funding what became the Internet. It was, to a great extent, a response to ongoing problems with electronic gadgets that couldn't talk to each other. The military (and ARPA was a military research agency) wanted this problem solved. What good were all those fancy-schmancy electronic thingies if they couldn't exchange data?

    If you look up the early docs from the ARPAnet, you'll see pretty pictures all over the place showing large numbers of electronic gadgets, obviously from a lot of different manufacturers, with lines between them showing the comm links. It's obvious that interconnecting hardware and software from different vendors was a major goal right from the start.

    There have been a number of comments on why ARPA gave their development money to universities rather than to commercial vendors. A number of military types were open about this from the start: They had learned that military contractors simply couldn't be forced to work together. Most attempts to get them to cooperate with data comm were pretty much dismal failures. They were competitors, after all. They would pretend to be cooperating, while doing everything they could to fix things so their competitors couldn't cooperate. This is still a problem, of course, and probably always will be. Commercial vendors sabotaging standards is a very familiar process.

    So ARPA took the approach of funding an independent gang of academic hackers. Give them equipment and money to pay students to hack away. Fund a few overseers to attempt to coordinate this herd of cats. When they seem to have something working, buy them some fun new hardware and challenge them to incorporate it with the old stuff. Try not to let them get lazy and develop a monoculture of equipment from a single vendor. Watch what they do, and carry off anything they produce that seems useful.

    But the intent from the start was to make all electronic gadgets talk sensibly to each other. If the early setups didn't achieve this, it was simply a case of "We're not there yet". The intent was to get there.

    • The Arpanet came before the net and demanded that all computers that connect to it do so with the same hardware and software.

      I was really disappointed to read this in the article. First, it wasn't true. There were a lot of such restrictions in the early implementations, but by the time that TCP was spec'd, there were already cases of interconnected hardware and software from different vendors. [...]

      Err, I think you may both be right; there were both IMPs, Interface Message Processors, minicomputers ma

    • If you look at the sentence again, what he is saying is the equipment required to connect to the ARPAnet had to be the same - and it was - all connections were via IMPs or Interface Message Processors. There were different types of computers behind the IMPs

      If you use the OSI RM to classify the ARPAnet, as all connections and technology was the same, it was mostly just a big link or data link layer network.

      Actually, being more specific, it was sort of like a cross between the network and link layers. It

  • The internet will be important in the future but we need to change the ownership. We need a non-profit body to run the internet and not a company.
  • Isn't that the one that's a major player in that dubious corporation, ICANN?
    • If you guys had any idea how much corruption there is behind the scenes of ICANN and, worse, it's Department of Commerce "oversight" you'd be more than disgusted.

      Keep in mind the original mandate of ICANN was for the preliminary board to ensure a member elected board was put in place in the first 6 months.

      Or that the "white paper" that mandated this was a revision of the "green paper" that said there would be a handful of new tlds waaaay back when not 4 years after the fact.

      Big business ownz the root zon
  • I can't remember the last time I've had human contact that wasn't over a computer...
  • The internet was not designed for such things as real time video, audio and broadcasting of any form. A lot of 'hacking' of the original protocols is necessary to support all these efficiently on the internet. VoIP and video on the web are 'cheap' simply because of the different way ISPs charge for bandwidth compared with telcos, and not because there is something inherently superior about using the net for everything. So there is the possibility of the internet continuing to run side by side with other
    • The Internet's system of breaking all data up into small, discrete packets and routing each packet to its destination independently is totally different from the traditional telephone system, which creates 'connections' in the system, which take your data from point A to point B. Experience with the Internet is starting to show us that, while packet systems are somewhat harder to get right technically, they are incredibly more versatile and useful. Even the telcos are realizing this as they start to route v
    • he internet was not designed for such things as real time video, audio and broadcasting of any form.

      True. But RTP (Real Time Protocol, RCC 1889) was added to the TCP/UDP list some years ago. Its implementation has been somewhat spotty. But most of the Net's infrastructure understands it, though your workstation may not. It's the main basis for VoIP.

      So there is the possibility of the internet continuing to run side by side with other communication systems.

      Or more likely, TCP and UDP will run side b
    • Very doubtful that communications infrastructures will run 'side-by-side' imho.
      Telcos are for-profit companies and are desperate to make money just like everyone else.
      Consider where their major costs lie. The costs of having physical media (fibre, copper, etc) running across the country and down the street and up the buildings far outweighs any other cost for any type of remote communication - including development, end-devices etc.

      Any communication methods that can share that most expensive resource (the
  • and let's not forget perls of the past such as "the information superhighway will revolutionize people's way of living", the "global village", the "new economy", "fridges will all be connected to the world wide web and will order food for you automatically".

    Visionary my foot
  • What is this, the third "I, Vint Cerf, Creator of the Internet, Hereby Proclaim....!" article in a week here?

    One more and I swear I'm going to turn into one of those single-purpose trolls like the apt-get guy or the Cory Doctorow troll. At least apt-get and Doctorow (admittedly two concepts I've never paired together before) have done something useful in the last decasde.

  • Fact is that yes more and more of us have the internet but Id hardly call a growth of 4% of the worlds population using the net: [nielsen-netratings.com] a basis for saying that all communication will happen via the internet. People just cant afford it.I see the internet as THE means of communication could happen for the moneyed clasees but conditions just arent there for it to be a universal means. After all a stamp at a one time price of 28p in the Uk costs a darn site less than the charges your isp slaps on you every month. Wh
    • Use of VoIP doesn't necessarily mean you need to be on the net.

      TelCos are replacing traditional circuit switches with soft switches and installing gateways. Soft switches switch both packet & circuit based calls. Gateways connect the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) to packet based data networks (generally private networks bacause of issues with security, priority, and latency -- possibly this will change with ipv6?). So users don't necessarily need a net connection to use VoIP. You pick up a

  • by crimson30 ( 172250 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @11:04AM (#7852733) Homepage
    "Mr Cerf has proposed extending the net to other planets"

    l33td00d: ph34r my l33t skillz!
    marvin01: I have an Iludium pew-36 Explosive Space Modulator that can blow up the entire planet.
    l33td00d: haha n00b! I pwn j00!
    marvin01: Soon I will finally be able to see Venus clearly.
    l33td00d: ha! I w1ll fuxX0r j00 up, l4m3r!
    marvin01: Look outside, Earthling!
    l33td00d: wtf!? .........
  • I think one thing that many 'visionaries' overlook is that someone will probably have to provide the information behind these magic new URLs like UPC:3466745689.

    In that case, the manufacturer would be a good bet... but what does ISBN:1-84146986-4 take you to?

    While I agree with all these visionaries, there is much that needs to be worked out first. A cynic would say that the open nature of the internet doesn't mesh with commercial enterprises, but I hope a compromise can be reached!

    • someone will probably have to provide the information behind these magic new URLs like UPC:3466745689.

      In that case, the manufacturer would be a good bet...


      Bet again.

      UPCs are provided to manufacturers by the UCC (United Code Council). If you pay enough money, you can have access to their entire up-to-date database. If you don't want to pay, you can try sites like the UPC database [upcdatabase.com], but they lack many entries.
    • > what does ISBN:1-84146986-4 take you to?

      Google :)

      Seriously, you'd probably have a locally cached list of providers for the ISBN scheme, so clicking the ISBN URN would consult the providers who would map it to a URL or choice of URL's (obviously need an interface for that, a search results window is probably appropriate). A librarian would probably want the library of congress, a home user might want amazon or bn. Browsers should probably be set up to use a sidebar to display the possible sources.

      P
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @11:11AM (#7852753)
    The internet (IP-based, as we know it) is only a complement to other forms of coummications. Phone-style networks that are switched and provide a virtually copper wire from one person to another (or several) is there to stay, because it provides constant, low latency. Postal services are there to stay as well because they can transport physical good (that can be information too).

    The only thing missing is a secure network. That's the fourth element that's really missing. If people had a secure network, they could vote and pay online. Current over-IP methods aren't good enough, and don't provide the sense of security needed. over-the-phone solutions aren't very secure either.

    The closest thing to a secure network I can think of it France's government-run X25 network, that powers the national Minitel network, that is inaccessible to anybody but authorised France Telecom personel, and runs completely separate from the internet. In fact, it was there before the internet. People in France use it massively to order and pay for things online, and some exams, notably the amateur radio exam, is taken on the Minitel too. Many people predicted the death of the Minitel because it's slow (1200/75 bauds) and very expensive (0.34 EUR / minute) but it's still around and going strong because people trust it, with good reasons.

    Once we have (1) the internet for most mundane data transfers, (2) the phone services, (3) the postal services and (4) the secure network, then people's habit will really change. As long as the secure network is missing, I don't think the internet alone will change much of anything.
    • (4) the secure network, then people's habit will really change. As long as the secure network is missing, I don't think the internet alone will change much of anything.

      I'd love to say you're right - but I can't. The "secure" physical network (separate from all other network infrastructure) does exist - but is rapidly being subsumed by IP infrastructure - some of which is over the subsumed pieces of ATM and other physical layers.

      The only secure network that will be created in the future will be done usi


    • Canada (Montreal, at least) had something similar in 1998, "Alex" [www.wlu.ca] as well as Videotron's Videoway (which was cable TV-based).
    • If it isn't, then I suggest Rosco do some research into a few topics I've discribed below.

      The internet (IP-based, as we know it) is only a complement to other forms of coummications.

      The Internet will replace all other application specific networks. The advantage of the Internet (and the underlying technology) is that it is generalised to support many types of applications, not one particular type. The classical example of an application specific network is the traditional voice network. If you want t

  • Although I do think that this is the way things are moving it won't be that simple.
    In the uk, where we don't have free local calls the home phone is on the point of dying out. Allot of people in their 20s already do without a home phone and simply rely on their mobiles. As the price of mobile calls drops and BT maintain their rediculous pricing it is not outragous to imagine the only place where phone lines are used are for small bussinesses.
    Larger organisations are already switching to IP phones and its likely that this could become the normal for small bussinesses aswell.

    I think any hardlines will be, within a few years, mostly broadband in one guise or another, with voice and data services both being run through the net. Thsi could lead to some interesting additions to the telephone service - more advanced caller ID, the ability to send bits of text and photos as part of the phone call(rather than telling someone to check their email), who knows what else.

    Mobile phones will be far more difficult to predict. They are still very much an area of growth rather than decline. Even the future of 3G phones is uncertain but I can imagine some integration with the expansion of wifi. An interesting case to look at is that of Rabbit - a pre-mobile phone idea which ran phones through local hotspots. A bit like a cordless phone with base stations around the country. We could well see Nokia producing dual phones that run through wifi if its available.

    One thing that is likely to happen is a diversification between the infrastructure and the services. You will have your mobile and hardlines provided by one company but then run your (god forbid) metred wifi access, phone calls, mobile calls and god knows what else through virtual companies. This can already seen through these companies offering cheap international calls such as OneTel.
  • Vint has made a habit of predicting things that do not come to be. IIRC, he has predicted several times that Linux would go nowhere. Reminds me of Bill Gates and Dorvack's predictions.

    IMHO, never trust somebody who has a vested interest in the outcome to make good predictions.
  • ... he also coined the phrase "cerf the internet"

    Nice going Vint!
  • Knowitall (Score:3, Funny)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @02:22PM (#7854017) Homepage Journal
    Vint oughta know; he's been claiming credit for inventing the Internet since Al Gore was in Vietnam.
    • Of course, he also said "VP Gore was the first or surely among the first of the members of Congress to become a strong supporter of advanced networking while he served as Senator."

      He is a supporter of Gore's statement that "during [his] service in the United States Congress, [he] took the initiative in creating the Internet."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Isn't that how a German pronouces "Wind Surf"?

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