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The Time Has Come to Ditch Email? 398

Krishna Dagli writes to mention an article at The Register claiming that it's time we stop using email to communicate. From the article: "The problem is, email is now integral to the lives of perhaps a billion people, businesses, and critical applications around the world. It's a victim of its own success. It's a giant ship on a dangerous collision course. All sorts of brilliant, talented people today put far more work into fixing SMTP in various ways (with anti-virus, anti-phishing technologies, anti-spam, anti-spoofing cumbersome encryption technologies, and much more) than could have ever been foreseen in 1981. But it's all for naught."
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The Time Has Come to Ditch Email?

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  • Re:Acronym soup. (Score:3, Informative)

    by mypalmike ( 454265 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:48AM (#15454589) Homepage
    My favorite quote:

    "A completely new, secure email system would be the internet's next big critical application. If it required IPv6 addressing, maybe secure email would also kill those ridiculous "tiered internet ( )" ideas with one stone. But I'm just thinking aloud."

    Your ISP can throttle an IPv4 stream just as well as an IPv6 stream. And why would an email protocol "kill teh tiered intarweb"? Amazing stuff.
  • Not to mention that the majority of so-called "noobs" use Webmail services, who could use GPG/PGP 'wizards' that would automagically setup up signed e-mail.

    Setting up GPG/PGP e-mail is not a technical or knowledge problem, its an implementation problem, in terms of e-mail client design.
  • Re:Right...... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:09PM (#15454791) Homepage
    How exactly does this new email system stop phishing? Oh, right, it can't. Have a link, go to a malicious website, etc. How exactly does this new email system stop users from clicking executables thinking that they are going to see nudie pictures of Katie Holmes?
    They don't. How does this new email stop virii? It won't

    Nothing is perfect, but having reliable source authentication (so that everyone can easily tell which emails are really from PayPal and which are from criminals pretending to be PayPal) would go a long way towards minimizing the problems caused by phishing.

    The clicking-on-executables problem could be addressed by tagging executable that arrived via unauthenticated email as "untrusted", and either refusing to run them, or allowing them to be run only in a secure/sandboxed environment.

  • Re:in other news (Score:3, Informative)

    by harrkev ( 623093 ) <> on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:09PM (#15454799) Homepage
    I am not saying that it HAS not use, but it is an evolutionary dead-end. Usenet could hang on for another 20 years. But, AFAIK, no new uses are being developed for it. It is probably loosing users a lot faster than it is gaining (except maybe the "alt.binary.*" secion, but that is for other reasons).

    You can get web and e-mail on your phone. Companies are developing small PDA-sized tablet computers to access the web and e-mail. When have you heard of a news reader for a phone?

    My guess is that porn and warez is the ONLY reason that usenet still exists. Yes, I know that there are some useful groups, but with the low traffic that those get, they could esily be moved to web forums. The only real advantage of a usenet forum is that the bandwidth is distributed, so that you do not have one "host" being stuck with the bill.

    It is not that I am biased against usenet. If you search back far enough, I even have a post or two on "alt.swedish.chef.bork.bork.bork." But I fail to see the need for it any more.
  • Re:in other news (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sonnekki ( 978779 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:14PM (#15454844)
    Writing clients / servers for these protocols is horrible. They were made within 30 years ago and for humans to interact with. I've been writing an SMTP server and its hell because the protocol is just disgusting and its horribly abused. If someone doesn't step up to create better protocols, I will! Beyond that point no one can complain xD!!
  • by bheer ( 633842 ) <rbheer@gm a i l .com> on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:18PM (#15454899)
    Email will get replaced the same way that land lines are being replaced by cell phones.

    In what world has land lines _replaced_ cell phones? Even ignoring the American market, where many vendors charge to receive calls on cellphones, cellphone airtime is expensive. The only people I can think of out of my head for whom cellphones are a complete landline replacement are students in dorm rooms.

    In the real world, people are discovering that landlines can bring them high-speed broadband (which is a huge killer app for land lines). In some urban areas, your landline needn't even be copper, it can be cable- or fiber-based, in which case you can probably get other services (TV/VOIP) on top of your landline.

  • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:55PM (#15455929)
    And you can be sure Microsoft wouldn't be one of them, or, if they did, they'd do it all wrong.

    Well, we have lived through this with the WWW and we still have standards. Yes, Microsoft was involved. Yes, Microsoft did it all wrong and yes, many IE quirks became defacto standards. However, there is still a standard and at a fundamental level it is still adhered to by all imporatant players. And guess what? Microsoft is being forced to step in line, albeit slowly. Pre .net FrontPage and ASP development tools spewed out atrocious, non-compliant code and ActiveX has been a sourge on the Web. In the early days on Vista development MS boldly declared teh web browser as a distinct application obsolete and abandoned new IE development. Microsoft has, as a result, suffered the consequenses (buggy, insecure software, backlash from users and web developers for its inconsistent rendering behaviour, resurgence of Mozilla browsers, etc).

    Now, MS has had to admit they still need a browser and are readying a long-overdue major release of IE and with every version of Visual Studio.Net the HTML generated by ASP.Net apps is more compliant and cross-browser compatible. Standards DO have an effect and given the climate MS is now in (with extra regulatory scruitiny and a slowly but surely growing competition) they may still botch the implementation, but they wouldn't blatanly flout standards like they have in years past.
  • by molarmass192 ( 608071 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @03:06PM (#15456691) Homepage Journal
    Per minute that might be medium installation, large ISP installations are gauged in emails *per second*. If these shops had only had 75 emails per second (4500/min), the admins would be freaking out wondering what part of the system had gone down.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes