Multiple internets

From: Alain LaBonté  (
Date: Thu Dec 21 2000 - 13:27:35 EST

À 21:13 2000-12-20 -0800, Tex Texin a écrit:
>Actually, I didn't find the suggestion of multiple internets all that
>bad, although there would need to be some cross-over capabilities.
>There are already other proposals for splinter groups, for higher
>bandwidth or greater security. As more of my web searches return
>irrelevant pages, splintering starts to look good. Put all the porn
>on its own net... What's wrong with an all French net? When I
>watch TV, the station doesn't suddenly change languages... (Well most
>of them don't...)
>Of course it should all be in Unicode. I am not advocating an all
>ISO 8859-15 net...

[Alain] Multiple internets already exist, they are called intranets, and I
personally don't like them (even my employer was not able to force me to
use the proprietary choice of environment that he made). But for security
reasons, intranets have their place, of course. Completely disconnected, I
see them, only for security reasons, when necessary.

    That said, we should never assume that communications within two
countries is uniformly what we think it is. Last week, I succeeded -- with
the help of the Internet -- to retrieve an old Chinese friend (born in
Beijing, 3 years younger than me) from whom I no longer had news (since 6
years). This guy is like a little brother to me (he taught me Mandarin for
3 years and I went to China with him and a group of friends on vacation for
5 weeks in 1987 -- we have been friends for years in the city of Québec)...
He is now in Hong Kong. However, communicating with him in French -- and it
would have been the same with Chinese -- is a nightmare... See what he
wrote today:

    "A propos ,il n'y a pas de logiciel francais dans mon ordinateur, donc,
ce que tu m'a ecris se parait comme celui d'un extraterreste qui ecrit en
francais et en meme temps leur propre devinne quand meme le
sense. La solution est de utiliser les lettres anglais pour ecrire en

    Disregard the bad style. He says that we have to use unaccented letters
(English letters, he calls them!) to write in French and that what he is
seeing on his screen is like extraterrestrial script (probaly Chinese
characters intermixed with Latin letters) and that he is able to guess
anyway what I am saying. This is painful, as painful as trying not to put
dots over i's when you write a manuscript letter (try tgis, you'll get a
headache -- that's an exercise we do in graphologic circles, a hobby of

    I would much like to communicate with him using Unicode. However that's
a game that has to have two participating players (and he is not a
"computer person").

    We need to find ways to upgrade the whole world to the universal
character set (of course tools like 8859-15 are necessary for transition,
they are useful tools otherwise we can't communicate without loss either
between Unicode and older technology within the same language circle --
which is worldwide too, regardless of the language).

    How much time will the transition last, that is the question? As long
as monolingual communications in any language will be the most spread
paradigm worldwide, transition will be eternal. Under such conditions, the
Polytechnical University where my friend works in Hong Kong and all my
correspondents will continue to use their old coding system, precluding
real worldwide communications.

    The biggest mistake was not to start multilingually in the 1960's with

Alain LaBonté
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