"Web 2.0 = chmod 777 web
For those (non-geeks) who donÄôt get the reference, chmod is the Unix command allowing you to change the access control of a file or a folder, and 777 means that everyone can read/write/execute your file or read/write/traverse a folder. I.e the Read/Write Web (no Richard, no cease and desist please)."
The chmod 777 meme got picked up recently by Tim Bray, who pointed to IBMer James Snell's definition a year ago. Incidentally, I was secretly thrilled to discover that Tim Bray likes my blog - always cool when your tech heroes acknowledge you :-) [Update: I neglected to mentioned that it was James Governor who brought up my name to Tim - thanks James!]
So getting back to chmod 777. It is an incredibly geeky definition. Also of course the whole 'defining web 2.0' thing is very much played out - I'll start issuing Cease and Desist letters soon to blogs that continue to do it :-) Even Mike Arrington has stopped using his 'Tracking Web 2.0' tagline and he thinks the 'Web as OS' theme is the next phase. I agree, because 'Web as platform' has always been my staple definition of... you know what.
But there is something nice about this chmod 777 definition of what's going on in the current era of the Web. Laurent Denoue emailed me about it, saying:
"each number maps to an entity:
- the first number maps to your permissions
- the second to the group permission
- the third to everyone's else
Each number is the decimal representation of the binary: RWX
So if you want to set full rights (read, write and execute) for a given entity, you use 111 <=> 7
in the end, using 777 means that you, your group and everyone else has full rights.
I think that the power of chmod 777 web is that it's not only readable (e.g. CNN), and writable (e.g. blogs), but also executable: you can actually do stuff (e.g. writerly, etc.)."
In any case, I don't really care what it's called these days. It's all about the evolution of the Web, when it comes down to it. My inspiration when I started R/WW was Dave Winer's Two-Way Web theory and of course Tim Berners-Lee, who as far as I know was the first to use the term 'read/write web' - but I haven't been able to confirm that. Anyone got a link to TBL using that term? Perhaps he just used the 'read/write' bit. Either way it'd be hard to credit anyone else but him for coining it, because right from the start TBL always wanted the Web to be read/write. FWIW this was my first post on the topic.