[KS] Korea's Internet problems

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Wed Feb 21 04:04:15 EST 2007

Thanks to Brother Anthony and Owen Miller!
The online article by Anil Dash that Owen Miller refers to is 
brilliant, including the title. Anil Dash, vice president of 
SixApart, is an absolute geek in that area (Microsoft monoculture). 
What's more, his own newest development in Movable Type blog software 
will work for businesses that use Microsoft Office 2007 under the 
just released Windows Vista. In short, he won't be able to sell his 
own web publishing software to the Korean market (which is pretty 
big) if Koreans won't install Vista. We can imagine that he got the 
right "drive" for writing that article when visiting Korea -); But 
that's by no means to say that he isn't right on the point with his 
article -- he sure is.

For those less technically involved, 128-bit "SSL encryption" is what 
the entire world uses -- any https://... secure site (other than in 
Korea) you visit to make an online payment, online banking, etc. uses 
SSL encryption. Active X control technology (that allowed to download 
SEED) was short-lived and was some internal attempt preceding SSL 
encryption that not even Microsoft was interested in after SSL 
encryption was finalized. The fact that Microsoft discontinues its 
use could be anticipated since years and does not come as a surprise. 
As Anil Dash writes: "SEED is, of course, used nowhere else except 
South Korea, because every other nation waited for the 128 bit SSL 
protocol to be finalized (and exported from the US) and have 
standardized on that." I have little doubt that Korean businesses 
would have shifted to SSL encryption 15 years ago had not the ROK 
government regulated encryption and bet on the wrong horse.

In a way, what we see here is a marriage of Korea's monoculture with 
Microsoft's monoculture. How do their children look like? Dash points 
to Dan Geer's older report (also see: 
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0%2C1895%2C2013820%2C00.asp) that warns 
of software monoculture resulting in similar problems than biological 
(inbreeding). In the end this is a problem child of Korea's political 
culture, not a technological problem.


Frank Hoffmann
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