Re: CU, MeetingPoint, ERef, Etc. - Can we all get along?

Andrew Clarke (
Mon, 11 May 1998 21:23:49 BST

[Gary Deitz Wrote]

Much snippage will ensue:


> 3) ERef is a great program, and I encourage people to use it when
> appropriate. It is especially useful for people who want to experiment, have
> a lot of previous systems experience, and want to essentially "run chat
> rooms" on their (or their collge's) own dime. So use ERef if you need to.
> Really. Its free!

"ERef! The software for freeloaders..." :)

Actually, in my estimation it's applicable for the majority of uses that MPCS
is used for "out there". Obviously those who need H.323 or T.120 etc will
need to use MPCS, but for those of us who just want a CU-SeeMe reflector, I
can't think of many things that edge out Eref compared with MPCS, and that's
*not* including the price.

> 4) What perplexes me is the CONSTANT snide bashing that both Brian and Jason
> intermingle with their helpful tech notes, and ignoring the BLANTANTLY
> factual misstatements they make. You know, they contantly put WP down when
> essentially, we are "on the same side." Hard to believe sometimes, but true.

Ok, here's my take on when the rot set in, in a kind of chronological order:

WP CU 2.1.x - Great software, with few bugs and easy to use. I'm sure you'll
have difficulty in finding people who didn't like it, and it's limitations
were not actually that limiting. I was (and still am) a 2.1.x fan.

WP CU 3.0 - Awful awful software. It should never have been released. More
bugs than the insect house at London Zoo and the *only* piece of non-system
software that caused my NT 4 setup to blue screen of death. I don't know why
it was rushed out, I'm not aware of any other comparable software that was
hitting the market around that time, but it needed another month or two of
thorough testing before being let out on the world. Lots of people were
really looking forward to 3.0, I certainly was, and what we got was *hugely*
disappointing. *THIS* was the turning point as far as I'm concerned.

WP CU 3.1 - Better software. Fewer bugs, faster, etc. Still hampered with
a Microsoft reject UI and enough really annoying problems to not help as far
as John Q Public is concerned. It's also still bloated, slow, and just so
damned counter intuative, when I writing software professionally I would
*never* have produced something to hard to use. I was writing training
systems for the aviation security market, hellishly complex under the surface
but presenting an 'Idiot R us' front end that idiots could actually use, and I
know an overly complex UI when I see one.

WP CU 3.1.1 (beta) - I've not even bothered downloading it, and I doubt I
actually will. 'Nuff said.

Cornell CU 1.0 - Does almost everything that the average INTERNET CU user
needs, cost's zilch, is easy to use and understand, and is fast and small. I
don't think I need to explain where I'm going here.

WP CU 4.x (unknown) - Has a huge disadvantage before it's even see the light
of day because WP now has a very negative image amongs the internet CU
community. When and if it appears, and if I regard it as the worthy sucessor
of 2.1.x (which i don't regard 3.x to be) I promise you I *will* say so just
as vocally as I now go against 3.x. You have my word as an Englishman :)

You should also note I didn't mention the reflectors there, because I actually
like them. Even though I'm very pro-Eref, and I hope I've contributed to it's
development in my own limited capacity, I admire the WP refs from a technical

> That being said, Jason's last comment, "White Pine loses" really set me off.
> So, I hereby promptly igore its personal nature and simply ask the following
> factual questions (and please take these questions in the context of #3 above.)

After re-reading his post, Jason was correct. If cost is an issue when it
comes to setting up a ref, then White Pine *will* lose, it's a fact and one I
really don't thing warrants exploding over.

[snip a list of why MPCS does lots of spiffy things, including making your
toast in the morning and taking the kids to school]

Yes, MPCS is very good. And for the price it bloody well better.

> I could go on.


1) Does MPCS run on Linux? FreeBSD? OS/2? (Ok, I had to include the last one,
I did have a hand in the port :)

2) Does MPCS allow you to disable audio on a per-conf or ref-wide basis?

3) Does MPCS allow you to disable private chat on a per-conf or ref-wide

4) Does MPCS do (insert feature X here)?

Listing what MPCS can do knowing fully well Eref can't, or vice versa isn't
wholly productive is it? They are being developed to do different things, but
the dispute isn't about refs, it's about clients.

> My SUMMARY point is that YES White Pine charges. Of course we do. We are
> trying to do very different things that Brian G is. I am contstantly
> perplexed at how Jason and Brian ignore the upside to what WP is doing.

<sarcasm> Yes, producing bloated, ugly, buggy clients </sarcasm>


> As always, your humble (and consistently list-bashed ;-) servant,

It's not your fault Gary, I'm sure you're a great guy :) Nothing of the
spleen I vented above (or previously here or on IRC or on web-pages) is aimed
personally against any one individual (although whichever middle manager
decided that 3.0 was ready for release needs a good kicking :), but rather at
the shortcomings of your company's products. In this case it's CU, I'm not
interested in MPCS because my ref runs on FreeBSD, and I have no need for
pretty user interfaces, H.323 support or my toast making for me. I *am*
interested in the client and I will continue to vocalise what I see as it's
problems until a) I'm thorougly bored with shouting at a corporate brick wall,
or b) the free alternative does everything I need. A is close, B is much

But if I started my anti-Netmeeting rant, you'd think everything I said above
came out of the mouth of Mother Theresa :)

CU soon.

Andrew Clarke - "Will diss WP for free software".
PGP Public Key available on request
"Having your nuts nibbled off by a Laplander, that's a way to die." - Nothing interesting that way lies