IN the years before the Internet, or perhaps I should say in the years before the general public found out about the Internet, there was the Source. Does anybody still remember it? Then there was CompuServe, which eventually bought the Source. While many ordinary people were getting excited over things like the Source and CompuServe, the academic community was quite happy using the Internet. When CompuServe finally did buy out the Source in July 1989, it looked for a while as if there would be little competition for the on-line giant. Even though Prodigy and America On-line are big within the United States itself, it is CompuServe that has the largest share outside the US. But eventually even CompuServe had to give in to the Internet madness that has been growing wilder over the past few years and provide its users with access. Now access is created by providing members with a separate telephone number that allows them to create a SLIP or PPP account. Logging into the World-Wide Web is, therefore, not all that different through CompuServe than it is through one of Hong Kong's Internet service providers (ISP). Apple, on the other hand, decided to do things differently. For those who join eWorld, the relative newcomer to on-line service, all that is needed is the Apple web browser which can be downloaded from eWorld itself. After joining eWorld, the new member gets two 3.5 inch diskettes - in the mail, I may add - which contain the software needed to get on to eWorld. After logging on for the first time, it is easy to download the web browser. Once you have the web browser, installing it is a click of the mouse. Getting on to the Internet and the World-Wide Web from eWorld is simple. The little eWorld town has a 'motorway' that leads from the town on to an even larger motorway. The large one is the Internet. By clicking the mouse on the 'on-ramp' you enter the Internet. If you then click on the icon for the World-Wide Web, you are dumped into the Apple browser program, if you have it. This eliminates the need to exit eWorld and ring another, different number, and set up all the nonsense needed to get SLIP or PPP going. This is by far the easiest way to get on to the World-Wide Web that I know of. The distinction, however, between an on-line service provider and an Internet service provider seems to be blurring every day. In America, CompuServe has announced the launch of a service that will link people directly to the Internet. By making only a local call, it will be possible to go directly on to the Internet. The catch here, of course, is the term 'local call'. The service for the time being will be good only in the US. Jean Ng, division manager of CompuServe in Hong Kong, said there were no plans to provide the same service in the territory. Apple, too, has been busy changing its thinking on these matters. By the end of the year, eWorld will begin to change as well, bringing more direct connections to the Internet and, eventually, with a lot of Asian local language support. It would seem, therefore, that all roads do not lead to Rome after all; they lead to the Internet.