To accommodate information exchange through Internet, several protocols have been developed: telnet, ftp, archie, gopher, veronica, WWW, wais, etc. Modern clients of network information systems, like Mosaic and Netscape, `speak' several of these protocols, allowing a user to connect to information servers based on a variety of protocols. Expectations are that future clients will be of a modular nature, each module being tuned to a specific protocol. A client may be updated to accomodate a new protocol or new features, simply by adding or replacing a module.
The concept could be used in astronomy, to add functionality to an astronomical network information system, but also for the installation of software packages. The first step in software installation would then be to download a special module, related to the specific package, which completely automatically takes care of the subsequent retrieval, installation, and verification of the software, much along the lines discussed in section 2.