Re: FoRK This Action!! (P2P's Dark Side)

From: Derek Robinson (
Date: Fri Mar 02 2001 - 12:37:29 PST

Hmmm ...

About "who pays" -- it seems to me that, with the exception of customers
of 'free ISPs' (e.g. Juno), everyone already pays some business entity or
other to give them access to the internet. There's obviously lots of money
to be made (just ask AOL) providing basic network services billable by the
month -- web, email, newsgroups, the standard 10 or 20 MB. storage for a
website/homepage. It's the food-chain of ISPs (all the way up to AT&T et
al.) who might be poised to profit from providing enhanced P2P networking
capability to their subscribers. NATs, I understand, can be problematic
for anyone wishing to open up their PC to The Two Way Web, but unless your
ISP explicitly bans CGI scripts on your personal homepage (i.e., that 20
MB. of free storage bundled into your internet utility bill ... though it
seems fewer ISPs are willing to allow customers to run web servers these
days) there shouldn't be anything to prevent a loosely coupled network of
peers from together maintaining a free-form dynamic "Domain Name Server"
hosted by a floating coalition of casually / sporadically connected users
who may individually lack fixed IP addresses or proper domain names. (In
Tim B-L's original vision of the Web, nobody has to manually enter a URL
anyway; that's what the clickable HTML anchors are for. What IP address
you "really" have is pretty much beside the point as long you're able to
contact the intended parties.) And as another FoRKer recently pointed out
[*** see below], the crucial network bottleneck, hence control point, is
the DNS index of users who want to connect to other users.

*** Gregory Bolcer, quoting Lloyd Blythen's "Peer to Peer: the Federation
Fights God", quoting Endeavors' President Brian Morrow (FoRKed Fri. Feb
23, 2001) --

>>But there's a bigger issue which binds them together: God. "Who gets to
>>play God?" is the key question facing the P2P community, according to
>>Morrow, by which he means who will own the registry of peers. The most
>>likely answer at present may be "America OnLine".
>>The beauty of P2P is that, unlike the alternative client/server
>>architecture, all peers have the ability to perform both client and
>>server functions. The down-side is that, on first connecting to the
>>network, each peer must blindly search for other peers -unless something

>>"plays God". In this context, God is a central registry to which peers
>>announce themselves and obtain information about other peers that are
>>on-line; it may also act as a repository of security and other
>>information. At present AOL has by far the most pervasive P2P network,
>>and is therefore in the best position to play God, thanks to its
>>ubiquitous Instant Messenger service.

But why not a dynamic web page your friends can log onto any time they're
online, with some small server side script that updates / reroutes a
DNS-built-for-a-few? After all, apart from the novelty of talking to
strangers who are excited about participating in P2P's brave new groove,
who else do I want to talk to but my friends, family and associates? At
wch. point P2P dissolves into something that looks suspiciously like a
Wiki-Web ... and hey, HTML has this cool "File Upload" feature too,

If anyone can point out the fallacy in my thinking I'd be much obliged.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:13:19 PDT