Re: ARTICLE: Despite the buzz, peer-to-peer startups lack business benefits

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From: Strata Rose Chalup (
Date: Thu Dec 21 2000 - 18:04:36 PST

Oh, come ON!!!

Napster isn't a real P2P solution, Napster is a bunch of independent,
not able to share data between them servers that are "centralized"
through a round robin MX or layer 3/4 load balancing or equivalent.
Napster *is* a centralized server with a fat pipe, it's just a pile of
them instead of one.

Client lookup to server, followed by client to client contact is a
centralized solution relying on a distributed data model. Napster she
go poof, Nappieboys canna talk to each other unless somebody put up new
server, compris?

A truly P2P service would rely on dynamic discovery of root-server
equivalents, kinda like Anubis
(, something I wrote up in 1994
and presented at Defcon 2 (my first and only) but never bothered to
publish 'cause it was so damn obvious. You can put all kinds of layers
of indirection in there to minimize data obligations (or maximize them),
use out of band pre-negotiated channels to exchange root server
information, decide you have transfinite resources and do a subscriber
multicast ring for root lookups, etc etc etc.

All P2P is just a mapping service between arbitrary-string-A and
network-reachable-address-B, with however many layers of indirection you
want to put in there. That's all. No magic. Everybody can be a client
and everybody can be a server. Just like the OLD net, the one they
called ARPA, before people got used to thinking of a bunch of glorified
terminals with 8086 chips in them as "computers" instead of "dumb nodes"
and thus confused everybody else into forgetting what "host" and
"server" meant.

C'mon you guys, you know this stuff. As St. Dogbert says, "Don't make
me come over there..."


Lucas Gonze wrote:
> The scalability of Napster doesn't just apply to disk and pipe, it also allows them
> to scale as a tastemaker. At Walmart, the need for economies of scale forces them to
> provide one-size-fits-all choices. As Napster grows it supports smaller and smaller
> niches.
> How could something as timely, stupid and irresponsible as those fake Danger Kitty
> cuts ever show up on a centralized server? The degree to which Napster is responsive
> to their users would be nearly impossible to reach with a centralized system. This
> is like the Santa Claus problem. Santa really doesn't have time to find out that I
> like orange mittens but not red, but if each kid has a parent to track their taste it
> is completely practical.
> - Lucas
> > You're saying Napster could have been done by anyone with a big server
> > farm and a fat pipe? Isn't that true of most P2P projects? Couldn't SETI
> > be run on a big Beowulf cluster at NASA? I think the point of Napster was
> > that Shawn didn't have a server farm, and didn't have a fat pipe, and that
> > P2P allowed the users to get around that resource limitation.
> >
> > I don't know whether, historically, Shawn thought of the resources first
> > or the (alleged) copyright circumvention first, but even if there were no
> > copyright issues, P2P file sharing let them solve a problem through peers
> > when they couldn't afford a centralized solution.
> >
> > -Matt Jensen
> >
> > Seattle
> >
> >

Strata Rose Chalup [KF6NBZ]            
VirtualNet Consulting                  
 ** ISP/ASP Systems Integration, Architecture, & Project Management **

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