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

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From: Lucas Gonze (
Date: Fri Dec 22 2000 - 10:48:38 PST

Best to make a distinction between P2P and decentralization. The first is, well,
whatever is like Napster. The second is the stuff you are talking about.

Jeff Kay's feelings about hype overwhelming reality express how I feel about the
situation perfectly. It's not just annoying to see projects that have nothing to do
with decentralization issue press releases adding P2P to their buzzword list, it
makes it harder for real P2P projects to break through the clutter. This drives me
bananas but there is nothing I can do about it. And for all those forkers who have
done exactly that, I will not name names but you owe me a drink, Adam.

Even though Napster is a hybrid model, not purely decentralized, it is the canonical
P2P project. To me Napster is about making use of resources stranded on clients.
Popular Power is P2P but it is not decentralized. Decentralization is one technique
to do this.

- Lucas

> 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..."
> _SRC
> 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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