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Does Peer-to-Peer Suck?

JonKatz posted more than 13 years ago | from the more-hype-from-the-techno-revolution dept.

Technology 150

Peer-to-Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies from O'Reilly, presents p2p as the next great thing on the Internet. Maybe. (Please - jump into this discussion). This book will tell you every technical detail you ever dreamed of knowing about peer-to-peer, but it fails to make the case that this complex, collaborative, subterranean technology will have much impact or appeal beyond the tech elite obsessively engaged in making and touting it. And, of course, keeping free -- some will say stolen -- music alive.(Read more).

In most of the world, inventors identify a need and wear themselves out creating innovations to meet it. On the Net, the creative process seems to work in reverse: you make cool and exciting stuff, and assume that somebody, somewhere will eventually want to use it. It helps to announce, in the process, that the new gizmo will change everything about the way we (take your pick) communicate, do business, go to the movies, have sex, get an education, acquire music.

On the cover of Peer-to-Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies, there's a blurb from the respected Stanford Law Net guru Lawrence Lessig:

"Peer-to-Peer," he exults,"is the next great thing for the Internet."

If we've learned anything in the past decade or so, it's to run for your life whenever you hear anybody say that. The next great thing on the Internet usually turns out to be something like sex sites, instant messaging, free music or free Web pages. A couple of months ago, we were being told that TiVo was going to alter everything about marketing, but now digital replay recording sales are in the tank. Most people know the difference between something that's neat and something they need.

One thing you can take to the bank (if it's still letting you in the door): Peer-to-Peer is not the next great thing, on the Net or off. It's a great thing, a fascinating and fun thing, especially for the thousands of tech gurus and coders and free music hogs who design and use it. And it unquestionably has some seriously social implications, like rendering censorship or government regulation very nearly impossible, creating new kinds of anonymous payment systems, and giving individuals unprecedented, and perhaps even permanent access to data, communications, ideas and freedom of a kind.

P2P, writes Clay Shirky in a recent essay defining peer-to-peer, is a class of applications that takes advantages of particular resources -- storage, cycles, content, human presence -- that are available at the edges of the Internet, beyond the conventional reach of governments, institutions and businesses.

Because getting to these intensely decentralized resources means operating in a new environment -- unstable connectivity, unpredictable IP addresses -- p2p nodes must operate outside the existing domain name system and have total autonomy from central servers. That, says Shirky, an influential writer about society and the Net, is what makes p2p distinctive. (But even basic definitions about what p2p is aren't clear: One programmer read this paragraph and wrote me: "I don't quite agree. It would seem to me that you need to have very fault tolerant and abuse-tolerant systems that can handle nodes coming and going constantly. That's more the issue, not so much the unpredictable IP addresses. Basically, it needs to be a system that can handle having people connect and disconnect from it at random.")

Whatever. The Digerati and the idealistic are swooning over p2p. They say it's heralding a new age in the personal control of information.

Peer-to-peer, writes Andy Oram of O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. in the introduction of this book, was the eyebrow raiser for the summer of 2000. Napster, SETI@home, Freenet, Gnutella, Jabber and .Net (Microsoft's big P2P gamble) shocked the computer world, and woke it from its long slumber, says Oram. (Was it, in fact, asleep?)

What's the excitement all about? "In various ways, they (these p2p) sites, return content, choice and control to ordinary users," Oram says. Tiny endpoints on the Internet, sometimes without even knowing each other, exchange information and form communities. There are no more clients and servers -- or at least, the servers retract discreetly. Instead, the significant communication takes place between cooperating peers. That is why, diverse as such developments are, it is appropriate to lump them together under the "peer-to-peer" rubric.

This idea is sweeping alternative media. Erik Moeller recently set up a mailing list for p2p journalism which suggests the direction some people believe p2p media might be taking us. "Collaborative journalism" or peer-to-peer-journalism," writes Moeller, "is understood as referring to weblogs and interactive communities where users submit and filter articles and/or comments. We are... interested in exploring new opportunities offered by decentralized networks, or Napster-like content sharing." But it's far from clear what those "opportunities" might be; how collaborative media will work, or what good it might do, let alone whether such media are economically feasible or able to reach any significant audiences. Like those falling trees in the forest, information needs critical mass. It has to be seen and heard by substantial numbers of people to have significance.

There is a utopian flavor about p2p -- freedom for everyone all of the time. Nobody embraces populism more than various political elites, even though there's no evidence that the masses are looking for decentralized info. The problem is that some of the best media has been organized, accountable and coherent in ways that may not be possible in a de-centralized information model.

There is a school of thought that says individuals don't want to control every aspect of everything to do with their lives -- electricity, water, sewage come to mind -- and that information technologies are already overwhelming and incoherent. At the moment, p2p raises more questions than answers or possibilities. Gnutella replaces Napster, which is important to many people, but that doesn't translate into the Net's next great thing.

In a chapter on trust, the authors write about open issues like the absence of a global Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to guarantee anonymity, something many programmers believe isn't possible and is never going to happen. As the writers correctly point out, this has enormous implications for the future of so-called "censorship-resistant" publishing systems, since there are so many ways to trace people and correlate their online activity that any promise of anonymity may be misguided. Which means the idea of a censorship-resistant technology itself may be doubtful.

Chapter Sixteen deals with the accountability of peer-to-peer programs, including one p2p's most touted potential applications, anonymous macropayment digital cash schemes. The micropayment systems discussed in the book offer strong security and anonymity, write the authors, but they come at a cost. "The computational and size requirements of such digital cash are much greater." And they operate more slowly. The writings on digital cash suggest these systems may be workable -- or might even come to pass -- but they have the ring of sci-fi about them, like hover cars; dazzling uses of technology that soar far above the heads, or perhaps even the needs, of most consumers.

Napster is the most widely-heralded example of the p2p revolution, even though, technically, Napster did operate from a central server, and...er...seems to be dying. (But it's peer-to-peer, writes Shirky, because the addresses of Napster nodes bypass DNS, and because once the Napster server resolves the IP addresses of the PC's hosting a particular song, it shifts control of the file transfers to the nodes.)

Shirky wrote the very interesting chapter of this book called "Listening to Napster," in which he writes that what makes Napster and Popular Power and Freenet and AIMster and Groove similiar is that they are all leveraging previously unused resources (mostly by using variable connectivity). This lets them make new, powerful use of the countless millions of devices that have been connected to the edges of the Net in recent years. Perhaps to make P2P clearer, Alexander Graham Bell is often cited, in this book and elsewhere, as an organizer of P2P, the phone a classic example of primal peer-to-peer technology.

The idea is that peer-to-peer is exciting because it harnesses all this unused space, power and connectivity, draws from the basic Net/hacker, free software/Open Source idea of reversing the flow of information, giving more power to individuals to control their own information lives, escaping government or corporation control and domination. Nodes of thought, conversation and data-sharing can flourish far from control of corporate lawyers, FBI agents or copyright snitches, and communications are more lateral and anonymous.

So peer-to-peer is being championed as a technology, a business opportunity and an investment, as well as a revolutionary new means of empowering people and protecting their civil liberties and sense of individualism. Sounds pretty good. In the book, Usenet news and its decentralized model of control is cited as the grandaddy of todays' peer-to-peer applications. Usenet, created in l979, uses no central control, and copies files between computers.

In the afterword, Oram tries to look ahead to the possible implications, to the fact that p2p technologies may challenge governments and corporations. Putting tools in the hands of individual users could have an enormous impact on business models, writes Oram. People might no longer buy a technical manual from O'Reilly & Associates; they might download it from a peer instead, or more creatively perhaps, extract and combine pieces of it along with other material from a number of different peers. This, Oram adds, could further weaken conventional notions of copyright.

Peer-to-peer is useful where "the goods you're trying to get at lie at many endpoints; in other words, where the value of information lies in the contributions of many users rather than the authority of one." It's obvious that this could be valuable in research and some kinds of business development. But the book offers precious few examples of the kind of information that might be valuable in that way to large numbers of people.

This all echoes, in the highest traditions of the hacker ethic, the idealistic founders of the Net and Web, and the ideologists behind Open Source.

But as interesting as it is, and important as some of its applications and implications already are, I personally don't believe peer-to-peer will move beyond the interests and worklives of a relative handful of computer technologists, many of whom seem to have lost touch with the needs, aspirations, frustrations and lives of middle-class Americans, who are always -- always -- the people who decide which media technologies will actually revolutionize the world and which will not.

Consumers seem quite happy to buy their books in bookstores or online, in one piece and in traditional form. Nobody is abandoning movies, magazines aren't vanishing, even the record industry racked up more money than ever before last year: $15 billion.

When peer-to-peer advocates cite the telephone as an example of P2P's usefulness, seeking perhaps to piggy-back on its astonishing success and truly revolutionary impact, they ought to stop and think. People who were geographically isolated, whose lives often depended on getting in touch with the outside world, who desperately needed a way of talking quickly with one another, found that the phone provided an essential technological utility at little cost and with considerable reliability.

To use their new technology, they simply had to order it, and someone came to their house and installed it. Almost from the first, it was inexpensive and comprehensible. People didn't have to manipulate it, and the old AT&T, like many pre-corporatist companies, understood the notion of tech support and customer service. If the thing didn't work, somebody came to your house and fixed it or replaced it pronto. You didn't have to discuss it with them on the phone for hours, either. Especially after the first decade or so, the phone company took completely responsibility for creating and maintaining the technologies they brought into homes.

For anyone in the computer industry to compare that level of service and support with complex new information technologies in which the point is that nobody is in charge or responsible for explaining or fixing things is absurd. The public would be crazy to buy that argument. Peer-to-peer is touted as a democratizing force in computing, but it's hard to imagine a time when more than a handful of people will be able to understand, let alone use, it.

The explosion on moderating, filtering and other individualistic systems in recent years has touched off a wave of narcissistic media and culture online -- people talking to themselves, rating one another's comments, limiting their communications to pre-selected or like-minded people, or trading data, nodes and files as much for the sake of it as for any urgently needed utility.

Now comes the much-heralded P2P, another potential plunge into personalized, chaotic and subterranean communications. Is this what the Net is really about, every invididual talking to every other individual at the same time, nobody really able to grasp, comprehend or evaluate what they are seeing, where it came from, or knowing who else might be seeing it?

In nearly 400 pages of intelligent, mostly complex and technical discussions about the evolution of peer-to-peer, from Jeremie Miller on "Conversational Technologies" to Adam Langley on "Mixmaster Remailers," to Brandon Wiley on "Interoperability Through Gateways," only two clearly significant utilities were mentioned -- file-sharing systems like Napster, which has a central server and isn't technically a peer-to-peer technology, which is why the government and entertainment industry could cripple it, and the fact that P2P threatens to make censorship impossible. But governments have little to fear from P2P. Since everyone is an equal content provider, goes the theory, it would be almost impossible for any significant mass of people to ever see the same message.

In his essay, Shirky offers a litmus test for anybody who is confused about P2P: l. Does it treat variable connectivity and temporary network addresses as the norm?, and 2. Does it give the nodes at the edges of the network significant autonomy? So Napster is P2P because the addresses of Napster nodes bypass the DNS system. Intel's "server peer-to-peer" is not P2P, because servers have always been peers. ICQ and Jabber are P2P because not only do they devolve connection management to the individual nodes once they resolve the address, they violate "the machine-centric worldview" encoded in the DNS system. E-mail is not P2P, because your address is not machine independent.

People's technology needs are clear, especially when it comes to the Net. They are looking to trade stocks, do research, talk about sex, buy stuff on EBay, play games and quizzes, or e-mail Uncle Charlie. At this juncture, the tech world seems on the edge of literally sinking into esoteric, exotic new programming and connective technologies that simply make little coherent sense for the overwhelming bulk of technology users, who are already enraged at the cost, poor quality and lack of service involving the outrageously-unsupported technologies they have, from cell phones to computers to DSL. And they are frustrated at a media environment, from telephones to computers, in which noone seems responsible for anything, from dumb and hostile or commercial messaging to minimal tech support. Peer-to-peer is designed to have no central authority.

This seems like the wrong technology at the wrong time. Only five percent of the country even has broadband, and the number isn't likely to go much higher soon, especially with an administration in Washington which has made it crystal clear that it doesn't want to pay for the required infrastructure.

There's a difference between neat stuff and significant stuff. Peer-to-Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies does a great job of explaining how P2P works, all the way down to free riding and scalability.

But it fails to tell us why people outside of the technical world should really care. It raises many more questions than it answers. It fails to address the true social implications of technologies like this: do Harry and Martha in Dubuque need peer-to-peer?

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Re:My Experience with BearShare (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#314850)

I would'nt trade porn with anything called BearShare.. since "bear" usually means large gay male in porn culture.

Freenet - are you trading kiddie porn?! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#314852)

Decentralised?

That sounds a lot like no-one will be able to control what's being traded in that net. Is that right?

How can the trade of kiddie porn and illegal copies of software prevented then by entities like FBI and BSA?

It must be illegal! I'm going to report this e-mail of yours at my local FBI office at once!

Comment piracy! (2)

Sanity (1431) | more than 13 years ago | (#314855)

This is a verbatim copy of a comment I posted a few weeks ago. It is pretty rude to copy people's stuff without attribution. I will see if I can find the comment in question and post it, but I am pretty sure it is identical.

--

Moderate this down - it is manipulation (2)

Sanity (1431) | more than 13 years ago | (#314856)

This is moderator manipulation. This is a verbatim copy of a comment I posted in response to someone who was complaining that peer to peer systems need interoperability. You may notice that this issue isn't raised in Katz's article.

This guy is the worst kind of karma whore, he doesn't even write his own comments.

--

Re:Peer to Peer only works with a server (1)

mprinkey (1434) | more than 13 years ago | (#314860)

This is not necessarily truth. Fully peer-to-peer networks *can* work in a scalable manner if we do a better job of searching. Query processing is the limiting issue for all truly P2P networks. I have been working on an idea to address this which involves query routing (instead of broadcasting) to reduce bandwidth requirements. Essentially, only nodes in the network which have a high probability of satisfying a query will recieve it.

Full details are in a draft paper here [homestead.com] . I welcome comments.

P2P wrong paradigm? (2)

lorax (2988) | more than 13 years ago | (#314861)

I think the whole Peer-to-Peer thing is grouping together unrelated technology while missing the real revolution.

How is getting a file from Freenet different from ftp-ing it from someone who has a server running on a dyndns address? The are both based on transient IP's, yet clearly the difference goes further than one using DNS and one not.

The real revolution is the change to a data centric model instead of a server centric one. In DNS based technologies, you first have to know the machine the data is on before you can get the data. And, if that machine is down you won't find the data, even if it is replicated somewhere else. In the new data-centric view, you find the data, and it is fetched from whatever machine has it at the current time. What machine has the data is irrelevant, who cares if it comes from some guy's home machine or from a massive dataserver on the net.

Peer-to-peer is useable, at best, for dialups (1)

ndnet (3243) | more than 13 years ago | (#314862)

I'm on a dialup with no ability to upgrade for at least a year, so if a P2P system is to work for me, downloads must be kept to a minimum.

That said, P2P is a good thing in my mind. It's flexible and often at least somewhat private (or moreso than C2S counterparts).

My only complaint about all P2P I use is where server lists come from. Napster is dying because it's centralized. Yet, if there is no central server AT ALL, like gnutella, it's hard to find anything.

Will it be useful? With work . . . yes. (1)

Jonnyboy (6427) | more than 13 years ago | (#314863)

P2P is not new (as several people here have pointed out). However, the recent attention brought to the idea has and will continue to spawn new notions of just how the internet can work. As is mentioned in "Peer-To-Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies," the internet was originally designed as a P2P system of large (mainframe) academic and government computers. It was only later that today's trend of client-server applications appeared.

A move back to the original ideas behind the internet is not a bad idea, but due to the size and current structure of the net it will be difficult. Furthermore, as JonKatz mentions, there is the difficulty of finding applications which will be usable by and will appeal to a large group of people (thus making p2p apps potentially profitable). However, I think he goes too far in claiming that this cannot be done. Napster (though it is only a pseudo-p2p system) exemplifies this popular appeal. It seems necessary to make sure p2p applications are simple to use and designed in such a way as to be understandable to a newbie. This isn't always easy, but it is possible.

One method of bringing this about is to have lots of default settings and let users work within the application without ever knowing about what happens behind the scenes. Furthermore, the option to adjust those advanced settings can be appropriately labeled so the novice won't play with it. This is a good principle for UI design in general and it applies here as well.

To conclude, though p2p has both technical and user-related difficulties to be overcome before many new p2p apps will become common, it seems those difficulties can (and in some cases already have) been overcome.

-mhorst

.NET isn't Peer to Peer! (1)

Splatta (7993) | more than 13 years ago | (#314865)

Napster, SETI@home, Freenet, Gnutella, Jabber and .Net (Microsoft's big P2P gamble)

As far as I know .NET is not a peer to peer piece of software. Its a development tool to integrate third party applications with each other in a web based fasion.

I dont mean to flame, but I asked my girlfriend to read this article objectively and tell me what she thought. She came back with a feeling that the author wasn't a profesional writer, and couldn't follow because of organizational problems. I wholely agree, and would like to point out that this is a constant in all of Katz's articles for slashdot.

"It's weird that you would want to write when you obviously can't." --my girlfriend

What is this Peer to Peer? (2)

PD (9577) | more than 13 years ago | (#314866)

I remember Lantastic was a peer to peer network. That sucked really hard too.

I've got this great idea. Let's adopt the term "workgroup" for the gnutella replacement.

Shaping public opinion (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 13 years ago | (#314867)

Actually I would expect a massive "p2p sucks!" campaign to be waged by the major ip producers and distributors (riaa, mpaa, msft, etc etc) as a way to fight piracy by stigmatizing it (big billboards and ad campaigns insinuating that "p2p users are loosers" ala drug war type propaganda).

Who knows, maybe Katz was bought off by the industry to start dissing it, putting on negative spin, etc.

Next big thing? No. Sucks? No. Next step? Yes. (5)

Rahga (13479) | more than 13 years ago | (#314871)

Greenspan's phrase "Irrational Excuberance" is what I would use to describe most of us geeks when it comes to advocating technology. p2p isn't going to turn the head. Where it works well, it will be used. We are simply creating a more complex spiderweb. You can send data through the center of the spiderweb, or along one of many stable and unstable paths, directly or indirectly to it's target.
No big deal. Use p2p when necessary and beneficial. Use other methods when appropriate.
When will everybody, publishers included, quit looking for the "next big thing" when most of them don't understand the abilities of "the big thing already here". After all, look how long it too for p2p to catch on, when the technology has had very little to do with advances in technology.

DHCP is the killer P2P app (2)

phred (14852) | more than 13 years ago | (#314872)

By the definition given, DHCP is a P2P app, since it is contingent (temporary IP addresses) and edge-oriented. And DHCP is mundane, not revolutionary. And this points to exactly the problem: defining a logical relationship like P2P in terms of physical mapping leads to contradictions.

As for P2P as some kind of permiter around a non-surveilled zone of the net: notice that Ethernet is dependent on MACs. All the transient IP addressing in the world doesn't get around that. And to my knowledge other transports have a similar invariant logical-to-physical mapping. Consider the security issues with that. Consider the security issues if you don't have that . . . : Is it trust then verify, or verify then trust?
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Re: Stolen music (1)

delysid-x (18948) | more than 13 years ago | (#314873)

Or you could download the whole album and burn it onto a $0.99 CD-R... Here in Canada there is a levy on CD-R's that goes to pay artists for piracy, so the music has already been paid for when the CD-Rs were bought

Hey it's brand new- what about cell phones? (2)

brad.hill (21936) | more than 13 years ago | (#314874)

People just haven't thought of the cool stuff do do with peer-to-peer yet. Imagine a high bandwidth cell phone that acts like a Gnutella client. Your call finds somebody else's phone locally and frog-hops across phones until it reaches its destination, no towers, no phone company bills, etc. It would be great for military networks, ad-hoc networking at conferences (ever try to make a cell call at Comdex? Good luck getting a circut.), etc.

Re:ZDNet Article (2)

jellicle (29746) | more than 13 years ago | (#314879)

He's not that fast. His article was written last week.

What's new here? (2)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 13 years ago | (#314880)

"Peer-to-Peer," he exults,"is the next great thing for the Internet."

Ummm...no. 'P2P' is just a different way of describing what the Internet always has been. OOooh, now I can distribute my own stuff!! I can be my own publisher!! I can even let other people contribute and talk back!!

Basically the same thing with the same motivations that drove amatuer radio, CBs, and BBS phenomenons.

P2P Summary: The Audience is the Show (2)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 13 years ago | (#314881)

P2P lives, not because of it being a cool technology, but because it brings to realization an important fact. There are a number of niches where the audience, or the users, are the best content.

I'll take the broad definition of "peer-to-peer" here and say that in the realm of things that are legal, P2P has the most impact in the following areas:

In the idea space, when the consumer voice is just as important, or more important than a singular voice. For example, product review sites like Epinions [epinions.com] . A mass of users can provide far more information on a wider variety of topics than Consumer Reports can.

In hobbies, where there isn't profitability in commercialization. For example, KLOV [klov.com] , the Killer List of Arcade Games. You've got a large number of enthusiastic collectors who are documenting information about games that have long since lost any commercial value.

In dark legal areas, where a commercial entity cannoy provide what the audience wants. MP3s are the best example. There isn't a place (commercial or not) to go to get your MP3s. Peer to peer is the place to go.

In short, peer-to-peer fills in the gaps where commercial organizations do not exist, can not exist, or do their job poorly. And because that is always going to exist, so will peer-to-peer.

Not really (1)

yomahz (35486) | more than 13 years ago | (#314882)

All you have to have is a network:

MBONE [hpc.mil] and a decent application design.

IP Multicasting is quite neat.


--

A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

Jon Katz is a bot (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#314886)

and a poorly coded one. He was written by some kid in high school, just like Napster, who now works for Microsoft. One day we hope he will become sentient, but until then we have to put up with shit like this. I say pull the plug man, delete the code, throw the backups into the fire.

Re:So Jon (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#314887)

that would require independant thought.. which hasn't been coded in the Katz script yet.

Re:minor nitpick... (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#314888)

We should make the "fuck SETI" at home project that just bounces random signals off the moon. We could use the SETI@home algorithm as a metric in a genetic algorithm and distribute it. So the geeks with their big telescopes get all excited "we found a signal!!! It appears to be intelligent" and they start communicating with it and before you know it we've actually got some distributed electronic lifeform squirming through the web.

Legit Peer to Peer (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#314889)

You know, it's pretty damn trivial to make a legit napster.. all you've got to do is only put songs on your server that you have the rights to distribute. Now, there are ways to beat this, right. What an attacker can do is rename "Some leet song" to "Back Hoe Boys - Lame Song" (which the legit napster has on its server) and place it in his shared folder. Well that's easy to stop, all the legit napster has to do is sign the song before they distribute it to the first peer. I hear you, you'll just hack the client to accept any song, even ones that are not signed. But I'm not suggesting that your client should not accept songs that are incorrectly signed, instead the receiving client should check the signature and if it is dodgy then it should immediately tell the server that the client that sent the song has sent an invalid song, the server then removes that client from the search list. Once it has done that the recieving client can pop up a box saying "this song may be damaged or invalid, do you wish to keep it?" Why do this and not just delete the file? Because then the receiving user will have a reason to hack his client. If we dont do this then the receiving client has no reason to hack his client. The sender can hack his client as much as he wants, but it is the receiver who narqs on him.

Napster is alive and swell. (2)

solios (53048) | more than 13 years ago | (#314890)

Sure, you might strike out and get pissed if you're trying to find Britney or Smashmouth - or any of the other top forty BS. But Napster has a sustained user base of around seven thousand- this peaked at just over ten thousand back when the legal battle was getting hot and nasty.

Fortunately the "ruling" and the heat are coming from the people that control the crap on the radio- "music" I've never had a taste for. Napster is still a great place to find material from extinct and independant labels- music I would gladly support if I could actually *find* it.

A computer is not a typewriter (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#314891)

> Usenet, created in l979, uses no central control, and copies files between computers.

C'mon, Katz, get with the "l970s". Just because a "1" and an "l" on old-sk00l typewriters looked the same in Courier monospace, doesn't mean they're equivalent. Please, please, please adjust your spell checker. You really date yourself when you make this error.

Re:minor nitpick... (1)

mike_the_kid (58164) | more than 13 years ago | (#314893)

Woaahh... And then we could bounce signals off the moon to them, and they could respond in kind! It would be the biggest, widest, most fantasmariphic peer to peer network ever!

Re:P2P is old news (1)

mozkill (58658) | more than 13 years ago | (#314894)

your right, P2P hype is over and done with. there are emerging technologies right now that are already prepared to take market share in all of the P2P segments. the scary thing is that you probably haven't even heard of them yet but they are working out of the garage next door. hindsight is 20/20, and with all of the talent and hype that we have in the market right now, we should expect something far greater than Napster to come along very soon.

Does peer-to-peer give better throughput? (1)

AdamBa (64128) | more than 13 years ago | (#314897)

The answer appears to be "it depends"...

I wrote a two-part article about this on osopinion.com last December (here are part 1 [osopinion.com] and part 2 [osopinion.com] ). - adam

Quick, I see hype! Lets cash in on the anti-hype! (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 13 years ago | (#314898)

Actually, peer to peer (otherwise known as 'conversation' when you're not referring to it in the context of technology) is pretty useful. If you're the type that hates the fact that everyone forms their musical/artistic/cultural/political views based on centralized authorities (TV, websites, mags, etc), then you covet the existance of conversation. Your friend may only know of Brittany Spears, but thanks to regular human-style peer to peer communication, at least you have an /opportunity/ to enlighten someone. Peer to peer (with respect to file sharing .. I dont know how you can group SETI et al. in the same group as its a totally different social application of an admittedly similar technological application of TCP/IP architecture) on the 'net is the same thing .. when all the major labels get their internet-music-subscription-shit up, and everyone flocks to them, the discovery and exploration of millions of artists and pieces of art (including music) will vapourize faster than you can type in your credit card # and hit submit. And while Katz loves pointing how nothing is ground shaking, there are still millions of people in the world who don't need cars .. but does that render the car an irrelevant technology?

missing the point? (2)

RyanMuldoon (69574) | more than 13 years ago | (#314900)

The cool thing about "peer to peer" isn't that I can damn the man, or subvert my government. Anyone who seeks to do those things really isn't going to accomplish much just with technology. What I am excited about is being able to really use the potential of the Internet. I see Peer to Peer technologies being developed to let me use the Internet in a more effective manner. Why is Napster so popular? Because it makes it pathetically easy to get the songs you like. Wouldn't it be great if I could do the same thing with texts when I am doing research? Automatic cross-referencing? Being able to find and view artwork at museums that are halfway around the world? I see it as being able to get rid of artificial structure, like DNS, and actually search for and retrieve what I want. I'm looking for information, not a given website. Also, the whole micropayment thing that was so quickly swept aside could really allow content creators to make money on the Internet. Banner ads don't seem to be working out too well. I'd be happy to pay for what I find I enjoy online, but there is no real mechanism for doing that yet. Building an optional payment system into a peer to peer filesharing system would be a pretty elegant solution to the problem. So I see a pretty big benefit to joe schmoe, as well as myself. Much better searching, with better, more accurate results. And if I can do this with files, why not goods or services? What better way would there be to comparison shop? All of this would be pretty damn useful.

Re:Comment piracy! (1)

rkent (73434) | more than 13 years ago | (#314901)

So, did you turn up that CID yet?

One Application (1)

owillis (74881) | more than 13 years ago | (#314902)

The company I'm the cofounder of, Humancasting [humancasting.com] is developing a peer to peer system where individuals can produce high quality content and disemminate it to a large audience with a lot less concern for things like bandwith, etc. that is straining the current flock of users.
--
OliverWillis.Com [oliverwillis.com]

Re:One Application (1)

owillis (74881) | more than 13 years ago | (#314903)

Sorry, should have said "distribute".
--
OliverWillis.Com [oliverwillis.com]

years to figure out? (1)

neowintermute (81982) | more than 13 years ago | (#314905)

If you've ever used bearshare, and lots of other current gnutella clients, you would know that they're simple to use.

The current crop auto-connects to a server for you and all you have to do is type in your search criteria.

people are not as dumb as you think. That's why there are millions and millions of napster users.

http://www.hyperpoem.net

Dissident Opinion (5)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 13 years ago | (#314907)

You seem to fall into the common trap of thinking that the different P2P architectures are just different approaches to doing the same thing. This isn't the case, there is actually very little in common between the various architectures as they generally have very different goals. For example, Napster and Gnutella are both designed to let people share their mp3s with other people, Freenet is designed to provide a secure forum for free speech, Seti@home is designed to combine people's spare cycles to find aliens etc. These systems are as different as chalk and cheese, just because many journalists think they fall under the P2P buzzword, doesn't mean that they have any more in common than any other software, nor that there is any more room for interoperability than there is with any other software that communicates via the Internet.

The claim that P2P would be great if only the systems would interoperate really doesn't bear much scrutiny, TCP/IP is often the full extent of what these systems have in common. This isn't a flaw, it is a simple fact.

------
That's just the way it is

I apoligize in advance... (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 13 years ago | (#314908)

This will get -1, Troll, but I just cannot resist:

"Does Peer-to-Peer Suck?"

Not as much as these lame stories from you, Katz!

Peer to Peer works with a list of servers (1)

jimmcq (88033) | more than 13 years ago | (#314909)

All you need is a web page with a list of servers. Once you connect to one server on the network it tells about its peers, and they tell you about their peers, and so on, and so on.

Maybe they'll shut down one web page, but they can't get them all at once.

Couple of links to check out:
Gnutella host caches [hostscache.com]
Clip2 Super Peers [clip2.com]

Re:Peer to Peer works with a list of servers (1)

jimmcq (88033) | more than 13 years ago | (#314910)

If they *do* shut down the web pages then it will just use your instant messenger contacts list or something else and query those. The point is that you only need to know the address of of any one peer on the network to be connected to them all.

Re:Dissident Opinion (1)

rapett0 (92674) | more than 13 years ago | (#314912)

I completely agree, Katz is out of his league here. P2P now is what hacker has become, a catch all for many things. Something like SETI@Home is NOT a true P2P app. Granted it makes communique between to apps, however, that does not mean p2p unless you only mean that context. Of course we all know SETI is a distributed app. Hell you could say the heart needs blood (tcp/ip), the brain needs it too, so that makes that system p2p? I think not. Its just symatics. However, I really wish for once the tech world and the journalistic world could just use the same definition.

Re:Wrong tech, wrong time? No. (1)

awol (98751) | more than 13 years ago | (#314917)

The fact that only 5% of users have broadband has more to do with its currently poor reliability and higher cost than dial-up service

Hmmmm, Europe (well !North America), timed local calls, dial up, cheaper than DSL/cable. Maybe not.

Katz Parrots Media Line (2)

johnos (109351) | more than 13 years ago | (#314920)

I am very disapointed that Jon Katz has bought the media's line on P2P. To many, including people that should know better like Michael Robertson of MP3.com, peer-to-peer technology means file sharing of one sort or another. Full stop. While Mr. Katz refers to different uses beyond this, he fails utterly to understand what those uses are. For example

"Like those falling trees in the forest, information needs critical mass. It has to be seen and heard by substantial numbers of people to have significance"

What what possible relevance does such an observation to a product like Groove? None. Because Groove is not about file sharing, it is a collaboration tool (the best ever IMHO).

I admit to being biased, because I work at Hotline Communications, possibly the oldest extant peer-to-peer company. We have dozens of interesting uses for P2P technology that have nothing to do with file sharing. At least, not of the kind that Mr. Katz seems to understand. (tempting, but I won't insert a commercial here) We believe that people will use different kinds of applications. Some will be to exchange information, but many will be used to manage information. Unlike Mr. Katz, we believe that people want more control over their lives and are not content to give control of their attention and time to Microsoft, or AT&T.

It is also kind of silly to assert that

Peer-to-peer is touted as a democratizing force in computing, but it's hard to imagine a time when more than a handful of people will be able to: understand, let alone use, it.

This is patently false. Some 20 million plus people apparently understand, let alone use, Napster.

And, as an aside, is it generally accepted that "middle-class Americans, ... are always -- always -- the people who decide which media technologies will actually revolutionize the world and which will not?" I was under the naive impression that people in places like Japan and Germany and Egypt and India would make their own decisions about what kinds of media technologies suited them. I guess that explains why America is so far ahead in wireless communicatons.

Mr. Katz says that people's uses for the net are "clear". Is Mr. Katz seeking to become the first Luddite of the Internet age? In any case, how many of these "clear" needs existed five years ago? So possibly new technologies can create new and interesting ways for people to communicate. When those ways become general, they become a "clear need" in Mr. Katz's book.

And lastly, what's wrong with democratization? Is not more choice inherently a good thing? Mr. Katz appears to think that this technology is so worthless, that more discussion is pointless. Possibly to spare Harry and Martha in Debuque the burden of thinking about it. Qualified Intellectuals like Mr. Katz can do that for them. And anyway, they are just going to want what AT&T gives them, right? Because they don't care about doing things beyond their "clear" needs, they just want good service. I just hope that AT&T looks to Qualified Intellectuals like Mr. Katz for guidance.

The power of peer to peer processing (1)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 13 years ago | (#314921)

I think a massively distributed effort is required just to make it through that article. I gave up after about the first three pages. So that would be about 0.7%

Rich

Why make the distinction? (1)

WMNelis (112548) | more than 13 years ago | (#314922)

Client/Server has it's place and so does Peer to Peer. Client/Server is nice because it is simple, you want something, as the server for it. Peer to Peer is nice because (in theory) you don't need the server. I think they each have their place, one is not better than the other.

Client/Server breaks down when the server gets too many requests, so load balancing was invented. Peer to Peer is like taking load balancing to the next level. If all machines are servers, we theoretically do not have the problem of too many clients for not enough servers.

The ideal systems will probably combine Client/Server and Peer to Peer. Real distributed computing (such as CORBA) don't restrict you to Client/Server or Peer to Peer. Server CORBA code can go on the same machine as client CORBA code. You can build the system any way you want.

What color is the sky in your real world, JK? (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 13 years ago | (#314925)

In my real world, Faraday responded to "What good is this electromagnetism?" with "What good is a newborn baby?", and G.H. Hardy said with disdain that he had never worked on anything useful...only to be proven wrong about the utility of his mathematics later on. This is what makes all the blather about committees deciding what research is beneficial or most in need of being done idiocy--if we can't predict the consequences, then we can't predict the good ones any more than we can the bad ones, so at best such attempts are meaningless, at worst oppressive. If p2p is going to fail, let it--but it's hard to believe someone isn't going to simplify the configuration for Aunt Ethel.

Re:Dissident Opinion (1)

malfunct (120790) | more than 13 years ago | (#314926)

The thing that made P2P ala Napster so great is that it was easy to search. Just type in a song title and out comes a list of places to get the song.

I agree, thats what the internet is supposed to be but it never turns out that way. You type in a search term, get 50% adds, 25% porn, 15% on topic but wildly innaccurate stuff, 10% completely unrelated stuff, and finally in the bottom 5% that is usually on the 20th page you find some info that is useful or the file you want. Maybe if we had specialized search engines on the web (or for ftp or whatever) that only carried a portion of what we were looking for sort of by category then people would be able to find what they want and this p2p revolution wouldn't be necessary.

The other facet to making the i-net behave like what we saw in P2P is to let various and random people automatically mirror a site and serve it to other people. This would give the effect of having millions of average servers instead of one good but extremely overloaded server.

P2P offers a new class of network computing (1)

tds (128757) | more than 13 years ago | (#314928)

P2P computing could be defined as a set of peers and servers interacting to form an emergent system based on underlying interactions and services. This is a radical departure from today's pervasive network models.

P2P in today form may not be the next great thing on the Internet but this is a very important inflection point in the evolution of the Internet. As an example of a future possible emergent / p2p application I would put forward the following simple example of what p2p could be like in the future.

Today, I fire up my web browser and talk to a web server in a passive manner, if I want to participate in an interaction or discussion such as this slashdot discussion I fill in form and post my comments.

Tomorrow I see a very different scenario, switching my computer or device on, I join a number of P2P networks some content based other may be E-commerce applications. Once I have joined these networks my system become part of the network creating a seamless adaptive community where interactions or discussions are intrinsic to the very way that I interact and add value to the network.

Jon Katz's question "does p2p suck" may have some validity today but not in the future, p2p is just taking it's first steps as an important and disruptive technology.

Re:Dissident Opinion (1)

StoryMan (130421) | more than 13 years ago | (#314930)

I'm not sure I fully understand P2P after reading Katz's essay. Wasn't the internet -- as it was originally designed in the first place -- designed as a "peer-to-peer" system? A system with no central authority, to allow nodes on the fringe to disconnect and reconnect, willy-nilly, etc?

So if everyone believe P2P to be the current trend, why not just deploy the internet over the internet? The current internet would become the 'metaspace' enveloping the new P2P internet (space).

So instead of starting with the big bang and expanding outward, we start with the metaspace and then deploy the P2P network inward within the fringes of the metaspace.

Or, to put it another way, imagine the metaspace is a big turkey. You get one of those cajun basting tools, fill it up with cajun goo (the "goo" would be analogous to mp3s, porn, warez) and then squeeze it -- using your basting tool -- into the turkey, thereby tenderizing it and making it quite tasty (this is analogous to all the happy users able to access the goo).

The turkey -- because it is already existing -- is the "metaspace" into which the goo is injected. The goo (porn, warez, mp3) can freely comingle within the barriers of the metaspace -- the turkey itself -- but (if the network is designed properly and the turkey has no holes) can never leak past the fringes.

I have to work on the analogy a bit, but I think you get the idea. The internet over the internet.

P2P is old news (5)

SClitheroe (132403) | more than 13 years ago | (#314932)

P2P is the very essence of the internet. It's the very essence of TCP/IP for that matter.

Before Napster and all the hoopla over this buzzword, people were doing the same thing via IRC, FTP, NFS, etc. The protocols have changed, but the idea certainly hasn't. Now businesses are scrambling to implement "P2P", when they've been doing it all along, using things like EDI.

Heck, we were doing it in the BBS days. The old FidoNet feeds used to trickle from peer to peer, with each node making local phone calls to transfer to a nearby node. The whole system was set up to avoid long distance charges, by forming a web of nodes.

P2P is like the invention of plastic (5)

pestie (141370) | more than 13 years ago | (#314933)

I hate coming into a discussion this late, 'cause chances are nobody's going to read this far down in the comments anyway. But here I go...

Katz, as usual, is missing the point. He's right when he says that the average consumer doesn't care about P2P and isn't really affected by it. P2P is an underlying technology that will provide the building blocks that will allow some truly kick-ass applications to be built. Joe Average may not have cared about the invention of plastic and probably doesn't know the first thing about polymer science, but Joe's life sure is made easier due to all that cool plastic shit he owns! People can, and hopefully will, develop applications that use P2P technology, but hide it behind an intuitive, easy-to-use user interface and that perform a useful function. Napster became popular not because it was a type of P2P technology, but because it was easy to install and use and because it did something people wanted to do - it located and obtained music. All the Napster clones, wannabes, lookalikes, etc. have all failed to become immensely popular because they either didn't do anything particularly useful or were too difficult for the casual user to figure out.

Katz also makes another mistake - he doesn't look far enough into the future. P2P may not appeal to today's consumers, but it appeals to their kids. I'll bet P2P will have a much greater impact on the way people share information by the time today's teenagers, who grew up on the web and Napster, reach the age of their parents.

Just for the fun of it (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 13 years ago | (#314934)

I work on the "Everything Over Freenet" (EOF [sourceforge.net] ) project, and have been involved in Freenet [freenetproject.org] to one degree or another for just over a year. I don't do this because I think it's going to change the world, or it's going to help Chinese dissidents get their message out, or anything like that (although these things would be a definate plus).

I do it because Freenet presents many facinating problems to solve.

That, I think, is the most important thing for any Free Software developer to have: A lot of facinating problems. I went to Freenet specificly because I beleived that Ian Clarke's solution to the problem of getting an anoynomous, decentralized means of broadcasting unrestriced speech to be the most interesting.


------

Re:Peer to Peer works with a list of servers (1)

HerrGlock (141750) | more than 13 years ago | (#314935)

They did with 2600 and are trying to make that case law now.

We will see how it turns out.

DanH
Cav Pilot's Reference Page [cavalrypilot.com]

Peer to Peer only works with a server (2)

HerrGlock (141750) | more than 13 years ago | (#314936)

Originally, you have to have SOME central repository to get the peers together. Small time may very well work great with two people or a dozen who are in the same area in real life, but how will I know there is someone else out there with a peer napster-type app the same as me who is also into saving the left handed, baby seals from nuclear power unless there is a central place (like /. for instance) to have the software downloadable from?

If the governments and other big brother types close THOSE down, peer to peer becomes hit and miss and only as good as the new release mechanism.

DanH
Cav Pilot's Reference Page [cavalrypilot.com]

ML (4)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 13 years ago | (#314937)

Erik Moeller recently set up a mailing list for p2p journalism which suggests the direction some people believe p2p media might be taking us.

It is here [infoanarchy.org] , if you are interested. And yes, Jon is wrong, again :-)

--

p2p is a marketing term (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 13 years ago | (#314938)

p2p isn't a new technology, but just a marketing term to describe a discovery protocol. The hype surrounding the term is just the result of some people just realizing that the internet was really designed as an end-to-end communications system and not as a broadcast platform.

p2p is a solution in need of a problem. Mail servers and web servers have all come about because people turn their computers off. The term "server" has come to mean a computer that is always on. Soon people will stop turning there personal computers off and more people will be using 24/7 internet connections. So, the term server will lose some meaning.

For broadcast, wireless technologies will always be best. The internet is for end-to end communications.

Let's cut out the middlemen.

Another Fad (3)

babykong (163360) | more than 13 years ago | (#314939)

So many fads I have seen.

Hand Calculators
Video Games
Personal Computers
Local Area Networks
Client Server
Internet
Ecommerce
And Now P2P

When will they ever learn that none of this crap works.

Where the hell's my slide rule.

Re:Anyone else really love ripping CDs? (1)

chacha (166659) | more than 13 years ago | (#314940)

From the article on cnn.com [cnn.com] :

Music legends Don Henley and Alanis Morrisette urged more online freedoms that strengthen ties between artists and fans rather than enrich the coffers of giant record labels.

It looks like they wouldn't refer to it as stolen music after all.

So Jon (2)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#314941)

in light of the fact that you wrote this [slashdot.org] and this [slashdot.org] . What are your *real* thoughts on the subject? A few months ago napster was a basic right and now it is a means to steal stuff. This is why you piss so many of us off get a postion and stick with it.

Re:TNBT? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#314942)

I've found the term "The Next Best Thing" to be used only when reminiscing. The internet was "The Next Best Thing" when it was made, but I make this statement almost 30 years after it was created. When it was created (arpanet), I'm sure no one expected it to be much...
To call something TNBT, is to show off your psychic abilities (which is why things fail when people say something is TNBT before its out). Its only something you notice when its past.

A thought that may have nothin to do with anythin (1)

howman (170527) | more than 13 years ago | (#314943)

Peer-to-peer is useful where "the goods you're trying to get at lie at many endpoints; in other words, where the value of information lies in the contributions of many users rather than the authority of one." It's obvious that this could be valuable in research and some kinds of business development. But the book offers precious few examples of the kind of information that might be valuable in that way to large numbers of people. (from 'does peer to peer suck')

The interesting challenge will be to see if we can provide a similar program for smaller companies and home users that offers the same customer benefits of license simplicity and paying for the services that you use. In some ways it is much like the system most phone or cable companies use today. Pay a monthly fee to subscribe to a set number of features. There is no reason why you can't do this with software and associated services. (from ' Widows exec DougMiller Responds')

Does anyone want to comment on how, or if your Linux system would search the Net for the correct drivers etc... for your hardware set up and automatically 'get the goods'... perhaps on a fee basis, rather than having to do it yourself in a complex techie setup, or by being stuck with a distro, ie redhat etc?

minor nitpick... (2)

Golias (176380) | more than 13 years ago | (#314947)

I agree with most of what you said, except for one small item:

Seti@home is designed to combine people's spare cycles to find aliens

As far as I have seen, SETI@home is a screensaver app for people with nothing better to do with their potential CPU cycles than show off their computer's ability to crunch numbers. It's a popular alternative to the many distributed crypto projects, because SETI is a project that will probably never be completed. (Participate in a crypto project with your overnight cycles, and eventually the message will be cracked, leaving you looking for something else to join in on. SETI@home does not have this disadvantage.)

I've meet many people who participate in SETI@home... none of them said that they expect aliens to be found.

Memory used to be the problem -- Now Bandwith (1)

Teflon Coating (177969) | more than 13 years ago | (#314948)

Back in the day people used to write apps so that they would take up the least space possible (This is still done in some cases such as Coyote Linux) and to use the least amount of RAM too. Today that isn't done very often because we hard drives are measured in gigabytes rather than megabytes (soon to be terrabytes on home PC's) and memory is no longer measured in kilobytes rather no megabytes (Soon to be gigabytes :-) ) Now we are trying to get the most out of the possible bandwith avalible now instead of memory and disk space. When do you think this will no longer be a problem, that the speed of bandwith won't matter so people can write sloppy apps that still work really well? What technology is going to make this possible?

The problem with P2P... (1)

gatesh8r (182908) | more than 13 years ago | (#314949)

...isn't the programs, nor the content, it is the bandwith that's nessiary for the P2P to work! Basicly, programs that use little bandwith, such as IRC and instant messaging, do go through a centralized server, then allow the nodes to connect, if they chose to. Otherwise the messages go through a server to be transmitted to the other person. To do this on a large scale can be problematic, such as the case with Napster and SMB (Windows Networking; one big reason why WinNT/Win2k sucks). Napster forks over MP3's; those files of course range from 2 MB - 10 MB. On a dial-up, it would take forever! SMB broadcasts every x seconds, and when multiple computers come onto the network... tada! Broadcast storm! It wastes network resources because it's too "chatty".

Now, let's decentralize. Gnutella comes to mind... iirc, it doesn't scale much. Why? Try depending your connections on ppl mostly on 56k modems. They can be disconnected, timed out; they tie up phone lines, and bandwith is scarce compared to broadband connections where bandwith starts to become a commidity. Could Gnutella work better with mostly broadband connects? Perhaps, and so would other P2P apps.

For those that are saying, "What are the ethical consequences of P2P? It'll start piracy!" My question is: What did you expect? P2P really mirrors the reality of society and the way humans are. Everyone's got their own ideas, but they can be grouped nicely into different broad catogories. These are cliques/gangs/clans/organizations/whatever. Pick what groups you'll follow; it's not as if you don't.

Nothing new (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 13 years ago | (#314951)

Hello, this isn't new technology folks. This method of internet communication has been available as long as computer networking has. Has anybody stopped to ask why this hasn't been used before? Well, the answer is that isn't not the best solution.

You're working at a company with 100 workstations. You aren't going to setup a peer-peer network, you're going to setup a central server because that's the best solution.

It's the best solution for performance and maintenance. The only factor where the central server model isn't better, is in cost. In the business arena, cost isn't that big of an issue. Companies understand it will be cheaper in the long run for them to have a central server than try to maintain several workstations that all require each other to be operational %100 of the time.

Also please note that my examples are for mid to large sized companies. I know most small offices will use a peer-peer setup. Those offices also only have a small number of workstations, say about 5. Noticing any similarities to Gnutella problems yet?

Peer to peer has it's place. The Napster model is pretty good. It has a central server for queries, but the actual data is served from a peer connection. This doesn't address any reliability issues but it is a good midpoint for the performance/maintenance/cost factors.

Lets all face it, peer to peer could possibly be perfect down the road. The only problem is increasing the speed/capacity/bandwidth of the current peers.

That brings about another point, peer means something equal. A workstation connecting to a server uses the same TCP protocol as one connecting to another workstation, however we don't define them as peers. Peer to peer MUST hold true to it's definition for it to be useful. Servers talking to servers are peer to peer. 56k user - 56k users are peers. 14k users to DSL users are not peers.

Widespread usefullness of peer to peer is a ways off. It's still evolving. It wasn't that long ago that we all used ANSI BBSes on 2400 baud modems. We evolved from that, and are still continuing to. Just because it exists, doesn't mean it's the solution for everything right now.

Wrong tech, wrong time? No. (3)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#314952)

This seems like the wrong technology at the wrong time. Only five percent of the country even has broadband, and the number isn't likely to go much higher soon, especially with an administration in Washington which has made it crystal clear that it doesn't want to pay for the required infrastructure.

Ummm, you don't need President Bush to budget cash for cable/DSL to be available. You just need companies with business models that aren't stupid [fuckedcompany.com] . The fact that only 5% of users have broadband has more to do with its currently poor reliability and higher cost than dial-up service - and the fact that many users haven't seen the killer app (Napster notwithstanding).

There's a difference between neat stuff and significant stuff. ... [D]o Harry and Martha in Dubuque need peer-to-peer?

I think so. Napster adoption has been extremely fast, and not specific to techies. Legal Napster or other apps (not Gnutella, probably, if only because the name sounds obscure and the obvious web address is useless [gnutella.com] ) will drive people to use P2P and adopt broadband soon enough, I think.

And don't forget porn. I've read that there are pic trading P2P tools out there (haven't used any myself of course!) but if there's anything that will sell to Harry and Martha in Dubuque, it's quicker access to hardcore. Don't believe me? Remember VHS, which took off in no small part because it was adopted by the adult industry - and all of those pay sites that were profitable long before Red Hat.

Re:Jesus, I am bored... (1)

donutz (195717) | more than 13 years ago | (#314953)

wow, that sounds like you're really bored. I read the first paragraph, then skipped down to the last (how does he write so much? and how many people read it all?). i guess i agree with his point (if his point is what i read near the end, that p2p is cool, but not a revolution).

. . .

Re:Anyone else really love ripping CDs? (2)

micromoog (206608) | more than 13 years ago | (#314955)

Funny that all the albums you talk about buying were released before the advent of Napster. So you haven't felt the need to buy any more since you discovered that you can steal any music that strikes your fancy, eh?

Steal away; most of us do. Just don't try to moralize it.

Re:P2P is old news (2)

micromoog (206608) | more than 13 years ago | (#314956)

True, the P2P concepts have been around for years. What makes this new wave special is the methods used to access the system. Yes, you've always been able to FTP files from somewhere, then serve them to someone else, but what's new about Gnutella, etc. is that it's organized and designed specifically for that type of sharing.

Of the protocols you mentioned, FidoNet is the closest thing to what we have today. IRC is not P2P except for the DCC aspect of it, which is an explicitly created one-to-one connection. The new P2P systems allow a series of one-to-one connections to appear as a mesh to the end user.

So, yes, the actual file transfer methods have been around for a long time, but the methods to find those files are relatively new.

Disappointed... (1)

QwkHyenA (207573) | more than 13 years ago | (#314957)

I'm seriously disappointed in this review...

Everyone knows we need pictures AND links! I've got the attention span of a 4 year old! That's what makes me a good programmer...

Yep (3)

TheFlu (213162) | more than 13 years ago | (#314959)

do Harry and Martha in Dubuque need peer-to-peer?

Well, I just got off the phone with my Aunt Martha and she said that after a long discussion with Harry, they decided they do, in fact, need peer-to-peer.

Peering into the future...The Linux Pimp [thelinuxpimp.com]

Questions !! (1)

Cardhore (216574) | more than 13 years ago | (#314960)

Here's a question of equal [significance, importance, uselessness]: Does client to server suck?

What you see here is that there really is no argument about this issue; it's over before you've begun. P2P is so vastly differnet among it's applications that it really depends on which one you're debating. And when you connect to the internet, you're probably using an isp. That means that all your talking is with that isp, and its routers. That is "peer to peer." Basically the term is worthless.

USENET is the pre-eminent success story (2)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#314962)

of p2p.

And I've been happy with edonkey for downloading DIVX.

I think p2p will always be there, but may be a little tougher to use, which will just keep out Joe Sixpack, so it's not necessarily a bug.

Peer-to-Peer equates to "egalitarian" (1)

Philbert Desenex (219355) | more than 13 years ago | (#314963)

Maybe peer-to-peer sucks, and maybe it isn't "the future of the Internet", but it ought to be.

The Internet, as it exists today, is peer-to-peer because of the nature of the Internet Protocol. Distinctions between "clients" and "servers" are made only and solely at protocol levels above IP (TCP or UDP or FTP or Telnet or HTTP), and even then the distinction is sometimes pretty hazy. And this is a Good Thing. This underlying peer-to-peer nature is the only thing that's allowed the explosive creativity (Slashdot, HotOrNot, Ebay, Yahoo, &etc) we've witnessed. If The Internet was not peer-to-peer, any entity acting as a "server" would be strictly controlled by some corporate entity (think CompuServe, Delphi, and GEnie), and you'd be buying your "client" from the corporate entity. Only corporate-approved material would get on the server (Think Terms-of-service), and only corporate-approved applications would run on the server (think AOL). The only creativity allowed would be at the fringes, like AIMster, or the old AOL practice of exchanging naughty tease pictures via AOL email.

In this age of convicted suffocating monopolies and massive media conglomeration mergers, Peer-to-peer may constitute the only way that a single person (Matt Drudge) can fight against Time-Warner/AOL/CNN/AT&T. We'd better hope and pray until our palms bleed that peer-to-peer doesn't suck.

Re:Napster may die someday, but (5)

Alioth (221270) | more than 13 years ago | (#314964)

I hope that Napster does not die. I hope Napster will still be around for when musicians will want to make individual deals with Napster to release songs there. Even putting in place a payment scheme so the musicians can receive some compensation. I think Napster may open the eyes of many musicians to the crappy contracts they have with the recording companies. You do not have to mass produce mp3's in order to distribute your music, as is the case with CD's, you only need one. From that one, music can be copied and copied and copied.

Napster is in fact pretty lame for new musicians. How do you find them unless you know the title of their songs or the name of their bands? You can't. Napster doesn't allow browsing by genre.

Much better for the new artist is mp3.com [mp3.com] - the artist gets paid for downloads, can sell CDs via it, they retain the copyright on their music. The user can download new music for free, and find out what the new artist's music is like. You can browse mp3.com by genre, so I can just poke around until I find something I like.

To get your music downloaded on Napster, you essentially have to be famous already. On MP3.com, people can actually find you, even if you're unknown simply by browsing.

Re:TNBT? (1)

wanderung (221424) | more than 13 years ago | (#314965)

I also suspect that if p2p does become successful, it will be part of society as a whole becoming less selfish, or the fact that individuality becomes less important to us. Alternatively, all content could be copied to the peering server that a user connects to, thereby allowing for the user to become unaware of the part they have played in the transfer of material at no/little cost to themselves.

I think technical solutions are more likely than a population of 6 billion people deciding individuality is over-rated. Maybe I'm wrong....

That's funny, that's the second time in as many days that I've seen the statement that individuality is overrated. So you're suggesting that in order to make ourselves free we need to become mindless drones? WTF? Why not just try to convince us that War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength.

Anyone else really love ripping CDs? (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#314966)

And, of course, keeping free -- some will say stolen -- music alive.

Yeah, Alanis Morrissette and Don Henley would say stolen. Sheesh, my sister bought Dogma, my parents have Hell Freezes Over and Hotel California (the latter on BOTH LP and CD), and both me and my sister have Jagged Little Pill (and I don't even listen to mine; it's buried under anti-static bags and old expansion cards somewhere). Add to that my collection of three (yes, THREE) CDs of The Downward Spiral, all aluminum (I kept losing the one I had, and then I found the other two one day).

And these musicians complain of Napster and Gnutella causing a negative cash flow position?!?! Poppycock!!

Of course, CD-ripping and MP3 encoding helps me. I don't have to find the CD if I already ripped it; I can just play the wav or mp3 files from where they were stored. And I don't have to go out to the record store to buy an entire album for just one song; I can just get the one I want. The record companies are going to try to charge us up the wazoo to do this, but as long as Gnutella is up and running, we won't have to tolerate their capitalist bull.

Re:Anyone else really love ripping CDs? (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#314967)

But they still have to make money somehow. They'll find a way better than Metallica was planning (suing the pants off of Napster).

Intensely Decentralized? Give me a break... (2)

human bean (222811) | more than 13 years ago | (#314968)

Could you possibly mean "distributed"?

This is the sort of writing I find in government reports. It is part of the reason that I cannot read an entire Jon Katz article.

ZDNet Article (2)

bmongar (230600) | more than 13 years ago | (#314970)

I wonder if Katz was inpired by this ZD Net Article [zdnet.com] this morning

Re:Napster may die someday, but (1)

Geeky Frignit (232507) | more than 13 years ago | (#314971)

To get your music downloaded on Napster, you essentially have to be famous already. On MP3.com, people can actually find you, even if you're unknown simply by browsing.

I was speaking from the experience a friend of mine's band had with Napster and neglected to include mp3.com in my statement. They use mp3.com as well to promote their music. I have to disagree with you that Napster is lame for new musicians, at least in my experience. Napster does highlight musicians who are not famous in many of their pages. Also, a little work in the chat rooms on Napster can also help new musicians. My friends get in the rooms that relate to their style of music and pretty much ask people to give it a try. Apparently it has worked for them, they recently had to close their website mailing list because they were getting to many applicants for the guys in the band to handle.

Napster may die someday, but (3)

Geeky Frignit (232507) | more than 13 years ago | (#314972)

I hope that Napster does not die. I hope Napster will still be around for when musicians will want to make individual deals with Napster to release songs there. Even putting in place a payment scheme so the musicians can receive some compensation. I think Napster may open the eyes of many musicians to the crappy contracts they have with the recording companies. You do not have to mass produce mp3's in order to distribute your music, as is the case with CD's, you only need one. From that one, music can be copied and copied and copied.

I believe that society has put too much stock in musical and cinematic superstars. People used to do these things for the artistic merits behind them. It wasn't until the marketing industry of the MPAA and RIAA began gouging with prices that musicians became the greedy, self-serving bastards that many are today.

I can see where the RIAA has been detrimental to music. How many times have you heard this statement: "So-and-so is okay, but I liked their earlier stuff better." I know I've said it many times. What happens, I believe, is that because of the contracts for X number of albums, the "artists" do not put their heart into the music. They know they have their contract to fall back on. They can write a couple of good songs and fill their album with crap, and because of those good songs, they will make money still.

Anyway, all I really want to say is: Listen to Prince, he is releasing his next single on Napster!!!

I Am Insane (1)

vodoolady (234335) | more than 13 years ago | (#314974)

But I see p2p as a high-performance, high-availability database. Look out Oracle, here comes Napster!

Excuse me... (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 13 years ago | (#314975)

...if I seem a little cynical about this much-heralded phenomenon:

Now comes the much-heralded P2P, another potential plunge into personalized, chaotic and subterranean communications. Is this what the Net is really about, every invididual talking to every other individual at the same time, nobody really able to grasp, comprehend or evaluate what they are seeing, where it came from, or knowing who else might be seeing it?

That sounds a whole lot like the Internet itself, doesn't it? What's the big, wonderful thing going on here?

p2p is cool, but that 2nd "p" is a problem (2)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 13 years ago | (#314976)

The biggest problem with p2p is the "give to take" ratio, or the second "p" in the equation. Some of you will contribute great things to the system, rare out-of-print recordings or printings, excellent code, or whatever.
I on the other hand, will simply suck the marrow out of the system.

Why? Because I am a no good bastard? =)
No, because I am, for all intents and purposes of p2p, boring and useless. But I do make a killer martini.
I can't code very well, I have no CD collection (I think I own about 10 or so), and I am no graphic artist. I am also, as you may have noticed, not the best writer. What does that leave me to contribute? Perhaps some bandwidth or processing power.

Big deal.

And so it goes with hundreds of others like me who are talented in the non-digital world, but have little to offer to others in the p2p world. We will burden the system with our taking, and we are unable to give in return.

P.S. The offer of a martini stands for the bloke who put those killer Black Sabbath recordings out on the net. You know, the ones that you can't buy anywhere.

Remember your audience (1)

state*less (246807) | more than 13 years ago | (#314978)

Katz makes some good points in his essay but, he fails to realize his audience. Most of the readers at slashdot ARE into technology and they are into it in a big way. Personally as a open source coder i don't care if Gnutella, Alpine, Direct Connect get to a point where everyone in america can use it. I am a technologist and i use it now. This grandios idea that P2P networks must be heralded by the masses in order for them to be sucsessful is ridicuolous. P2P is a succsess for technologists like myself and my fellow peers on slashdot. If katz would just step off of his idealistic pedestal and see the technology for what it is...(A really neat way for individuals to share information without the corprate filter)...He would realize that P2P is here to stay and that P2P doesn't suck.

Time is Change.

RE: musicians dont get into music to make money (1)

roberjo (254325) | more than 13 years ago | (#314979)

Its not about the artists, stupid. Its about the price-gouging, money hungry, soulless RIAA.

The reason the RIAA wants to kill Napster is so they can set up their own version that they can make money off of.

Congrats on having a family member with talent. Sucks to get stuck with the leftovers.

Re:P2P is like the invention of plastic (1)

nanojath (265940) | more than 13 years ago | (#314980)

Apt comment. I think this brings up a very telling point in general. People piss and moan because of things like AOL - but the fact is, AOL comes in and connects the freaking dots for people who don't have either the time, inclination or ability to figure it out for themselves. They get a poorly, bastardized product because of it, but it's something compared to the nothing they would get if they had to do it themselves. Of course, as comments indicate, there are plenty who like it this way - they like the feeling of being a superior intellectual elite, and these people will always hold free technology back from achieving it's potential mainstream appeal. Then, when some bizness-savvy shark brings it to "Joe Sixpack" with the attendant oppresive software, technology, licenses and laws designed to protect their profit motive, the "elite" will cry some more about how dem bastards ruined their fun. If all the people working feverishly on contravening copyright laws instead focused their attention on delivering a sensible, sane self-distribution strategy to artists and consumers, a lot of these issues would rapidly become moot.

This would have been relevant... (1)

BVis (267028) | more than 13 years ago | (#314981)

6 months ago. Granted, there's an O'Reilly book now. But the peer to peer "revolution" has been around for years.

Sorry JonKatz, can't go along with you on this one.

Don't you love Jon when he gets going? (1)

Niscenus (267969) | more than 13 years ago | (#314982)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, like I can talk.

Personally, though I consider peer-to-peer a favourite phrase of PHB's and media runners, and P2P almost as annoying a buzzword as B2B, I must counter Jon on the idea that it's just a resource for the tech involved, even if he didn't state that directly as his opinion...he suggested it enough.

Peer-to-peer technology can be expanded beyond file-sharing, like napster and gnutella, but that comes with good as well as bad.

Right now, as the internet stands, we type in some funky little address we understand, like 2600.com (or, as the returning trend is with many linux sites, www.2600.com), and through two DNS servers, we come with something the series of packets understand, 133.44.06.81 (no, I don't know the IP address of 2600.com, so, please don't whine over a relatively minor point). We use search engines that review filtered site terms address sequence by address sequence, and still, we typically use those sites that have names we recognize, even when they're just a teeny, unrelated part of the site, like www.schmecky.com/memberspages/weaslemiesterspage/w ormsrgui. If that's real, I'm a windows user, but you get the point. And all that is controlled by ICANN.

Was there not merely one but TWO Slashdot articles about the grip and powers of The United States, ICANN and VeriSign along with their respective restrictions? Actually, I think, in all of Slashdot, there probably have been well over a dozen such articles...

Now, imagine a small group getting together and finding a way to make acknowledgement free for everyone without banners (like that evil AOL...AOL to aquire expensive flying monkey army from Microsoft...)...train of thought, where was I? Oh yeah, a team....

Let's us just say that a team gets together to give anyone who wants a voice on the internet for free that chance. They could produce mini-meta-webservers that could very well use peer-to-peer technology. Yes, some centralizations would need to exist, but with structures similar to web-rings, and the http version of incompleteness theorum (just keep clicking links), you could probably do a pretty good job of minimizing any extreme centralization hubs, unlike ICANN, where, when all else fails, you work your way upto their server for the IP address.

Do think you'd feel uncomfortable? Like in ICQ when there was always a trick to expose your IP address? Well, here's a shock for you, but any idjit can get your ip address, only those that don't understand the internet, or script kiddies (see point one) actually think that's oh-so-brilliant. Not merely your IP address, but your DNS-Lookup travel with you wherever you go, and it's the latter that identifies who you are when I need to write a letter to your ISP because you've been saying evil MacNasty things at a bboard...

Now, with the obvious beyond us, I'll move back to my mini-meta-servers(now registered). This allows people to connect to others that may have information they'd be interested in; however, it doesn't keep the other people from being, well, as 80% of the Anonymous Coward population is on Slashdot anyhow, which, by the way, is a number I just pulled out of my tuchis, if you really want to know.

Sure, there will be hate speech, and sex, and all sorts of things you don't really want to know about, but it's just another way to distribute information--another way to surf the web: actual individual user by actual individual user. Put together well, maybe include optional filters, cryptography and categorization, many people could very well learn to use and love to use such a medium. Hey, why not append messaging, less sophisticated than email, more robust than ICU/ICQ/Licq.

Another use that someone will eventually figure out is gaming, and I don't just mean sharing games. Sit back for a moment and think about how many games are constantly, unendingly on going, like Ultima Online, to name one of probably hundreds. Or games the are put together in sessions, when was the last time since someone joined in a session game of Quake? Probably at that question mark.

Imagine a gaming system that implemented peer-to-peer technology, like sharing worlds, trading characters, gaining information, getting personalized items...heck, this sounds like the back of someone's game box already. Imagine a game like Quake or Terraworlds in which the session is unending, like how ownership if IRC channels can be passed from one person to another...and did I mention there could be chat? No? Well, now I did.... Just amazing what you someone could do if they really wanted to....

In fact, combine idea one with idea two, and you know what you have? Your own mini-internet, and ICANN only assigned the standard FREE number sequence. And I'm willing to bet old whomever and what's-her-face in Debuque Iowa really would be interested and could use this kind of peer-to-peer technology. And the best part is: You don't have to put up with Super Schmuckies ideas of what shouldn't be allowed, and work on whatever you want to create, knowing full well that people who don't care won't go to your site, because they're using the filtration and category access I decided should be involved, it doesn't have to be...but it reduces hate mail...amazing I actually give some of you nut jobs my real address come to think of it...

Not many touted push (1)

Niscenus (267969) | more than 13 years ago | (#314983)

Of course, it has yet to be new or gone.
Haven't you signed up for a mailing list yet?

Weap-to-Reap (3)

deran9ed (300694) | more than 13 years ago | (#314984)

The idea is that peer-to-peer is exciting because it harnesses all this unused space, power and connectivity, draws from the basic Net/hacker, free software/Open Source idea of reversing the flow of information, giving more power to individuals to control their own information lives, escaping government or corporation control and domination. Nodes of thought, conversation and data-sharing can flourish far from control of corporate lawyers, FBI agents or copyright snitches, and communications are more lateral and anonymous.

So nice for peer to peer to be marketed this way, as such a rogue technology, then we always run back and cry foul when regulatory rules, or laws come into the picture. In an instance like this, where someone was pointing out just how good of a technology this is to circumvent laws, just shy of saying "Hey kid come here... wanna break the law and sell warez? Use peer to peer".

So peer-to-peer is being championed as a technology, a business opportunity and an investment, as well as a revolutionary new means of empowering people and protecting their civil liberties and sense of individualism. Sounds pretty good.

Actually at this point it doesn't sound good. How could anyone with enough common sense to say "your totally anonymous, and free" think that investing in this technology won't cause them the heartaches of having many people who could wander anonymously free from "government", etc., (as he states) run around commiting white collar crimes such as credit card fraud using this system. Sure now there is "cracker (not to be confused with hacker) insurance" so why not make them a fortune with the possible problems I can forsee based upon the authors comments?

Peer-to-peer is useful where "the goods you're trying to get at lie at many endpoints; in other words, where the value of information lies in the contributions of many users rather than the authority of one." It's obvious that this could be valuable in research and some kinds of business development.

Again referring back to the top comments, why would I, or should I trust someone down the line if I probably won't be able to determine exactly who the person is, if that person is trustworthy. At least via a website you have limited means of determining this, based on the quality of the website, most business will probably throw on a "customers" or "partners" link, etc., as opposed to me just looking for anonymous joe in west bubblefuck to do business with.

P2P threatens to make censorship impossible. But governments have little to fear from P2P. Since everyone is an equal content provider, goes the theory, it would be almost impossible for any significant mass of people to ever see the same message.

Hell yea it will likely introduce all kinds of horrible censorship, and again the author is dead wrong by stating all is an equal content provider. What about those offering illegal things, why would I want to be equal to their actions?

Privacy links [antioffline.com] (well suited for this article)

The military is already trying to do this (1)

jmarca (303319) | more than 13 years ago | (#314985)

It would be great for military networks

yeah, The military is already trying to do this [darpa.mil] with their Small Unit Operation Sutuaiton awareness system, which I've also seen referenced asa Blobal Mobile Information Systems. Essentially, each soldier gets a luggable device that forms an ad-hoc, peer-to-peer communication system that can keep squads/platoons/whatever in contact, while at the same time resisting enemy interference. While this may never fly in a battlefield environment, it probably will fly in downtown urban areas.

Companies never "get" it. It's sad. (2)

BPhilman (303956) | more than 13 years ago | (#314986)

Peer to peer isn't for the average joe; you're right about that, absolutely. Probably 90% of the people in this country have no need for peer to peer, or much of anything else on the net if you think about it. Let's set aside the trade in illicit music and software for a moment. If you think about it, the only other thing you can really use peer to peer for is collaboration, right? So, who, other than programmers, revolutionaries (I'll get to this in a minute), and scientists, would collaborate in this way?

However, I think peer-to-peer is important for an entirely different reason. Consider the direction the computer industry is heading in. Think about MS Passport -- read the slashdot article if you want to get your daily scare. Think about their .net initiative. Think about how it seems as though the internet gets more corporate every day. Those of us who use the internet mostly to exchange ideas and publish 'zines and such are in danger, whether it seems that way or not at this early stage. Eventually, our ability to publish what we want, and swap code and files as we choose, may be significantly diminished. We might have to worry about whether we're giving up ownership of our work when we send an email or post a web page, something that would RUIN the web as we know it. Think about it -- how hard would it be for Bill Gates to get just about every large ISP on board for his initiatives? And, once that happens, what happens to your intellectual property? Kiss it goodbye, chums. Maybe.

Here's where we get into what I'd use peer-to-peer for, and what I'd really like to see people start to do.

Remember the Bulletin Board? Back in the '80s, when the net wasn't really all that available to most people, private individuals would start bulletin boards (BBS's) and do everything we now do on the net. There was no government control, or external influence, you just had to install a high-capacity modem and enough lines and you were in business. If you were slick, you could get a primitive internet connection and share it among your users (no web, just like, telnet and stuff).

BBS'es were great. You could share files, communicate with your friends, work on a shared server... So, picture this:

Microsoft gets its way. The internet is dumbed down, collaboration is affected because no one wants to let Passport's EULA dual-copyright their stuff, most people end up using stupid little net appliances... Techies everywhere are bummed. So, we get fed up, order DSL service, hack together a Linux box or three, and start non-passport servers. Then, we start a peer-to-peer network that encrypts communications between nodes so that they can't be captured except within the p2p network (where Passport, .net and similar setups are banned outright by OUR terms of use). An entire subculture forms around the peer to peer network being built, and it's used for collaboration between programmers, and web publishing among members of the group. Techie happiness returns to the world, Microsoft is foiled, and the lion lays down with the lamb.

It gets better.

As society gets more corporate and techies get more and more disillusioned and annoyed by what they're seeing around them, they decide to pull a mini-secession from the rest of the world and form a virtual nation. It's organized in the same way revolutionary cells were in old communist countries. One server is connected to a group of other servers, for one-way publishing downward, while they're connected to each other. No server "knows" anything about the server above it, or the servers below its peer servers, so you can think about the system as a big tree, with each node able to reference four or five children, and so on, and able to receive info from its parent node. Information can be quickly disseminated from a semi-central authority (which would have a number of peers itself, so the system would be quite redundant) throughout the network. If one node were to be shut down, at most you could shut down its peers and their child nodes. The controller of that node could then rebuild that part of the tree by assigning new systems in.

How about that, slashdotters? A whole underground society, working via an encrypted, heirarchial tree-like network of mini peer to peer networks, happily trading files and code and whatever else they want, without having to worry about corporate america at all. You could even arrange a currency and a work-reward system, and drop out of society entirely. Members would have to "show income" as organized crime used to in the twenties, so they could get joe jobs to cover their rent and food, and handle everything else on the black market. Think about THAT -- black market tech consulting. No taxes! heh heh heh...

JUST KIDDING -- don't sic the IRS on me.

But, seriously. Wouldn't that be something?
crazyphilman@programmer.net

Re:One Application (1)

erayzer (307107) | more than 13 years ago | (#314987)

"where individuals can produce high quality content" Your system does not make this happen. Talent makes this happen. God I hate marketing nonsense.

My Experience with BearShare (2)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 13 years ago | (#314988)

I've installed BearShare on my Win98 box at home. It runs well over a cable connection. This is my observation of the software:

Big device for trading pr0n

It has the reputation for being the successor of Napster. And it's a great Gnutella client, but what i'm actually seeing (since it displays all the queries that people are sending) is that people are requesting almost nothing but porn.

Don't get me wrong, you can still get whatever music you might desire, but i see it all as being completely overshadowed by the VAST amount of porn that is going through.

Publishers will stop looking for next big thing (2)

The Evil Sansbury (314889) | more than 13 years ago | (#314989)

when people stop buying books in the hopes of catching the wave. Technology is nothing. Adoption of it is everything. -cwk.

a review of the reviewer (1)

CrackElf (318113) | more than 13 years ago | (#314990)

Very poorly reviewed. First off, this new, breathtaking, technology is not new. Mr. katz shows very little technical knowledge, and even less knowledge concerning the socio-economic impact of technology. He seems quite proficient at making dramatic, sweeping statements concerning all sorts of things (wether he knows what he is talking about or not). This sort of 'journalism' is best suited for tabloids. Is this where slashdot is heading? towards becoming that tabloid of technical world? I have read several articles from mr. katz, and they all seem to lack a solid basis in the technical world. I think that i know now what I should expect from mr. katz. His 'Articles' read more like sermons or calls to arms then any sort of responsible journalism. Though his works are syntactically and grammatically quite elegant, the content is lacking. Catch phrases and grandiose statements concerning new sweeping revolutions that exist only in the minds of those who have a weak grasp on technology is not the basis for good writing. mr. katz, please educate yourself before you presume to discuss on a topic.
-CrackElf

BTW: Mr. Katz, there has not been a technological revolution for several years, despite the marketing gimmicks. You missed the boat, and even if you had not, i have doubt in your abilities to comprehend the technology effectively enough to have made use of it in any case.

Re:Napster may die someday, but (2)

M$ Winblows (321338) | more than 13 years ago | (#314991)

I dont really care if Napster lives or dies to tell you the truth. I've used Gnutella, Imesh etc.. and they work just as well. I do need to argue this statement:

the RIAA has been detrimental to music. How many times have you heard this statement: "So-and-so is okay, but I liked their earlier stuff better." I know I've said it many times. What happens, I believe, is that because of the contracts for X number of albums, the "artists" do not put their heart into the music. They know they have their contract to fall back on. They can write a couple of good songs and fill their album with crap, and because of those good songs, they will make money still.

I actually have someone in my family that has been signed by a record label, received gold/platinum albums and then had the band broke up. What I don't agree with in your analagy is that - Most bands play for years and years (and years) before getting 'discovered' and in that time span they will have a rock solid album with their 12 best songs. Now the record company will want a follow up album in less than a year! So they have to conjur up all the talent they have to create something that is rushed to market where they're given no 'ifs ands or buts' - just get an album out (and believe me the record companies can be complete asses - money is their bottom line). So what you get is a great first album and the second, third album is just crap because they have no time to work on the songs. Talk to any musician that has been signed and I bet you will hear something similar. Oh and by the way most musicians dont get into music to make money they do it because they love making music - not because they hope to get signed and make big money (oh and just because you get signed doesnt gaurantee that you will make money - you friggen dipshit) I believe this to be a more realistic analagy of what happens when you say "I liked their earlier stuff better." So please, next time you try to think - please pull your head out of your ass first (it will at least unclog your ears for you to listen to common reasoning)

Remember were ever you go, there you are!

TNBT? (1)

w2gy (324957) | more than 13 years ago | (#314994)

Everybody is always looking for The Next Big Thing. Over the last 7 years or so I've been hanging around the net, I've seen technologies come and go, some of which might make a resurgance yet (multicast, server-push, etc.) but the poster is right in that whenever somebody touts a technology as the next big thing, it promptly dies. Everybody thought Napster would be the next big thing, but Gnutella is chugging away building up bigger and bigger every day.

The problem with p2p is that it requires two things that many people don't have. The first is bandwidth which is a technical obstacle that will be overcome with time and/or search pattern algorithms becoming less bandwidth-sucking. The other alternative rather than pushing every search query over almost every node is to use a more hierarchical system, whereby core nodes handle that traffic. A cross between the Napster server model and the Gnutella distributed model if you like.

The second is more of a social problem - we as a species lack generosity. We don't want other people to be using our bandwidth to download stuff they want, and we want to keep as much of our property and territory to ourselves as possible. It's part of human nature - we want to be individuals with the ability to get people off our patch if we want.

The truly "sexy" thing about p2p, and why it might be so popular with geeks in particular is the notion of the collective sharing knowledge and information over a vast geographical area - it's the closest to becoming the Borg or getting into Star Trek any of us will ever come. It's a salient, beautiful idea that appeals to us all, and the only reason why we don't like the Borg as characters realistically is because they assimilate - coming back to the right of the individual to protect their individuality. The idea of sharing, or being forced to share, scares the middle classes of p2p as much as the Borg.

As to what defines p2p, or whether it is TNBT, nobody really knows. I suspect the next generation will be based on a large group of core servers that handle the searches and direct content that are connected to high-bandwidth pipes, and allow for small groups (say 20 at a time) of nodes to connect and use the functionality of p2p without having to use the bandwidth requirement. This would enable a very a strong community presence to develop, for p2p to prosper, and for bandwidth requirements to be centralised where they should be.

I also suspect that if p2p does become successful, it will be part of society as a whole becoming less selfish, or the fact that individuality becomes less important to us. Alternatively, all content could be copied to the peering server that a user connects to, thereby allowing for the user to become unaware of the part they have played in the transfer of material at no/little cost to themselves.

I think technical solutions are more likely than a population of 6 billion people deciding individuality is over-rated. Maybe I'm wrong....

Re: Stolen music (1)

TopherC (412335) | more than 13 years ago | (#314996)

I really like the ability to download music from peer-to-peer networks, and I think it could even be good for the recording industry. Here's a typical scenario for me:

First, I actually hear a new song on the radio and think it's not too bad. Yes, this does actually happen once every month or two. If the artist is good, then it's always the worst songs on an album that get any airplay, so I would probably want the album for the other songs. Or if the artist is bad, the other songs will be a similar tripe and I won't be interested.

Next, I can download parts or all of the album from napster or gnutella. I'll soon find out whether or not I like it. If I really like it, I'll buy the CD because I can play it in my car or home stereo which are both much better than my cheap computer speakers.

I also think the idea of buying a CD just for one song that you've already heard is crazy. The really good songs are the ones that take time to appreciate, and you never hear those unless you get the whole CD. But if you're a "professional student" like me, you won't be able to afford buying CDs very often, so you have to be choosy. Napster and gnutella help me do this. In fact I'm surprised by how much more music I like because of this.

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