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Working hard on General Presence - Journal of Omnifarious

Feb. 4th, 2003

11:27 pm - Working hard on General Presence

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I've been working hard recently on General Presence. I want to build a server I feel happy adding things to. Like it's fairly light and effortless to do so. We need more programmers who don't care about things like that that I have to clean up after later. Sadly, we have no money, so we can't afford to hire them.

Because the nature of the application is peer-to-peer (P2P), I've taken to calling 'servers' hubs. I envision user agents as generally being spokes, though they can act like hubs as well, they most likely won't nearly as much. I envision hubs having as many or more than 5000 active connections at a time. Some, very busy hubs, may have as many as 50000. I don't think user agents will ever have more than 5 or 10.

I want to be able to combine the efficiencies of centralization with the robustness and resistance to subjugation of a heavily distributed approach.

Current Mood: [mood icon] busy
Current Music: 13 Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Dark


[User Picture]
Date:February 5th, 2003 08:32 am (UTC)
It's good to have goals.

I'm pretty sure you're speaking English.
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[User Picture]
Date:February 5th, 2003 10:00 am (UTC)

Take AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), for example. It requires that you connect to AOL. Then it sends everybody else who's connected to AOL information about whether or not you're actually there (like an away message). When someone chooses to send you a message, it gets sent to AOL, then AOL sends it to the person you want to talk to.

If you think about the thousands, perhaps millions of people who are all using AIM, they ALL connect to AOL. AOL is a gigantic hub. Everybody who's connected to AOL is a spoke.

AIM clients can connect to eachother when two people want to talk, but that's the only reason they connect. If you're connected to two people who are mutual friends, they can't use your client to send messages to eachother. They either have to connect to eachother themselves, or send messages through AOL. So AOL clients can never really act like hubs. They can ONLY be spokes.

If AOL decides that they need to intercept every message you send, it's pretty trivial for them to do so. If AOL shut down, every AIM client in the world would stop working. Because AIM requires AOL as a hub, and can't act in any way as a hub itself, it's very vulnerable to various kinds of attacks from AOL. It's centralized.

That, of course, is my main difficulty with socialism. Socialism is a centralized system. It will ultimately fail because of attacks against the hub, the government. Not that people will necessarily go in with guns and take it over. They may use money to corrupt officials, or they may discover holes in laws that let them do things. There are various ways of corrupting the central authority.

Anyway, one thing about my journal is that things marked with the penguin and monitor picture are quite likely to be very geeky. :-)

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