RE: The P in P2P

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From: Lucas Gonze (
Date: Mon Sep 11 2000 - 14:30:35 PDT

> Why, exactly, isn't Apache "the Apache of P2P"?

Apache is a single protocol - HTTP. P2P is a bunch of protocols (HTTP, napster,
gnutella, freenet, and many more). HTTP is bi-directional, P2P is one-way and
event oriented; it often needs much higher message volume (and speed) than HTTP
can do; it needs more robust long-lived connections than HTTP can do. You can
use Apache as an interface to P2P networks by writing CGI scripts, but there
still needs to be a general server for other protocols. You have to build that
other server as a separate module on a separate port, but then you are not

To be a general purpose P2P tool, as opposed to being a Napster clone or a
Gnutella clone, then you have to be multi-protocol. This is why we morph
messages into a generic format (function name, function arguments, binary
attachments) on their way in, run a cgi-type script on them, and morph them back
to the original protocol on the way out. Multiple protocol streams can
intersect and flow through the same toolset, which allows us to be

I have no beef with the fractional-horsepower http faction, as long as I am not
agreeing that HTTP is a good protocol for P2P. It is a legacy tool for
interfacing with browsers and busting through firewalls.

> Sounds like a matter for InstallShield... there's no reason for it to
> be such an imposing mass of files; it's easy enough to profile down to
> a few libraries. Even mod_perl, potentially.

The mess of files is a byproduct of licensing issues, because our code is a
combination of GPL and Apache license modules. GPL prohibits you from bundling
them in a single package. To fix this we'll have to find GPL equivalents of all
the Apache-license stuff we are using - it's a todo item that will take about a

_but_ this is valuable feedback, so thanks.

> ObPlug: WorldOS + Cybiko is the closest I've seen yet to realizing the
> munchkins-vision...!

Except that there is a philosophical difference. Our goal to be flexible enough
to survive in any environment, based on the axiom that a decentralized internet
is hopelessly chaotic.

- Lucas

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