Re: Napster - the quiet revolution

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From: Adam L. Beberg (
Date: Mon Feb 28 2000 - 02:46:37 PST

On Sun, 27 Feb 2000, Eugene Leitl wrote:

> It seems however, that Napster suffers from a few design flaws:
> centralism (there is a central database, right?);

I could be wrong, but isn't the central database of pirated media the
whole point? It certainly accounts for 99.99% of the usefulness.

Napster really just boils down to an FTP server and archie with a fancy
GUI [wasn't there an Xarchie]. Those were the days.

> It would have been nice to to be able to run the global title index
> via a distributed database (no single point of failure, e.g. due to
> unfriendly legal action)

Ah, distributed databases, the holy grail. See also: beyond-bloody-hard
problems. Simple replication in other countries would probably
work perfectly well.

To bad the drive with all the music is where you live, so you can't
avoid the laws that easily. Napster really should be based in a nice
country with no property laws.

> would allow each node to reach any other node within just a few hops
> over the virtual network. Caching the index of titles stored directly
> on these nodes could probably reduce the traffic quite a bit. A
> top-100 list and related-list (users who downloaded this title also
> downloaded the following titles, ranked by total downloads) would seem
> to greatly increase program functionality.

Caching is good, it's static data, unfortunately it's also BIG data,
bringing your cache efficiency right down to bad in a hurry. Music does
conform very well to a hurd mentality, so it just might work well enough
to justify.

> The rationale is to sneak code into a widely used utility which would
> create an infrastructure for secure anonymous peer to peer
> communication, content sharing and digital payments (let's call it
> CryptNet) on top of insecure, increasingly monitored/filtered public
> networks.

Sounds like a good description of https, or a dozen other versions of
that reinvented wheel. But Napster as a .cgi script would be beyond most
users. So it really had to be on another port etc.

One way or another they are going to notice you downloading mp3's at
work/school, it's not like they are small and it is their network.

- Adam L. Beberg
  The Cosm Project - -

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