> A quick note - the decentralized system that is being proposed is NOT peer
> to peer.  At the top, at the aggregator, it functions just the same as the
> centralized solution: One database, searchable and acessable by all - ie
> napster.

Think I got it; so the "aggregator" functions like the news feeds(?) except
it's remotely querying databases, periodically (or on the fly -pushed?-),

> The difference is how the metada gets to the central DB.  Either it is
> aggregated from nodes, or required to be centrally submitted to bypass the
> technical hurdles of aggregation.

The "killer app" aspect, then, is the automation of data directory
centralization as opposed to relying on participants to visit and update the
central site manually(?)

> I am under the impression that feasability or technical-hard-ness of
> building the metadata collection functionality to be decentralized rather
> than requiring it to be centrally submitted does not nearly outweigh the
> problems with admining, maintaining, and hosting the central solution.

Given the above clarification, it sounds more do-able if the node admins can
be "educated"..

> When i get home i will be rifling through some books for quotes to support
> my claim that Reed's Law and End-to-End principals support the
> decentraralized design over the centralized design.

Interestingly, reed gave a presentation where he illustrated his "law" (I've
got a semantic bone to pick with that term as applied to "theories"  * <
strict definitional  sense*, but I digress..) using the example of online

"But the theory is less important than the practice, at least if you're
trying to profit from the Internet, so I'll make some predictions based on
the likely effects of the Group-Forming Law in 2002:
The obvious conclusion is that whoever forms the biggest, most robust
communities will win. But the Group-Forming idea can be used to look well
beyond the obvious and discriminate among strategies that are all billed as
building communities. For instance, Internet auction pioneer Onsale, which
buys closeout products and auctions them on its Web site, will see its value
rise only in proportion to the number of users. On-line classifieds, which
connect buyers to sellers on a peer-to-peer basis, should see a stronger,
Metcalfe effect. Ebay, which began as one person's attempt to establish a
market for Pez candy dispensers, should get an even more powerful
Group-Forming effect because it helps members act in groups as they auction
off and bid for products on-line. (Other economics work in favor of Ebay,
too. Because the Group-Forming effect will give it enormous volumes of
business, it can charge a lower commission on sales. The low fees will
attract more users and produce a virtuous circle. Also, because it's Ebay's
customers who do the selling, Ebay doesn't face any inventory or
product-development issues.)"

Notice he touts EBay as an example; a centralized system. But it doesn't
necessarily follow that a thriving Group-Forming online communty can't be
fostered via a distibuted network. Jon Udell apprently thinks just the
opposite in evaluting the future of Radio Userland:

"Both approaches are valid, but there is a middle ground -- more coherent
than email, less isolated than Groove -- that needs to be occupied. Radio
doesn't yet know how to occupy that middle ground. But it has the tools
people need to do the experiment: a distributed scripting engine and object
database, Web-services protocols. When Radio's currently-centralized
community engine itself becomes distributable (as is planned), I expect to
see an explosion of group-forming activity. The spaces thus constituted will
express different sets of values, but they'll federate in the way that
Reed's Law predicts."


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