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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] New feature at the mirror + request for help

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] New feature at the mirror + request for help
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004 01:33:11 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) XEmacs/21.4 (Portable Code, linux)

Interesting discussion.

>>>>> "Tom" == Tom Lord <address@hidden> writes:

    Tom> What I would very much like to preserve, however, is:

    Tom>         ~ flexibility
    Tom>         ~ user choice
    Tom>         ~ no fixed authority game

These three don't scale indefinitely.  As you point out, DNS has to
have root servers because it's supposed to scale as far as possible.

Today, with arch being a means of cooperation among hackers, it's
unlikely that the "world" of arch users would expand to that point,
and even more unlikely (given the nature of hackers) that arch users
will demand more than local consistency in their region---they'll just
work out any boundary conflicts by renaming.

However, if arch is going to become part of the general distribution
infrastructure (and in a more and more free software world with better
build systems and config management, you can see good reasons for
this), it will have to scale beyond local consistency.  Users will be
willing to give up choice, flexibility, or free entry for authorities
in return for global consistency.

I wonder in the end you'll have to make a choice between central
authorities (possibly a self-selecting backbone cabal) for arch
registry.  Dunno if that's worth worrying about.  I note that the fact
that it's unlikely that there would be another "address@hidden"
out there depends already on the DNS centralization.  Maybe it can all
be pushed off on that, although increasing the importance of DNS for
global coordination might not be a great idea....

    Tom> If you got silly about it, there'd be some heavy sighs and
    Tom> somebody else would put up a new supermirror.  We'd just
    Tom> recall our proxy.

This hasn't worked for Microsoft yet.  Monopolies have their limits,
but they can extract a lot of rent, and worse, exclude a lot of users,
before reaching them.

    Tom> in the back room, start to work out a revenue model.

You really think Sourceforge and Savannah will allow that?  Not that
their managers have any designs on you and jblack personally, but if
arch gets to that point, don't you think they'll offer arch hosting?
Once they do, why would a user, either the developer or the client, be
willing to pay?  (Well, timely list mail delivery might be one reason.

Or how about Google---since arch is decentralized, doesn't it seem
likely that something like Google would make it possible to search for
arch archives, and that supermirrors would be unnecessary?

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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