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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] How do do a namespace server right

From: Tom Lord
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] How do do a namespace server right
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004 22:41:18 -0800 (PST)

    > From: James Blackwell <address@hidden>

    > What I'm attemping to illustrate is that the problem that we're all
    > seeking to avoid, the creation of a monopoly for the namespace, is
    > actually somewhere different than we've been thinking. The problem
    > is not in having an 'arch namespace server (ANS)'. The problem is that any
    > such ANS must be a commodity so that anybody can run one out of their
    > basement.

Well said.

There's ancillary aspects, too.   Consider how FreshMeat relates to
all the other OSDN properties.   They are a bit like the Ministry of
Information of todays commercial FOSS demographic.   They control the
news.  They control the library.    They control the library catalog.

They _have_ a de facto namespace authority.   Just now, for example, 
the top-of-the-page entry on freshmeat is "Wikindx".   It's an
authoritative name for that project in the sense that no future FM
entry will displace it.   Should the project make a big splash, the
/. and Newsforge articles will use that name.  Sure enough, just by
coincidence, this project is hosted at sourceforge and called
"wikindx" there.

I could borrow some cycles on and set up a registry for
project names just fine.   Might take only a day or two even if I had
to code the thing up from scratch.   Might take a week or two for you
to tie this into the supermirror.

But without /., FM, Newsforge ....   it'd be spitting in the wind.

The anarchic philosophy of design has to be carried through as
archness starts to influence all the kinds of ancillary services that
get built up around it.

I fear we're already in an underdog position.   No, I don't mean
underdogs relative to OSDN -- that's a given.   I mean that we have to
watch out for efforts that may arise which aim to define themselves as
the global "arch hub" and which may not respect the
egalitarian/anarchic ideals --- efforts that want to out-OSDN OSDN

(Incidentally, VA Software's financial's aside, OSDN will not be
allowed to fail anytime soon.  Instead, worst case, they'll get pushed
around and come to be dominated by a small handful of big
advertisers.   OSDN's demographics are too much a source of power to
let rot on the vine.)

    > Does this ASN need to be some sort of specialized server?  HECK NO. We've
    > learned from both CVS's and subversion's server that specialized servers
    > are the wrong way to go.  No, the right answer here is to devise a
    > filesystem protocol that can be served by CFDP[0]. Something like
    > the way that arch works now. 

    > For example, what if people could perform the following (I've simplified
    > the scenario. In a more proper solution, things would be a little more
    > complex):

    > 1a. "tla lookup --add";
    >    Add to
    >    ~/.arch-params/lookupservers

    > 1b . "tla lookup --add";
    >   Add to ~/.arch-params/lookupservers

    > 2. "tla register-archive --lookup address@hidden
    >   Downloads and conflates &

    >   2a. If only one archive matches, register-archive it.

    >   2b. If more than one archive matches, list all matching archives and 
    >       tell the user to run register-archive by hand.

    > 3. user creates new archive

    > 4. user registers the archive with a site by visiting a cgi page that
    >    updates the list of archives in

    > [0] CFDP or "Common File Distribution Protocols" - An acronym I just made
    > up on the spot that refers to servers such as http, ftp, scp, etc.

I wonder if you aren't missing the concept of "hats" or "universes".

One way to deal with conflicting names is to allow a user to wear
mutliple hats and change between them.   Crudely-speaking, to swap around
part of the "locations" subdir of .arch-params.

Instead of someone setting up a namespace in their basement -- they
can set up a "universe of discourse" in their basement of which the
namespace is one part.


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