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O'Reilly Network: Peer-to-Peer Makes the Internet Interesting Again

Sep 23, 2000, 20:08 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Oram)

"There are no more clients and servers -- or at least, the servers retract themselves discreetly. Instead, the significant communication takes place between cooperating peers. And thus, starting around early July 2000, the new Internet model was dubbed peer-to-peer. ... In August, Tim O'Reilly surmised that peer-to-peer technology could evolve faster if key leaders, each of whom "had a hand on a piece of the elephant," started talking intensively to each other. ... Organized by numerous departments across O'Reilly & Associates, the summit on September 18 in San Francisco was attended by some 20 people whose expertise ranged across the computer field."

"...when we tried to extract a simple set of principles from our experience, we found out how new and unformed the field is. Simple generalities couldn't hold up to dispassionate observation. At the end of the day, literally, we had to be content with listing the early successes of peer-to-peer and suggesting a vision that many of us are fashioning."

"...there's no doubt that peer-to-peer will challenge the architecture of current Internet services. Nelson Minar, cofounder of a distributed computing startup named Popular Power, says that peer-to-peer redefines the assumptions behind asymmetric service (like ADSL and cable modems). Michael Tiemann, CTO of Red Hat, adopts a positive attitude and goes so far as to say, "Peer-to-peer may be the critical enabling technology that makes broadband possible."

"Peer-to-peer raises the possibility for people interested in a topic to create their own language for talking about it. While different communities may all share an underlying infrastructure, like Jabber's chat service or Gnutella file sharing, the structure of the users' data can emerge directly from the users."

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