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Freshmeat: The World Free Web

Jul 30, 2000, 17:39 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eric Ries)

"For those that don't already know, FreeNet is a fully distributed information storage system somewhat akin to Gnutella, except that it is anonymous and far more resilient to attack. The basic concept is that each node in the network replicates content that passes through it on the way to another node. This has many advantages, including the fact that popular information tends to propagate across the network and become more abundant over time. I won't go into all of the features of the FreeNet project here because you can read all about it on their Web page."

"Compare FreeNet to the current WWW architecture. As information on a Web server becomes more popular, it becomes more difficult for users to access. Witness the impressive "Slashdot effect" which occurs when thousands of users suddenly overwhelm a Web server. The Slashdot effect is caused by the centralization of information. When information is centrally located, this location becomes a single point of failure for the distribution of that information. The irony of the Slashdot effect is that it is caused by users making thousands of copies of the relevant information. It's not as if the information has become scarce -- quite the opposite. Users ought to be able to share that information with each other, decentralizing it. [Editor's note: In fact, this already happens. What do you see almost immediately in the comments to a story that links to a movie trailer or the photos of Hemos's wedding? "Here's a mirror" and "Here's another". Making this more efficient by turning it into part of the system would actually just be the next step in an already-established practice.]"

"I propose that FreeNet be integrated into the Mozilla cache structure, allowing users to form a sort of "browsers' cooperative" in which pages are freely shared in a giant collective caching structure. (Of course, this should not be limited just to the Mozilla browser, but I think it's a good starting point.)"

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