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

“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

“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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