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> From: Rohit Khare
> Date: Mon Oct 7, 2002 5:09:00 PM US/Pacific
> To: fork [at] xent [dot] com
> Subject: why is decentralization worth worrying about?
> Why am I so passionate about decentralization? Because I believe some
> of today’s most profound problems with networked applications are
> caused by centralization.
> Generically, a centralized political or economic system permits only
> one answer to a question, while decentralization permits many separate
> agents to hold different opinions of the same matter. In the specific
> context of software, centralized variables can only contain one valid
> value at a time. That limits us to only representing information A)
> according to the beliefs of a single agency, and B) that changes more
> slowly than it takes to propagate. Nevertheless, centralization is the
> basis for today’s most popular architectural style for developing
> network applications: client-server interaction using request-response
> communication protocols.
> I believe these are profound limitations, which we are already
> encountering in practice. Spam, for example, is in the eye of the
> beholder, yet our email protocols and tools do not acknowledge the
> separate interests of senders and receivers. Slamming, for another,
> unfairly advantages the bidder with the lowest-latency connection to a
> centralized auction server. Sharing ad-hoc wireless networks is yet a
> third example of decentralized resource allocation. Furthermore, as
> abstract as centralization-induced failures might seem today, these
> limits will _not_ improve as the cost of computing, storage, and
> communication bandwidth continue to plummet. Instead, the speed of
> light and human independence constitute _fundamental_ limits to
> centralized information representation, and hence centralized software
> architecture.