on the popularity idea
okay, so we have here a system by which, due to its nature, oft-requested files and information become more abundant on the network.
however, last I checked, computers do not have infinite storage, so the unpopular marginalized information suddenly becomes even more scarce than it was originally -- simply because it will be, if I understood all that right, topologically excluded in inverse proportion to how popular its files are.
so after a while it will be very easy to find britney spears and kid rock mp3s, but very difficult to find [name your favorite artist] mp3s.
the problem is that popularity is defined by central media. slashdot decides (effectively) what is important in the geek world. they post a url and everybody goes. now they post a url and it's copied all over the place, at the expense (due to finite storage) of other pages.
oh sure, the original webpage or server holding the unpopular file will still exist, but as the document said, the sorts of servers that "aren't useful" to the network will be pushed toward the periphery and get harder to access. **files that are on fewer machines than others will always be statistically harder to access**, simply because of the problematic nature of networks. shit goes down, crashes, is attacked, whatever. the more copies you have out there, the safer that information is. how many times have you tried to find out more about some program or project or anything, only to find that the only page in the world on which that information existed is now gone forever?
(if somebody could get me more information on the linux DIME project I would be eternally grateful)so you have all these nodes basically working to oust and keep marginal those servers which don't "play the game" and provide for the "useful" files. or are just down a lot and so aren't successfully sending files.
so, thanks to mtv and a popularity based file system, i will probably never hear my favorite music again. yay.
but this had to happen sometime. the net is just too damned big, and out of convenience we gravitate toward centralized sources to handle the information for us. slashdot, cnn, ftp.cdrom.com. this has all happened once before. it's called "the real world". people are so unpleased with the record companies and media and... everything. but it's happening on the net and is inevitable. mp3.com is a good example. most of their music sucks donkey balls right now, but, again, due to convenience, they have centralized a lot of their information -- you can find the most downloaded artists on their front pages and skip the search, ignore all the cruft, and find the good stuff. eventually they (or something like them) will be the first of the new breed of record companies. freedom for music, democracy, etc etc. all that crap you hear about the net, it's not true, and becoming less true every day. because we are lazy and like things fed to us.
to all you optimists out there who imagine that the net is really going to change the world, I hope I'm still around in 25 years to see where it all went. but now I just say, analyze the consequences of your seemingly simple actions on the net, and ask yourself "what if everybody is doing this?" because they probably are.
we have quite a big mirroring project going on right now: every day the net looks a little more like the world they show on tv and in the papers, a world where paved roads decide where we're allowed to go.