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   Re: what Napster means for XML

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  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>, XML-Dev List <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 10:32:06 -0400

At 08:55 AM 4/25/00 -0400, David Megginson wrote:
>For general information exchange, this model would not work so well.
>What if SAX were available only when I happened to have my notebook
>plugged into my cable modem?

What if the XML documents you wanted from your business partner were only
available when you happened to have your notebook plugged into you cable

That's a much more plausible scenario than SAX - we're talking about
distributing content, not software.  It's also a scenario people are used
to dealing with, and one that's solved easily with exciting technologies
like local caching.

>Further to Tim's point, Napster is a special case because there's an
>extremely high degree of redundancy: even a moderately popular song
>will show up on dozens or hundreds of computers at once.  Since most
>of the time many people are chasing relatively few (say, a few
>thousand) songs, it doesn't much matter who you get the song from.
>Note that there are still central servers to help you *find* the song
>you want.

Most of the time users are chasing relatively few documents, and have some
kind of idea where those documents are coming from.  Napster is 'dangerous'
because it challenges centralized control of music distribution (and
contains no payment mechanism.)  

I think a lot of cases where distributed XML document distribution and
processing make sense lack that danger - they are cases where information
is distributed anyway, where running it all through a central server
creates an expensive bottleneck.

Oh well.  When I finish this @#X! XHTML book, I'll try to write this up
more coherently.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
Cookies / Sharing Bandwidth

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