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   Re: what Napster means for XML

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  • From: "W. E. Perry" <wperry@fiduciary.com>
  • To: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>, xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 12:55:04 -0400

I don't take this as a blanket dismissal at all. In fact, it seems to me that
you validate my argument. What does scalability mean except adequate supply to
meet actual demand? Where the demand (for MP3's, for example) is great, there
will be multiple replicant sources which, in the aggregate, provide
availability all of the time. Where the demand is very small, a
reasonably-scaled supply may, in fact, be one which is only intermittently
available:  scalability works both up and down. In the case of either large or
small demand, however, this form of supply is fundamentally different from data
tied to a specific artifact--the manuscripts which you and I are both familiar
with, for example--where however great the demand, the supply is fixed and,
indeed will decline over time as the need to protect a physical resource from
the ravages of use becomes the single greatest consideration in its


Walter Perry

David Megginson wrote:

> OK, let me rephrase then -- in a distributed system like Napster, the
> likelihood of the availability of any piece of information at any
> particular time is dependent on its popularity.  If enough users have
> copies of the information on their systems, then at least one of them
> is likely to be connected when I go looking; otherwise, the
> information is simply unavailable.
> This works well with MP3s because most people go out looking for the
> same few thousand MP3s over and over again.  In the general case,
> however, this model will not always be applicable: any piece of
> information that does not reach a certain level of popularity will
> simply be unavailable most of the time.
> Clearly, the Napster model *will* be work in other areas that share
> similar properties to MP3s -- a relatively small number of items with
> a relatively large number of users -- so please don't take this as a
> blanket dismissal.

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