Decentralization and exhastive searches: mutually exclusive?

From: Alex Future Bokov (
Date: Mon Jul 31 2000 - 17:46:33 MDT


Okay, this is a theoretical question that I'd like to ask without
getting bogged down in politics. I'm using Napster and Gnutella as
convenient examples and not because I approve or disapprove of either.

1. Gnutella--
        It's distributed and therefore robust. You cannot shut down
        gnutellanet by shutting down one, or ten, or a thousand servers.
        However, you cannot do exhaustive searches on it. The content
        you're looking for might be out there and yet not be guaranteed
        to show up on a search. Another disadvantage is that the
        searches make inefficient use of bandwidth.

2. Napster--
        It is exhaustive. For better or worse, you'll find every single
        instance of Michael_Jackson_Thriller.mp3 that anybody on the
        network is serving. However, the server/s that store the
        content listings and corresponding locations of the content are
        all under the control of one company, which means they are
        vulnerable to legal action, censorship, company-wide technical
        failure, corporate abuse, and attack by hackers.
So, what about combining the best of the two? Decentralization and
exhaustive searching? Is it a logical impossibility, or is it merely
something that hasn't been done yet?

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