Adding Memory to the Net

Mike Duvos enoch at
Sun Aug 31 11:31:36 PDT 1997

A few people have commented on my "Distributed Network Cache
Service" suggestion since I posted it, and I would like to
respond to their comments.

The basic idea here is to add memory to the Net in a reliable
way, so that the Net provides memory services in the way it now
universally provides data transport services.  The Net would then
serve compressed encrypted Octet Strings to machines connected to
it, and provide a consistant view of which Octet Strings were
available at any point in time which was independent of the
access point.  Adding Octet Strings to the universe of available
ones, with a specified lifetime, would involve a micropayment.
Computers connected to the Net could then employ either Octet
Strings or fixed length data consisting of a cryptographic hash
and decryption key to describe any chunk of data, which would
reduce the storage requirements of hosts accordingly. Replication
and synchronization of data would be the responsiblity of the
totality of machines providing the cache service, and would
augment the storage capacity of ordinary hosts which often
replicate data excessively and synchronize it poorly.

As Lucky Green correctly points out, since the cache service
would effectively serve prepared digital coccoons whose contents
were not visible to it, protocols would be needed to ensure that
data was not spoofed.  However, this is a "who do cache servers
trust to give them data" issue, and not a "how do we serve the
data and provide a Network-wide consistant view of the database"

Such a system, implemented efficiently, could carry the Eternity
service, reliable network news, and serve as a distribution point
for all freeware.  It could have terabytes of storage, using a
fraction of the resources now consumed by the endlessly
replicated news spools of hosts on the Net.

It would be as uncensorable as Usenet, and survive the
destruction or compromise of a large number of cache servers in
the system.  It would be reliable, and no ones data would be
visible to anyone else.

I think such a service is the "World File System"
reduced to its most basic principles, upon which endless other
useful services may be based.


     Mike Duvos         $    PGP 2.6 Public Key available     $
     enoch at   $    via Finger                       $
         {Free Cypherpunk Political Prisoner Jim Bell}

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