[Smaug] Zero tolerance for P2P?

Josh Neal josh at unixmercenary.net
Sun, 12 May 2002 07:05:34 -0700

On Sun, May 12, 2002 at 01:47:18AM -0700, CERisE...mass consumer of bazooka gum wrote:
> On Sat, 11 May 2002, Josh Neal wrote:
> > Phil -
> >
> > Put down the crack pipe, and open a window to disperse the fumes.

First, let me apologize for this statement. I was trying to be humorous, and it wasn't an appropriate comment to make. 

>    I don't know, Josh.  Someone attempting to claim that a protocol
> obviously involving a definite server and a definite client as
> peer-to-peer sounds more bongworthy to me.  It sounds like his feeble
> attempt at a defense eliminates the term server-client because a client
> can also be a server.

Hmmm. I don't see is as a feeble defense, though. Yes, during a given transaction, there's definitely a client-server relationship, but this doesn't prevent a role reversal later -- or in parallel. It's this ease of sharing files without a centralized server that qualifies Windows File Sharing as Peer-to-Peer, since any workstation can do this.

Any other definition of Peer-to-Peer/P2P is nothing more than Marketing hot-air.

>    Obviously, the point of the letter is that UCSC feels its bandwidth is
> in scarcity.  For all we know, it may well be the case.  They have the
> right to administer their network as they see fit.

Absolutely. I've been in their position before: I was the Network Manager at Franklin and Marshall College for most of 1993 and 1994. We had ~2500 students and staff, with ~1500 Macs between them. We were running a 10meg Ethernet backbone, with drops to LocalTalk zones in each building. (Sadly, I didn't design the network, but I got stuck with managing it.)

Our management headaches (beyond the bandwidth hogging of AppleTalk itself) were ad-hoc student file servers. Under MacOS 7, *any* Mac could be a file server at the click of a single button, and a large number of students used this, along with an app called Broadcast -- an early Instant Messaging tool.

By itself, this was a fine thing, until some yahoo started sharing his copies of Word, Photoshop, Mathematica, etc. There went the (limited) bandwidth that we had.

I ended up having to play administrative fascist, and write scripts to spider their was across the network grabbing file listings in order to make sure that no one was doing Bad Things. Having to haul offenders in for violating the AUP was Not Fun.
>    Attacking it by claiming freedom of speech issues about P2P software
> being used for piracy is tangential.  Attacking it on the grounds of
> freedom of use is a different story.

It's worth pointing out to the university that they've missed a loophole that you could drive a truck through. I don't buy the freedom of speech/use argument -- damn it, if you want to suck down MP3s, spend the $50 a month and get DSL at home.

>    Simply put, if there's a lot of bandwidth being used, they should be
> happy.  That means they're getting the most for their money.  You
> shouldn't take heavy load to imply that a few people are hogging the
> network for everyone (even if you were, it should imply that you ought to
> apply some sort of bandwidth throttle), rather you should take heavy load
> to imply heavy usage and a need to add more resources.

Hmmmm. There are only two ways to handle a saturated network: add bandwidth (at some expense) or stop the traffic. I have difficulty believing that MP3/warez trading is proper use of an academic network, so I'd probably quote the AUP while I'm switching off ports.

>    Either way, I'm in utter disbelief that someone could state that a well
> defined server-client exchange is a peer to peer protocol.  

HA. This is a use of "well defined" that I'm not familiar with. (I know a number of the Samba Core team, and have heard them rant at length about SMB/CIFS horrors.) 

> That's the
> worst blunder I've heard since Gerald Ford said that Poland is *not* under
> Soviet dominion.

Heh. Excellent reference. 

I keep thinking of this wonderful picture of Dan Quayle from '89 or so, holding a Soviet RPG-7 captured from leftist rebels $LATIN-AMERICAN-BANANA-REPUBLIC. The pose is supposed to be one of courageous American victory, I guess, at least it would be if Dan weren't holding the RPG _backwards_, so that it's pointed _at him_.


Josh Neal
"I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer."
	-- Homer Simpson