Inverting the Web
We use search engines because the Web does not support accessing documents by anything other than URL. This puts a huge amount of control in the hands of the search engine company and those who control the DNS hierarchy.
Given that search engine companies can barely keep up with the constant barrage of attacks, commonly known as "SEO". intended to lower the quality of their results, a distributed inverted index seems like it would be impossible to build.
@freakazoid What methods *other* than URL are you suggesting? Because it is imply a Universal Resource Locator (or Identifier, as URI).
Not all online content is social / personal. I'm not understanding your suggestion well enough to criticise it, but it seems to have some ... capacious holes.
My read is that search engines are a necessity born of no intrinsic indexing-and-forwarding capability which would render them unnecessary. THAT still has further issues (mostly around trust)...
@freakazoid ... and reputation.
But a mechanism in which:
1. Websites could self-index.
2. Indexes could be shared, aggregated, and forwarded.
4. Search could be distributed.
5. Auditing against false/misleading indexing was supported.
6. Original authorship / first-publication was known
... might disrupt things a tad.
NB: the reputation bits might build off social / netgraph models.
But yes, I've been thinking on this.
Also YaCy as sean mentioned.
There's also something that is/was used for Firefox keyword search, I think OpenSearch, a standard used by multiple sites, pioneered by Amazon.
Being dropped by Firefox BTW.
That provides a query API only, not a distributed index, though.
@kick HTTP isn't fully DNS-independent. For virtualhosts on the same IP, the webserver distinguishes between content based on the host portion of the HTTP request.
If you request by IP, you'll get only the default / primary host on that IP address.
That's not _necessarily_ operating through DNS, but HTTP remains hostname-aware.
@dredmorbius @kick @enkiv2 IP is also worse in many ways than using DNS. If you have to change where you host the content, you can generally at least update your DNS to point at the new IP. But if you use IP and your ISP kicks you off or whatever, you're screwed; all your URLs are new invalid. Dat, IPFS, FreeNet, Tor hidden sites, etc, don't have this issue. I suppose it's still technically a URL in some of these cases, but that's not my point.
@dredmorbius @kick @enkiv2 HTTP URLs don't have any way to specify the lookup mechanism. RFC3986 says the part after the // and optional authentication info followed by @ is a "registered name" or an address. It doesn't say the name has to be resolved via DNS but does say it is up to the local system to decide how to resolve it. So if you just wanted self-certifying names or whatever you can use otherwise unused TLDs the way Tor does with .onion.
There are alternate URLs, e.g., irc://host/channel
I'm wondering if a standard for an:
http://<address-proto><delim>address> might be specifiable.
Onion achieves this through the onion TLD. But using a reserved character ('@' comes to mind) might allow for an addressing protocol _within_ the HTTP URL itself, to be used....
@kick Clue seeks clue.
You're asking good questions and making good suggestions, even where wrong / confused (and I do plenty of both, that's not a criticism).
You're helping me (and I suspect Sean) think through areas I've long been bothered about concerning the Web / Internet. Which I appreciate.
(Kragen may have this all figured out, he's far certainly ahead of me on virtually all of this, and has been for decades.)
@zardoz @dredmorbius @kick @enkiv2 @freakazoid I guess the other alternatives along those lines are the Git model (fork at will, and choose whose fork you link to) and the Debian model (maintainers exist, and vote on governance, but NMUs are available to limit the worst failures of the maintainer model, despite the avconv/ffmpeg problem etc.)
@kragen On the Git / fork model, there's a problem I've been trying to articulate for years and think I may finally have:
The threat of the low-cost / high-capability developer.
That is, even outside the proprietary world, it's possible to shape the direction of software (or protocol or data standards) development by being the most able / capable / low-cost developer.
That's been an issue in several notable projects, and seems more so now.
@kragen You'd likely have to undermine their business model.
On the positive side, this is a dynamic which can be used to play megacorps (and possibly other interests) off one another.
That notion goes back to IBM's Earthquake Memo, ~1998.
I'm not sure if you were at the LinuxWorld Expo where copies of that were being shown around, probably 1999, NYC.
Tim O'Reilly wrote on that in Open Sources.
@dredmorbius @zardoz @kick @enkiv2 @freakazoid I think it goes back longer than that; IIRC Gumby commented on the fsb list in the mid-1990s that he wasn't worried about other companies contributing code to GCC and GDB because Cygnus could then turn around and sell the improved versions to Cygnus's customers. Of course those customers could get the software without paying, but they found Cygnus's offering valuable enough to pay for, and competitors' contributions just increased that value.
@dredmorbius @zardoz @kick @enkiv2 @freakazoid the big insight Tim had, which took the rest of us a while to appreciate, was how this gave new market power to companies that own piles of data, like Google or the ACM or Knight Capital. And now we have AWS and Azure and Samsung capturing a big part of the value from free software instead.
@kragen Weinsteinomics 101: Monopoly is fundamentally a control dynamic, not a marketshare proposition
...Harvey Weinstein and the Economics of Consent by Brit Marling is one of the more significant economics articles of the past decade, though I'm not sure Ms. Marling recognises this. In it, she clearly articulates the dynamics of power, and re-establishes the element of control so critical to understanding monopoly...
@freakazoid The term is ... slightly ... exaggerated.
But you have elements of:
- A Received (or Revealed) Knowledge.
- An Annointed Priesthood.
- Sacred Texts.
- An exceedingly close relationship with Power.
- Ideological Purity Tests.
- A large Propaganda Arm.
- A strong resistence to actual empirical knowledge, most especially from the sciences.
- Routine rubbishing of dissident thought.
- Numerous True Believers.
The descriptions not far off.
Generalistic and moderated instance.