Inverting the Web 

@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.

Somewhat more:
news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2

NB: the reputation bits might build off social / netgraph models.

But yes, I've been thinking on this.

@enkiv2 I know SEARX is: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Searx

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.

@freakazoid @drwho

@dredmorbius @enkiv2 @freakazoid YaCy isn't federated, but Searx is, yeah. YaCy is p2p.
@dredmorbius @enkiv2 @freakazoid Also, the initial criticism of the URL system isn't entirely there: the DNS is annoying, but isn't needed for accessing content on the WWW. You can directly navigate to public IP addresses and it works just as well, which allows you to skip the DNS. (You can even get HTTPS certs for IP addresses.)

Still centralized, which is bad, but centralized in a way that you can't really get around in internetworked communications.

@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.

@enkiv2 @freakazoid

@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.

@freakazoid Question: is there any inherent reason for a URL to be based on DNS hostnames (or IP addresses)?

Or could an alternate resolution protocol be specified?

If not, what changes would be required?

(I need to read the HTTP spec.)

@kick @enkiv2

@freakazoid Answering my own question: no, there's not:

"As far as HTTP is concerned, Uniform Resource Identifiers are simply formatted strings which identify--via name, location, or any other characteristic--a resource."

tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2616#se

@kick @enkiv2

@dredmorbius @freakazoid @kick @enkiv2
Earlier RFCs had defined meanings for the parts of HTTP URLs, but vendors ignored the standards so now URL paths are just an arbitrary string which could mean anything.

@mathew I think this discussion hinges more on the host part, and what it might reference other than DNS as an HTTP (or HTTPS) protocol reference, so as to break from the DNS oligarchy.

An alternative is to define other protocol references, as with, say, doi://, which address specific content.

There's the PURL concept of Internet Archive.

And how to create a self-sustaining decentralised namespace is challenging.

@freakazoid @kick @enkiv2

@dredmorbius @freakazoid @kick @enkiv2 Back even further, the plan was that the web would eventually use URIs, which would be dereferenced to fragile URLs. But the host-independent transport layer never happened because one-way links that break were "good enough". URIs only really survived in the DTDs.

@mathew More on "why" would be interesting.

Insufficient motivation?
Sufficient of resistance?
Excess complexity?
Apathy?

@freakazoid @kick @enkiv2

@dredmorbius @mathew @freakazoid @enkiv2 Lack of competence! (at least partly.)

I think it's startling how much of technical history is due to people with better ideas being entirely incompetent.

@kick And it's not merely competence. Much of it is mastery across a range of skills, including marketing, organisational leadership, fundraising, fighting off (or neutralising) legal and business threats, etc.

"Capitalism as the engine of innovation" suffers massively from Texas Sharpshooter fallacy, and ignores many souls it destroyed or ignored. Aaron Swartz, Ian Murdoch, Ted Nelson, Doug Englebart, Paul Otlet, Rudolph Deisel, Nicola Tesla, Filo Farnsworth...

@enkiv2 @mathew @freakazoid

@dredmorbius @enkiv2 @mathew @freakazoid Nelson was who I was thinking of when I said "incompetence," actually.

Your statement makes me want to ask, though: how was capitalism responsible for the death of Murdock? That seemed to be strictly a police violence problem; he was making millions.

And Swartz's case, while indirectly caused by capitalism, seemed to be more caused by the state. (JSTOR pulled out quickly while MIT and the Fed insisted on pursuing.) One could argue I guess that his ideas were kind of neglected, but interestingly he seemed to have a lot of success with them as he got later in life.

@kick Ted Nelson may well suffer from technical and organisational handicaps. He certainly cops an attitude (and reminds me of a few adgacent conversational participants in this and some related threads).

But he has some Big Dreams, and dreams which have a long legacy (Paul Otlet, whom I've just discovered, being another early pioneer). The overall mission is one tend to agree with, if perhaps not Xanadu's specific approach.

The goal has powerful enemies though.

@enkiv2 @mathew @freakazoid

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