[p2p-research] Better P2P communications ideas (was Re: Post-Depression first:...)

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Thu Nov 26 15:51:06 CET 2009

Ryan Lanham wrote:
 > On 11/26/09, M. Fioretti <mfioretti at nexaima.net> wrote:
 >> On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 18:11:39 PM -0500, Ryan Lanham wrote:
 >>> This is soooooooo correct!  People don't realize just how much
 >>> damage has been done at the low end of labor...
 >>> ...
 >>> Happy to hear it discussed.  I somewhat feel as if Paul F. and I
 >>> have been saying it back and forth to each other in a vacuum.
 >> The day this list will enforce the same netiquette applied, without
 >> any effort, in almost other mailing lists around, many more
 >> subscribers will regularly engage in conversations. Right now, 90% of
 >> traffic here is a uselessly verbose flow of unreadable, messed up
 >> text.
> Give us an idea of what a working model would look like (that is, another
> list or process that works better)...I am all for standards and
> improvement.

I agree with the desire to see good models pointed out.

Here is a little plug in for the as-yet-to-be-fully-realized social semantic 
desktop idea:
About SemanticDesktop.org
   The Internet, electronic mail, and the Web have revolutionized the way we 
communicate and collaborate - their mass adoption is one of the major 
technological success stories of the 20th century. We all are now much more 
connected, and in turn face new resulting problems: information overload 
caused by insufficient support for information organization and 
collaboration. For example, sending a single file to a mailing list 
multiplies the cognitive processing effort of filtering and organizing this 
file times the number of recipients -- leading to more and more of peoples' 
time going into information filtering and information management activities. 
There is a need for smarter and more fine-grained computer support for 
personal and networked information that has to blend the boundaries between 
personal and group data, while simultaneously safeguarding privacy and 
establishing and deploying trust among collaborators.
   The Semantic Web holds promises for information organization and 
selective access, providing standards means for formulating and distributing 
metadata and Ontologies.
   Still, we miss a wide use of Semantic Web technologies on personal 
computers. The use of ontologies, metadata annotations, and semantic web 
protocols on desktop computers will allow the integration of desktop 
applications and the web, enabling a much more focused and integrated 
personal information management as well as focused information distribution 
and collaboration on the Web beyond sending emails. The vision of the 
Semantic Desktop for personal information management and collaboration has 
been around for a long time: visionaries like Vanevar Bush and Doug 
Engelbart have formulated and partially realized these ideas. However, for 
the largest part their ideas remained a vision for far too long since the 
foundational technologies necessary to render their ideas into reality were 
not yet invented -- these ideas were proposing jet planes, where the rest of 
the world had just invented the parts to build a bicycle. However, recently 
the computer science community has developed the means to make this vision a 
     * The Semantic Web effort (http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/) provides 
standards and technologies for the definition and exchange of metadata and 
     * Open-source software (like OpenOffice) and the especially the Linux 
operating system make it possible to reuse and build on top of existing 
sophisticated systems and create an open personal information management 
system and collaborative infrastructure based on Semantic Web build into the 
operating system of current machines.
     * Collaboration, acquisition and dissemination infrastructures like 
Wikis and Blogs are providing the foundation for joint collaborative 
knowledge creation and are essentially simplified knowledge acquisition tools.
     * Social Software maps the social connections between different people 
into the technical infrastructure. Online Social Networking enables 
collaboration relationships as first class citizens, and allows exploiting 
these relationships for automated information distribution and classification.
     * P2P and Grid computing, especially in combination with the Semantic 
Web field, develops technology to interconnect large communities without 
centralized infrastructures for data and computation sharing, which is 
necessary to build heterogeneous, multi-organizational collaboration networks.
   The application of the mentioned technologies, especially in combination 
with the Semantic Web, to the desktop computer in order to improve personal 
information management and collaboration is the main topic of this workshop. 
Several systems have been created already to explore this field, e.g., the 
Haystack system at MIT, the Gnowsis system at DFKI, D-BIN by SEMEDIA, 
OpenIris by SRI, or the Chandler system by the OSA foundation.
   Each of these systems only address some parts of the picture. Furthermore 
we are in danger of resulting in many fragmented efforts, each of which will 
not reach critical mass and thus will not be able to penetrate the user 
space wide enough to result in mass adoption.

The EU recently put 11.5 million euros into one such framework:

And I have my own Pointrel system (triple-based) that goes back a quarter 
century to add to the fragmentation. :-) I mentioned it to the Chandler 
people when they were starting, but they went a different way.

--Paul Fernhout

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