[vcf-midatlantic] Could a Blockchain based file system be the answer!

jsalzman at gmail.com jsalzman at gmail.com
Thu Dec 21 13:42:42 EST 2017

On Thu, Dec 21, 2017 at 12:06 PM, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:

> I don't understand "torrents", and don't need to. They seem to amount to
> copying and Web distribution of archived content in an active real-time way.

Close enough, but it's more peer storage instead of web server storage.

Seems to me, there's no shortage of people who are obsessed with copying
> vintage archives and making them available - their way. Whatever technology
> they choose to that end, is up to them. That said, others say "I won't
> bother to obtain this manual, someone else has preserved it". A problem of
> excess.

The biggest problem with this is that while it is decentralized, there's no
central authority. The Internet Archive is certainly a central authority,
but it's still an "eggs in one basket" risk. We can still only trust the
backups will be good if needed due to catastrophic failure.

> And access to Web servers has never EVER been cheaper - skip some business
> lunches and pay for a year. (Funding was part of the original post.) Ask
> some users to donate some dollars - and we as users *should* make those
> contributions, to guard against the "fall of the Cathedral".

Still needs a RELIABLE central point of entry which defines where to go for
this collection and that, with the potential for dead links over time, and
no direct access to any singly provided resource should a linked server
disappear. We can't count on redundancy either without volunteers actively
maintaining their respective servers. Add to that the basic fact that such
an idea REQUIRES funding, if at least to host a central jump page.

> Torrents, blockchain, distributed file systems - all "hammers" looking for
> a "nail", in my opinion as an engineer among other engineers. I'm scanning
> manuals and making them available, thank you, and I have my own tools. When
> my "cathedral" falls, the people who got my content, will resurrect it; and
> I may provide for other "cathedrals" too; and for what was in mine. Thanks
> for reminding me of this issue.

That's because "nails" in this sense are outmoded. Screws are much stronger
at holding things together, therefore a different tool is needed. That's
why the suggestions of distributed storage are viable. Torrent file groups
(or whatever the future may bring) are distributed amongst any number of
volunteers, all decentralized and redundant, location independent (domain
name not needed), and not a single web server fee (no matter how minuscule)
is required. All that's needed for someone to get started downloading one
or more files from a torrent is torrent software and a single .torrent
file. That file provides a key to the automation of torrent activity. All
that's needed for someone to volunteer to host files is to dedicate storage
space on their own computer and leave their torrent software running. It
remains pretty much hands-free for the volunteer at this point. Again, it's
like a RAID thing. If one volunteer goes offline, then the larger
collection of other volunteers can still provide the full content.

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