Denial of Service
Thursday, February 10, 2000 by Dave Winer.
I'm back in California. The first tune I listened to when I got back was California Girls. Yeah, I've been all around this great big world, but I couldn't wait, to get back to the States, back to the cutest girls in the world!
Yesterday, arriving from Boston, it was bright, colorful and American here. But this morning I'm listening to the soulful blues of Irma Thomas. It's dark and rainy as I write this, at 3AM Pacific, which is 12 Noon in Amsterdam. My own personal clock is still east of Greenland. Moving west at its own pace.
My last piece was the most intense piece I ever wrote. I had a great hotel room in Dam Square in Amsterdam. I spent three days there, and got into a total artist groove, or the most total that I've ever experienced. It's a richly colored city even though the weather was gray and rainy. I could see elements of Amsterdam in Madison, where I went to grad school 20 years ago. There is a little Amsterdam in San Francisco too, but I'm looking forward to going back to the real thing, in May, to the WWW9 conference where I and others will talk about distributed computing and the Web.
Anyway, on re-reading the Making Money piece this morning, which was a really good thing to do, I discovered that one paragraph says it all.
"I envision a Davos, maybe not in 2001, but certainly in 2002 or 2003, where every participant can have their own site, and many do. I imagine that out of 3000 possible sites, there will be 30 excellent ones and 100 very good ones. People outside Davos will be able to experience Davos real-time, from a dozen perspectives (no one person can read 130 different quickly updating sites). And the Davos process will continue year-round, as the community defined by EditThisPage.Com is 24-by-7 and roams the landscape of the web, morphs and grows, and never runs out of ideas for connecting different cultures with each other. As I understand the Davos philosophy, this is totally consistent with it."
I had a good net connection in Boston and time to surf, and try as I could, I couldn't find a network of websites that presented the alternative view of Davos I heard so much about in the press reports from the scene. It seems as if the Web had nothing to say on behalf of the protesters. Why?
And if there are no empassioned websites representing their views, are they anything more than a US presidential candidate vying for airtime with colorful soundbites? On the web they'd have to talk to our intelligence *and* passions, not our desire for colorful cartoons, which they certainly provided. Trashing McDonald's is a visual delight. Now where's the beef?
OK, let Davos be a symbol, a crest, a towering Alp, a dividing line between the haves and have-nots, but let's build out the substance behind each point of view, and see where the real differences are.
This is what I heard from the insiders. Davos is open, but leave your banners home, and stop talking in symbols, start talking in real terms. What do you want? Say it clearly.
I came home to a fresh net controversy, denial of service attacks. It's surprising that it took so long to become an issue. A tremendous statement about human nature. With tens of millions of Internet users, most of us are peace-loving people.
Why are the attacks are coming now? As with the protestors in Davos, we haven't heard from the people behind the attacks. There could be a reason for it. But until we know what they think, we're in the dark.
Today the focus is on a few high traffic concentrators and distributors, Yahoo, eBay, eTrade, ZDNet et al. But there's a lot of unused bandwidth and server power distributed around the net.
Ultimately a less concentrated, more distributed Internet is how denial of service problems will be routed around. I've been writing about this for years. Fractional Horsepower HTTP Servers. Bill Gates will get the last laugh, Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy will weep.
The megamonolith in the sky is the one the hackers target. My calendar goes down when Yahoo goes down. All the more reason to have the calendar on my LAN.
The next stop on my train is Esther Dyson's PC Forum conference in Phoenix, March 12-15. I will lead a session on Web applications and we'll do a special site carrying news from Esther's. We'll be using more than Manila, we'll use this opportunity to showcase our new Pike software, that does to Web what the Web did to desktop software. Big wheel keep on turning. White man speak with forked tongue. ;->