Notes from the O'Reilly P2P Conference
Thursday, February 15, 2001 by Dave Winer.
A quick good morning from the O'Reilly P2P conference in San Francisco.
Yesterday was a great Valentine's day. Lots of great energy, smart people, doing cool software, working together. If that's not love, I don't know what is.
I did a 1/2 hour talk on The Two-Way-Web, just after my friend Rohit Khare who did his own Two-Way-Web presentation. The cool thing about the Two-Way-Web is that it goes two ways. Always.
We plan to build on Rohit's Two-Way-Web in our Two-Way-Web. All this was envisioned by our common teacher, Tim Berners-Lee, who was willing to design a system built on links that can break. This is the key philosophy to decentralization, a lovely term brought to us by Lucas Gonze. Don't wait for the chaos to end, embrace it, move on and do it again. The world will take care of itself.
Hey is the abbreviation for The Two-Way-Web, 2WW or T2W2 or what?
On Tuesday (Twosday?) I talked with my friend Halsey Minor, the founder of CNET, who is also working on a Two-Way-Web company. Halsey and I agree that it's like 1994 again. The space is so open, the next steps so obvious. Halsey's company, who must remain nameless for now, promises to fill in one of the quadrants in the map for the 2WW, and for that he has my gratitude and support.
About KnowNow, Dan Gillmor got the scoop. Check out his blog. So Now you too can Know what KnowNow knows that until now you may not know.
Oh I'm rambling..
I talked with David Galbraith with Moreover who has a stunningly simple idea for getting metadata into our content. I'll have to take some time to write it up so people can tune in. As often is the case it's all about user interface.
To the people in the XML-RPC community -- be proud, very proud -- our work is really catching on. I had a dozen great conversations yesterday with developers embracing XML-RPC wholesale, building their P2P apps on it.
I talked with people from the Jabber community about merging. We agreed it's a no-brainer. I met an XML guy from Netscape. Talked with Johnny Deep from Aimster. Everyone seems to agree -- it's time for interop.
I also saw Chris Gulker yesterday. I introduced him to my friend Alex Cohen, now at Open Design, as the man who taught me everything I know about publishing. Before he did his Frontier-based system at the SF Examiner in the early 90s, I didn't understand how Frontier could play a role in publishing. The result is my weblog, thousands of Manila sites, and to some extent all the blogs you see on the Web today. Chris and I then got into a friendly competition during the 1994 San Francisco newspaper strike. He did the management website and I helped with the strike pub. Now in 2001, we're reaping the creative benefits of last year's Seattle newspaper strike through Paul Andrews. Moral of the story, change is coming in the news industry, and every time there's a strike, good things happen. And we're just figuring out how the dotcom bust is being felt in journalism. I want to make sure it's for the best.
Weblogs are the way to get ideas out there, and writers, if anything, are about getting their ideas out. More reporters are thinking about it. Paul Andrews, Glenn Fleishman, Doc Searls, Deborah Branscum and Dan Gillmor are actually doing it. My new friends the blog-empowered journalists are welcome to write guest DaveNets, as Clay Shirky, Esther Dyson and Bill Gates have. Use the Internet for what it's good at -- distributing ideas from people with minds to other mindful people. This is another kind of interop at an intellectual level. Mind-to-mind is another kind of P2P.
There's so much more to say, and I wish I had the time, but there's another day of conference ahead.
Before splitting, two more things.
First, we thrive when there's choice. The collapse of Netscape made the browser a one-party system, and that doesn't work, not even for Microsoft. That was the end of the browser as the space for innovation. But there's no shortage of people with ideas, so the bulge is happening around the browser and outside of it.
Now in the P2P or Two-Way-Web space, whatever you call it, there are N parties. Sure there will be coalescing, but never, never let it get all the way to one party. Once that happens, the fun is over. Standardization is good, but competition is better. People ask why I was involved in both SOAP and XML-RPC. Here's why. Choice is necessary. If the gorillas stop listening to the indepedent developers, as they have in the recent past, we have our way out. XML-RPC and SOAP are owned by the Internet now. Every instance of interop helps insure our independence, and immunity from hostile takeovers from the giant technology companies. And every journalist who joins provides even more insurance. It's their turn, and ours. Two or more parties ensures freedom, and that, my friends, is what the Internet is about.
The platform with no platform vendor. Yaha.
Finally, if you're going to be in San Francisco tonight, please come to the Scripting News dinner. It's a two-way venture with another great weblog, Hack The Planet. Wes Felter, its editor, is young and brilliant, where I am old and experieced. He attracts a different kind of crowd. My friends tend to be in power, his friends have power too, they write stuff like Freenet and Gnutella, but they're younger.
It promises to be very interesting today and tonight. Lots of great new stuff. Dinner starts at 6:30 PM at the Hunan Restaurant, 924 Sansome and Broadway, 6:30PM, 415-956-7727. Seeya there!
PS: Many thanks to Tim O'Reilly for putting on such an excellent conference.