[gclist] Re: Articles expiring too fast!

John R Levine johnl@iecc.com
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 10:38:55 -0500 (EST)

> hbaker@netcom.com (Henry G. Baker) wrote:
> >
> > Yes I know that there are specialized systems with version control, etc.,
> > but why deal with a system specialized for only source control of programs,
> > when nearly every kind of document has exactly the same problem.  This
> > is why some form of bulk heap storage would be truly valuable.
> >
> 	Uhoh, sounds like Ted Nelson's Xanadu project. :)

Hey, Ted tells me it'll be working any day now.  (He's in Japan, with new 
money and new help.)

The Apollo Domain system had a nice feature wherein you could assign an
access method to each file with the access method handling the usual I/O
system calls.  They had an RCS-like source control system set up as an
access method so you set parameters somehow to say what version of the
files you want, and just open and read them.  It was nice.  It got you
about 50% of what Xanadu is supposed to be at 1% of the price. 

Re usenet, the real problem is that it's a push technology gone berserk.  
At a typical news site, probably under 1% of the articles that arrive get 
looked at by a human.  (They all get looked at by spam address trawlers, 
but that's a separate issue.)  These days a lot of sites are going to a
"suck" version of the news server that only retrieves articles in groups 
that someone has looked at in the past few days, with a way to catch up 
when a hitherto unvisited group gets visited.

This is indeed a form of automatic storage management, and probably an
increasingly important issue (not just usenet, but any replicated 
database) as computers and networks merge into each other.

John Levine, johnl@iecc.com, http://iecc.com/johnl, Trumansburg NY
Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies"
and Information Superhighwayman wanna-be