Sat Oct 4 16:34:53 GMT 2003 PlanetLab
While this is mostly nothing individuals can be involved in directly, there's some very interesting stuff going on in this "overlay network" (in other words, a virtual internet running on top of the existing Internet).
The premise is that the present Internet is broken, primarily due to dumb routers and the implicit trust that lets packets flow freely. PlanetLab is an experimental internet using Linux based machines that is being used to explore improvements. Some interesting things they are working on include Netbait (link gone)>, a project to detect Internet worms, and Scriptroute which does traffic analysis. OceanStore, which explores distributed storage of data on multiple machines on the internet, is conceptually much like a RAID system. That's a fascinating idea on many levels. Consider the possibilities: no need for archival storage; the entire Internet is a massively redundant archive. Distributed web servers such as Akaima now provide similar service for large web sites, but imagine if everyone could do that. Another approach to that is the CoDeeN project, which directly aims at being a "public Akaima".
Projects like this may someday produce a "better internet".
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