October 18, 2004

the cyberspace files

I had completely forgotten about unums until this morning, when I saw that Chip Morningstar has blogged about and posted the Electric Communities Cyberspace Protocol Requirements from a decade ago. ("Unums" were the world-objects in a cyberspace system, as distinguished from the programmatic notion of object-oriented objects, and from real-world objects). If you're a cyberspace romantic or a distributed systems geek and you've never seen this, you really should go plow through it. Chip, Randy and Crock were way ahead of their time on a lot of issues we're still wrestling with.

In brief, the Global Cyberspace Infrastructure architecture must be:

Scalable - The technological and institutional components should be sufficient for a system that includes every person and computer in the world.
Open - Cyberspace is open to new providers of services (or of the network itself) without regulation and at low cost.
Decentralized - There exists no singular privileged technical or administrative nexus.
Traversable - Data and objects can move between users, between services, and between machines.
Commercial - Cyberspace contains a complete foundation for economic activity of all kinds.
Social - Cyberspace contains the components necessary to support community life.
Secure - The technology facilitates making good decisions about which entities can be trusted and protects users from the untrusted ones.
Portable - Protocols and service features are logically independent of the technical details of the physical network.

But what I really want to know is, whatever happened to the design for the cyberspace flag? There was even a motto that played off the French "liberté, egalité, fraternité", it went something like "Securité, Distributé, Communité", although my memory may have garbled the message somewhat. Ah, those were heady days, or so it seemed at the time...

Posted by Gene at October 18, 2004 11:18 PM | TrackBack
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