Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Only Communists complain about twitter??

Why Cliff Gerrish thinks that wanting to fix twitter is the same as communism is beyond me. I'm not part of the Gillmor gang, and I'm annoyed that twitter is broken quite a bit. Does that make me a communist too?

Twitter breaks, a lot... it's broken now, giving me time to write this. It's ok to complain about a broken service. Twitter is a good service, when it works, but it's too valuable to leave to the winds of chance. Thus... replacing twitter with something more reliable is a natural itch.

I guestimate that the aggregate flow through twitter is somewhere around 3kbytes/second when it's at full bore. It can be replaced with a set of machines, with normal code, and normal network hardware. There's no super hardware or non-obvious patentable code buried in it... anyone with enough programming skills, hardware and time could do it.

But... even hinting that we might do this sends Cliff into a 1950's McCarthy era rant about communism... it's just.... odd.

Being able to trap keywords and subscribe to them from the overall stream still only has to content with 3kbytes/second. Again... normal hardware, normal networks, just a bit of distributed software to make it all work.

1 comment:

Dean Landolt said...

But how can you question the genius of the architecture? It's "rhizomatic rather than arborescent"!

Ha. But from my read, it doesn't look like anyone's really suggesting commandeering twitter's servers, but doing just what you suggest -- reimplementing in a decentralized fashion on top of existing standards. Email can't "go down" -- nor can jabber. Your server can flake, but not everybody's...at the same time.

So if your calculations are correct, then yeah, it's rediculous that twitter's so fragile, but it shouldn't matter -- it's just a service for message passing -- there's no reason it should all sit in one server farm.