4.1. "The Cornucopia of the Commons" Essay

This has been one of the most cited essays that I've written and continues to get dozens of hits every day even though it is eight years old as I put this book together. In 2005, industry leader and pundit Tim O'Reilly wrote that it included "... one of the seminal insights that has shaped my thinking over the past couple of years."[] (Tim, whom I quoted in Chapter 3, is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, a book publisher as well as the host of various technology-related conferences.)

[] http://radar.oreilly.com/2005/08/the-cornucopia-of-the-commons.html

The essay was originally written in the days when Napster[] was getting popular and you would find many references to the service in the technology press. Internet-based applications were something new to most people, and Napster was different in many respects from the few well-known ones like email and web browsing. Like the story of the blind men examining an elephant, each saying it was like the part that he encountered, people pointed to different aspects as the key one.

[] Napster is explained in the beginning of Chapter 3.

Some people concentrated on the "peer-to-peer" (P2P) architecture of Napster. When you downloaded a song using the program, it came not through the traditional connection to special servers in one centralized data center but rather through a connection to another personal computer just like yours running Napster. All of these computers were basically treated ...

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