Re: Caching Servers Considered Harmful

Fisher Mark (
Thu, 25 Aug 94 05:35:00 PDT

Daniel W. Connolly states in <>:
>You wrote:
>>> >You can provide no guarantee that the versions that you present to your
>>> >users are accurate or timely.
>I took the "You" in that sentence to mean you, the caching server
>administrator. It is simply not true that the HENSA server
>administrator _can not_ provide a reasonable guarantee that his
>readers get timely information. This is why I spoke up: so that
>www-talk readers don't come away thinking what you said is the only
>way it can be.

One of the characteristics I like about the Internet is that it acts as a
marketplace of information -- good/useful information gets promulgated,
bad/useless information dies off. Someone who persists in maintaining
caching policies on their WWW server that ensures that out-of-date
information is the only information on that server :) will be ostracized by
the Internet community, shunned by their house pets, etc.

There exists a balance between having the most up-to-date information and
spending the least amount of money for that information. The balance cannot
be tilted too far one way or the other without people reacting to it -- the
creation of caching servers in the case of spending the least money, and the
general ostracizing/ignoring/shunning etc. of Internet resources that are
woefully out of date.

Markets (including markets of ideas/information) are not perfect, but
because of the sheer number of equations required to analyze a market, they
work better than any centralized scheme (Weinberg's "Law of Medium
Mark Fisher Thomson Consumer Electronics Indianapolis, IN

"Just as you should not underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon
traveling 65 mph filled with 8mm tapes, you should not overestimate
the bandwidth of FTP by mail."